A Week in My Life: Martin Fawcett, MD of The Shopper Agency
This week Martin Fawcett, MD of The Shopper Agency, runs us through a week in his working life. To suggest another senior media or creative figure for A Week In My Life, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, the theme to my week is ‘early starts’. Early starts are nobody else’s fault but my own, they are purely self-inflicted and can be summarised into three areas - firstly, choosing to position our head office as far away from our clients as possible, secondly, putting the M62 between home and the office and lastly but by no means least, having a new-born baby.
6am start with Finley (the new-born) just having daddy cuddles before I race to beat the M62 mayhem. If I leave it any later I’ll sit there cursing the 18 miles of snaking car park.
I am in the office for 7.30am and as always on a Monday morning I catch up with Helen my FD. We run through the numbers and set the short term tasks for the week. Today is the first week when the management team chair their own meeting. This gives me two hours back to concentrate on our shareholder management strategy.
Over lunch I have a one to one with Helen to catch up on broader work areas before heading into a two-hour meeting to run through a pitch document I will be jointly delivering tomorrow. Finally, I chair an hour call with the Procurement team for Philips in Poland. Back to the third reason for early starts, I like to leave between 5 and 5.30 to get home to put Finley to bed. That’s exactly how Monday concludes.
Right, not such an early start. In fact, I don’t get picked up until 9am by Laura, who heads up our growth strategy. Together we’re heading to Hayes, Middlesex to pitch for an exciting piece of category work. After a four-hour drive we arrive in good time for our scheduled half-hour slot. After four hours in the car we are both ready to talk, so 30 minutes rolls in to 60 minutes and we have a great meeting with the senior shopper team. We head back, and after another 4.5 hours in the car we put the world to rights. Home just in time for Finley’s bath and bed. I follow shortly after.
4.45am start. This time it’s for the first of the ‘early starts’ reasons. I’m heading to Manchester Airport for a short flight over to Amsterdam. I have two scheduled meetings there. The first to talk about the future of global retailing and the second to finalise a global roll-out program. The meetings are complete by 4pm, so I use the journey back to the airport to catch up on any priority calls and emails before heading to the Heineken Bar for a cold pint and nibbles. I don’t make it back for Finley’s bath and bed…
Another 6am start today, the same as Monday, only this time after daddy cuddles I head straight into a couple of interviews. We are growing quite quickly and interviewing for key roles is playing an important part of each week. Interviews are complete by 11am.
Immediately I head over to our new premises to meet with contractors. We plan to be in before Christmas. It’s a really exciting time at the moment and we plan to build a fantastic experience space in the centre of Leeds where we will work, entertain and immerse visitors in retail futures. Following this meeting I head off to the current office to hold a further one-to-one with Matthew, head of planning. The last two hours of the day are taken up by a shareholder meeting and the thorny subject of intercompany trading. The meeting status remains ‘incomplete’! I race home for bath and bed time before heading to the gym for a 5k run and a workout.
Yes, you guessed it, 6am start. Cuddles and M62 done by 7.30am. I get an hour to myself before the office fills up, so I turn my attention to forecasts. Helen, my FD is not in today, so she occasionally lets me loose with a spreadsheet. Once the team is in I hold two inductions with new starters, make several client calls and take time to read through two additional pitch proposals we are due to start.
At midday I close the laptop for the week and set off to collect my eldest son Alfie from his home in Cheshire. Together we get to sit in Friday traffic all the way back home in Huddersfield before the pizzas go on. Finley is bathed and put to bed and I reacquaint myself with the sofa.