A Week in My Life: Jaime Gee, Managing Director at Jam
Jaime Gee, Managing Director of Manchester's Jam Agency, takes us through a week in her working life.
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Monday 14th January
The alarm goes off at 5:20am, as it does most mornings, but I don’t crawl out of bed until 6am today. I’ve got a touch of the Mondays. My morning ritual involves a coffee in bed whilst I watch BBC news and check emails and social channels. At 5:30am, it’s unlikely there have been any major client developments since the previous evening (but not unheard of), but I do enjoy checking for all the coverage the Jammers have generated and I catch up on morning news bulletins, checking for news angles and client industry developments.
It’s the gym at 6:30am. Yes, I am that annoying person that hits the gym first thing every day! I’m a fitness enthusiast, with weight training my focus. I like to lift as heavy as I physically can - so if anyone needs help moving house, I’m your gal. The gym is my sanctuary. It's the only place where my mind completely empties any thoughts other than counting reps and remembering to breathe! I truly believe that a healthy body equals a healthy mind, and in our industry, where stress levels can be somewhat high, it’s vitally important that I carve out time for me, both physically and mentally.
The first meeting of the day is with our Account Directors who update me on account activity, new business, targets and the wider team each Monday morning. All appears to be running smoothly and targets are on track.
It’s straight from my catch up with the ADs to a client meeting at Jam towers. This client operates in the personal finance sector, a specialism of Jam’s, and we’ve successfully worked with them across their various brands for the past 10 years delivering integrated solutions, including web design and development, branding, content, PR and social media. It’s for this client that we won Best Use of Digital (Gold) and Best Use of Social Media (Silver) at the CIPR North West PRide Awards 2018. Shameless plug but I’m incredibly proud of my team.
There’s time for a quick bite to eat before a lunchtime interview with a potential new Jammer. With big plans in place for 2019, we’re recruiting a Social Media Manager and a PR Account Manager (both roles are currently live on Prolific North) to help support our ambitious plans.
I head out of the office for an hour post-interview, which I encourage all Jammers to do. It’s important to step away from your work at your desk during lunch and clear your mind ahead of the afternoon’s workload.
My afternoon consists of finalising our new business development strategy and overseeing client development plans.
Very thankful I popped my slow-cooker on before work this morning so I don’t have to wait to eat - I’m always starving! And then I plonk myself in front of the TV and catch up on Sheridan Smith’s new drama, Cleaning Up. Loving that so far.
Bed at 9:30pm for me. So rock and roll! ;)
Tuesday 15th January
It’s another 5:20am start. Usual morning ritual and steady state cardio at the gym this morning, bleugh! In my opinion, it’s cardi-NO!
The first couple of hours of the morning are spent on recruitment and finances, before heading to a catch up with one of our long-term consultants, who is returning from maternity leave. It’s a productive meeting and we lay down some solid plans for the rest of the year.
Quick salad at my desk and it’s over to The Principal hotel for a new business meeting with a recognised brand within the trade sector. We have an existing relationship but no work with them to date. However, my mantra of 'persistence pays' may indeed bear fruit. It’s an incredibly successful meeting, with the client stating Jam would be the perfect fit for his brand, and that 'we just get it' - Jammy buggers that we are. He’s provided a brief and we’ll be getting underway with our proposed strategy imminently.
On to a catch up with one of our ADs who is heading up a pitch we have this Friday. We run through the proposal together which is spot on. Let’s just hope the prospect thinks so too.
The working day is done and despite having done cardi-NO this morning I’m off to train legs with my personal trainer, James Heath at Frontline Fitness. I train with James twice a week and he really puts me through my paces, pushing me more than I would myself. I have fitness goals, as well as business goals and, just as we have a business mentor, James is my fitness mentor. Healthy body, healthy mind.
Wednesday 16th January
It’s rise and grind time at 5:10am and after the usual email check with a coffee, it’s upper body and HIIT at the gym. I’m annoying I know but with my love of cheese and Prosecco, and the metabolism of a snail, it’s essential.
The entire morning is spent in a Financial Planning training workshop with our fantastic accountants, MAP. They specialise in the creative and digital industries and have transformed our business since we starting working with them last year. In the first week, they saved us £11,000 and have continued to provide ways in which to reduce spending, as well as recoup money through R&D tax relief. They are seriously good.
With my brain slightly frazzled by finances, I head home to work in the peace and quiet. In addition to the digital work we provide for clients, we also run busy press offices, which means a lot of chatter and calls to the media. I don’t have my own office at Jam towers - I prefer to be in the thick of it with my team - so once a week, I’ll set up camp in our spare bedroom at home to tick off the to-do list.
I review updated client development plans, adjust the budget (more numbers!) and provide guidance on a fantastic campaign that we’re rolling out for Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) - the recent introduction of their new zonal system. Thanks to our incredible designers, the campaign looks amazing.
Whilst reviewing the Zones campaign, another brief from TfGM lands in my inbox, which looks really juicy. We’ll definitely be submitting a proposal on this one.
I wrap up the day by preparing an agenda for our quarterly finance meeting with MAP tomorrow, along with another agenda for our meeting with our Business Advisor on Friday.
Thursday 17th January
Yep, another ungodly alarm call for one of two gym sessions today. I return home, a sweaty mess, to no running water. Not a great start to the day. It is what it is and as I don’t have a meeting until lunchtime, I crack on with work from home. I prepare for tomorrow’s pitch, learning as much as I can about the business and reviewing the pitch document.
Thankfully the water is switched back on before my lunchtime meeting with one of our ADs. She updates me on the pitch she presented this morning and her plans for her next meeting with our local client, The Printworks.
I take a full hour’s lunch today and catch up on my favourite Instagram stories (my guilty pleasure) whilst polishing off the leftovers of Monday’s slow cooker goodness.
Then it’s on to an afternoon of finances (again), with our quarterly review meeting with MAP. We review the last three quarters and plan for the final quarter and beyond. We have big plans for 2019 and I’m thankful that MAP’s service includes a Financial Director who supports us reaching our ambitious goals. As a small agency, we don’t have the funds for a full time FD, so MAP offering this as part of our package has been a game changer.
Finishing the day with training session number two - another beast of a leg session.
Shower, food and collapse into bed at 9:30pm, drifting off peacefully knowing tomorrow is a rest day from the gym. Bliss.
Friday 18th January
I have a little lie in - 6am *eye roll*. And after coffee and a little chuckle at the ‘boy racer’ memes appearing on social after Prince Philip’s car accident (very pleased that no one was seriously injured), I do a final run through of this morning’s pitch.
The pitch is successfully delivered and I have everything crossed hoping we win this one - the client is fantastic and we would very much like to be a part of their journey within the tech sector - another specialism of Jam’s.
Back to the office to support the team on a new digital strategy for one of our clients, Sync. We designed and developed their new e-commerce site which launches soon, so our focus will now switch to driving traffic and generating online sales.
I review the CVs we’ve had in for the PR Account Manager and Social Media Manager roles and do some research on Expo 2020, Dubai. The supplier portal is a beast - I think this may need to be tackled with a side of custard creams and a vat of tea this weekend!
The whole afternoon is blocked out for our meeting with our Business Advisor, Katie. To give some context, last year I participated in the Business Growth Hub’s Greater Connected course - a free course for digital and creative agency leaders, delivered by Form Leadership. Over three days Form provided incredible insight and guidance on how to develop our agencies and maximise processes. Following this, I was delighted when Form and the Growth Business Hub invited me to sign up to Amplify, an intense mentoring program that would build on the foundations of the previous three-day course.
Over a nine-month period, which kicked off with a field trip to Copenhagen (if you haven’t seen my segwaying adventures on Instagram, go have a giggle!), we will be working with Katie and Form Leadership to develop Jam and take the agency to the next level. There’s a hell of a lot of homework but I am thoroughly enjoying it and excited for how Jam is developing on this journey.
Early night tonight, as my brain is dead from a very hectic week.
Final thought of the day, no, not Syria - if you know, you know ;) ... If you, whoever you are, have actually read through this lengthy and detailed account of my week to get to this final thought, I think you deserve a large glass of your favourite tipple. Have one for me, I’m on Dry January. Cheers!