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What I’ve Learnt: Jeanette Gill, Managing Director, Agent

Jeanette Gill

Jeanette Gill was recently promoted to the role of managing director at Agent.

As the agency’s former operations director, Gill has played a pivotal role at the company’s growth over the past 11 years.

With across Liverpool and Manchester, the agency was recently named as one of Prolific North’s Top 50 Integrated Agencies for 2024.

Here, Gill shares all the lessons she’s learnt across her life and career so far…

Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

It’s important for me to start my day with some quiet time to prep for the day ahead. I come into work early, which gives me time for thinking and planning. I love a good to-do list (or two) as I find that this makes sure I’m always staying organised and keeping track of the many ideas swirling around in my head! No day is ever the same at Agent and being a busy agency, it’s important for me to keep track of my tasks for the day, week, month ahead.

A lot of things can crop up during the day which need looking at straight away, so if I have my to-do list I can make sure that nothing is forgotten about. Plus there’s no better feeling than ticking off those jobs at the end of the day. I also like to get out of the office at lunch and go for a walk. It’s always good to take time during the day – plus I do my best thinking when I’m walking AND I love getting my steps in.

What’s been your luckiest break?

I’ve worked really hard in my career to get where I am, but I do think that sometimes it takes a bit of luck and fate stepping into intervene to make sure you’re exactly where you’re meant to be at the right point in time. And I would say this happened when I finished my A-Levels and decided to go to uni. I went to a number of places and had actually decided on one, but then fate/luck intervened and the very last one I went to see changed my mind and I ended up deciding on going to LJMU. This is where I met Paul Corcoran, Agent’s CEO and Founder, who had ironically transferred from Salford uni.

Paul and I were on the same course and stayed friends once we graduated. Our careers went down different routes, but we both stayed in the marketing industry. Nine years into my career, I joined Agent as head of communications, I progressed to communications director and then as Agent continued to grow I changed direction and became our operations director. Three years later, I have recently become Agent’s managing director. It’s been quite the journey, but seeing the agency grow year on year both in terms of the team and the clients we work with has really been quite something.

What’s your best failure?

Personally, I try not to see things as a failure. Instead of letting setbacks discourage me, I see them as opportunities to learn. I try to approach every opportunity, challenge, and situation with a growth mindset, knowing that there is always something to be gained and lessons to be learned. When things don’t go right, it’s about taking the learning and giving it another go – you never know where you will end up!

What is the best investment you’ve ever made, either financial or time?

Becoming a mum has been the absolute best and most rewarding investment of my time. It’s taught me about the importance of maintaining a healthy work/life balance so I am able to spend time with family but at the same time still progressing my career. I have definitely become an expert in multitasking, spinning plates and learning to be much more flexible and adaptable especially when maximising my time.

As an agency, good communications are so important and being a mum has taught me so many new ways to get my message across– there’s nothing like trying to persuade a 5-year-old to try new foods, go to bed or not play Ini Kamoze’s, ‘Here comes the hotstepper’ on repeat (Or Wham’s Last Christmas in March) to develop your engagement, persuasion and listening skills!

Which podcast or book would you recommend others to read and why?

If my son isn’t playing his playlist on my Spotify then I love to listen to music or my favourite podcast which is My Therapist Ghosted Me – it’s actually nothing to do with work, it’s a podcast with Joanna McNally and Vogue Williams who are both Irish, and they just talk about life, current topics (nothing serious!)) My partner is Irish so I completely get that Irish humour. The podcast really makes me laugh and I think taking time to do things which make you smile or allow you to switch off are so important.

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

I would most certainly say never give up – determination and belief are such key characteristics in a person. Trust that there is (almost always) a solution to problems (or challenges as I prefer to call them) and remember that every experience, whether positive or negative will shape who you are. I would also say that being authentic is the best way to build relationships and partnerships, don’t try to be anyone else but you.

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

My biggest inspiration and influence, in both my professional and personal life, is my mum. My mum is amazing and has taught me so many things but one thing she has always had is such a strong work ethic – she started work in a bank at 15 and is still working as a civil servant now at 74. Now that is hard work and something I admire so much. My mum used to help me on my paper rounds when I was about 13 – I ended up having about four different routes as she drove me round – we had quite the paper round monopoly. My mum is always there supporting me no matter what, giving advice and always believing in me.

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

Along with being featured on prominent TV shows like BBC Breakfast, The One Show and Victoria Derbyshire to discuss the trial of Agent’s six-hour working day a few years ago, I proudly possess an insane wealth of knowledge about 90s music, from iconic girl bands to boy bands! If there’s a music quiz – I am definitely your woman. I also love going to concerts – I have probably been to well over 300.

If there was one thing you could change about your career, what would it be and why?

Not a single thing. Everything that has happened has shaped me as a person and got me to where I am now – at Agent and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

What does success look like to you?

Success, to me, is not defined by job titles. It is about finding fulfillment and happiness in what you do, making a positive impact and enjoying the journey along the way. It’s about coming to a job that I love in a business that I think is absolutely incredible – a business that is all about making good work whilst providing a place where the team can bring their best selves to work every day.

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