With 17 years of media experience, Mick Style was appointed to the role of CEO at Wavemaker North two years ago following the merger of MEC and Maxus – when MEC’s Manchester office became Wavemaker North.
Before becoming CEO, Style was MD of MEC Manchester for 13 years, overseeing rapid growth at the agency. Wavemaker North employs more than 70 in its Manchester office, working with clients including Morrisons Supermarkets, PZ Cussons, and Haribo.
We sat down with Mick to learn more about him.
Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?
It’s all about some stimulation to get your heart rate up, synapses firing and brain stimulated in the morning. This ensures that I am fully prepared for the day ahead, and raring to go.
I’d usually choose from one or more (hopefully) of the following: pedalling to work; a brisk walk; a good coffee; listening to a tune or two; a positive vibes chat at work; and most importantly a hug from my daughter!
What’s been your luckiest break?
That I actually managed to get a degree from Manchester University in the 80’s, after so much fun (see below!)
What’s your best failure?
It’s said that failure is the best route to success. And mine was the holiday job I had as a glass washer at Kirkstile Inn in Loweswater a long time ago! It’s a fine pub, but a rubbish job – and I realised Joe Strummer was right when he sang “Career opportunities, the ones that never knock”.
What is the best investment you’ve ever made, either financial or time?
Well that’s simple – both financially and time – for me it’s bikes! I am a bit of a bike obsessive and, as such, have accumulated quite a lot of them. My personal favourite is a Cannondale SuperX with Reynolds Assault wheel and FMB tubulars… anyone got a clue what I’m talking about? And I would have to say that the best investment is time to ride, dude.
How would you describe your work/life balance?
To be honest when it comes to my own work/life balance it does require planning and focus to try and get it right.
It is something that, I’m proud to say, we are acutely aware of as an agency and make sure that our team sees work/life balance as a necessity. From simple things such as taking a regular break away from your screens, and giving tips for applying focus, i.e. walk and talk, and finish early on a Friday. We also have Mental Health First Aiders and flexible working arrangements.
However, it’s important for me to lead by example. I’ve embraced our two wellbeing hours per week (during “office hours”) by taking an hour’s yoga and an hour in the ‘pain cave’ (for me – high intensity bike efforts!).
I regularly use my early Friday finish to pick up my daughter from school – and the weekend mayhem begins! I’ve taken an Angel Day for organising a series of Cyclocross races in Manchester, and intend to help out at a local Homeless Charity this year too.
It sounds overwhelming in itself! But from the inside, and according to feedback, the efforts we make are both used and appreciated. This has a positive effect on enhancing work/life balance for our Wavemaker team… and me!
Which book would you recommend others to read and why?
I’ve just read Tyson Fury’s book – ‘Behind the Mask: My Autobiography’. You don’t have to agree with everything he says or align with all his values, but he does make one thing very clear – a message of hope.
He’s one of the toughest guys in the world admitting to his mental health challenges. And with this in mind, I like his honesty, fragility (yes) and simple message of hope, and how that can be transformational in your life.
What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
Stop messing around (quite so much!). And get to the Alps for a season.
Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?
No single person. But there has been a lot of individuals down the years who I’ve been inspired by, laughed with, been supported by and leant from. We’re very lucky in this industry.
Tell us something about you that would surprise people.
Some people do know this, but I was super proud to win bronze medal in my age category at the Cyclocross National Championships in January this year. This is not intended as a boring boast, but more as acknowledgement of my own personal sense of achievement. I’d highly recommend to anyone to ‘do something that brings you joy’!
What does success look like to you?
Happiness… it’s as simple as that.