Sasha Marks was recently promoted from board director to Managing Director at PR agency Brazen.
She started her journey at the agency two decades ago, initially joining as a graduate trainee.
Brazen, which is based in Manchester, celebrated its 21st year in business in June with a major agency restructure including key senior appointments and promotions.
The agency has a team of 45 with a roster of clients including Wilko, ISawItFirst, Butlin’s, Magnet, Dr Oetker, Silentnight, and Greene King.
Marks will now focus on leading the agency and delivering the growth and vision of the business and team.
We found out all the lessons she has learnt.
Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?
My morning walk. It started out as a challenge to do 12k steps a day in my quest for a hot bride bod and having never typically walked further than to the car and back before then, I didn’t hold out much hope. But, seven months of doing the same thing every day, and I genuinely couldn’t imagine life without it, now. I get up before everyone else in the house (including my 8 year old son which is quite a feat in itself) and get outside whatever the weather. There’s something so peaceful about walking the streets at the break of dawn and one of the few chances I get in a day to just be. Some days, the walks are sponsored by TED Talks and podcasts, other days it’s Kylie. You know, balance.
What’s been your luckiest break?
Bagging myself a job at Brazen straight from uni, despite wearing pink neon socks and stilettos to the interview (what was I thinking?). I didn’t know it then, but it would become my ‘home’, career and genuine passion for the next 20 years and counting (minus the small hiatus in London which we don’t talk about).
What’s your best failure?
Most definitely my divorce. Relocating back to Manchester with a broken heart and a 15 month old baby while commuting to London and Leeds for work every day was by far the most challenging time of my life. But, as the old cliché predicted, I didn’t die and I did indeed become stronger and much more resilient. Also added some core life skills to my CV including ‘spider killer’ and ‘bin putter outtera’.
What is the best investment you’ve ever made, either financial or time?
Time with my family. It’s not easy juggling work and home life, day to day, so making sure I spend quality time with them is so important to me. I never want to look back with regrets.
Which book would you recommend others to read and why?
Simon Sinek’s ‘Start With Why’ to learn. Adam Kay’s ‘This Is Going To Hurt’ to laugh.
What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
Worry less. Trust your gut more. And, no, you don’t need another pair of Miss Sixty jeans – save your bloody money!
Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?
Definitely my parents. They both worked extremely hard and inspired a strong work ethic and dogged determination in me. I’m sure there were times they regretted teaching me to never take no for an answer, but I’d like to think it (I) was worth the pain.
Tell us something about you that would surprise people.
Well, it might not come as a surprise to some people, but I’m still scarred. A few years ago, we got out one of those ‘celebrity height charts’ in the office and I sauntered over fully expecting to be the same height as Kylie, which, in my mind, is wholly acceptable. But oh no, it would appear she’s got an inch (or two) on me, leaving me the height twin of Danny bloody DeVito. The shame.
How will the COVID crisis change work for the better?
For Brazen, it’s most definitely our hybrid working model. I think it’s fair to say we’d have never considered allowing teams (or ourselves) to work from home before COVID, but it’s by far the best thing we’ve done to boost productivity and happiness in the workplace.
What does success look like to you?
Happiness… seeing teams and clients happy, seeing my family happy and enjoying what I do.