Kirsty Maxey is Joint Managing Director for Financial Services and Fintech specialist agency, Teamspirit.
She is dedicated to transforming both consumer and B2B brands by creating innovative solutions that deliver measurable success.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
With over 20 years’ experience in marketing communications, I started work as a graduate trainee with SunAlliance, specialising in marketing and communications. At the height of the 1980’s boom I helped to market the first pet insurance, Pet Plan, in the UK before moving into publishing with The Scotsman Publications, where we launched the first Scottish Sunday newspaper called Scotland on Sunday. I then went on to set up my own digital marketing consultancy in Scotland advising a diverse mix of clients.
In 2000 I came back to London, working in advertising with Teamspirit, and currently work with a broad range of financial clients helping them transform their brand experience for the better. I love creating innovative solutions for clients that deliver measurable success. I believe our key strength lies in making our clients’ visions a reality by building them a strategic understanding of consumer behaviour and desires, in order to deliver transformative brand experiences.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
I didn’t, but I always grabbed at opportunities as they came along. My motto is say yes and then work out how to do it! I was once offered a job which came with a car, the interviewer asked if I could drive and I said yes. I was offered the job and then had four weeks to learn how to drive – and I did it!
Have you faced any challenges along the way? How did you deal with them?
Setting up my first business was a challenge, it was the start of the dotcom boom and we were helping clients’ set-up their first web experience. We started off with no money, no clients, no office and no colleagues and you have to wear a lot of hats, but that taught me that anything is possible with a little time. 25 years on, that business is still going strong.
Helping companies and businesses transform is always challenging, and cultural transformation in particular, is always painful if its going to really work.
The best way of dealing with it is to plan for all eventualities, keep trying and failing, but always moving forward, stay open to challenges along the way and keep communicating. As my gran always said, nothing great ever happens without some pain.
Do you have a typical workday? How does you start your day and how does it end?
I wake up early at 5.30am and I’m always ready to go. I like to cycle to work and you can get across London really quickly at 6am, the roads are all clear and its actually a real treat to cycle past all those amazing landmarks. Once in work I have a quick shower and breakfast and I’m at my desk by 7.30am. That’s when I get my best thinking done and get myself organised for the day. The next 8 hours will consist of a mix of meetings with the Creative and Planning teams to catch-up on new ideas and insights for our clients. Presentations to clients on how we can transform their brand experience for their customers. If I’m lucky I’ll get away at 6.30pm and cycle home but several times a week we will be out networking at industry events or catching up with colleagues. We have a brilliant team and that’s what makes it so enjoyable. Ideally I’m in bed by 10pm and fast asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.
Have you ever faced sexism in the workplace? How did you respond/deal with this?
I’ve worked in some very male dominated environments in financial services and publishing and in the 80s and 90’s they were still very sexist. There were no women on the Boards and very few in senior management positions. In fact, there were still rules then that women had to wear a skirt and heels! In those days, the easiest approach was just to ignore it and plough on regardless, now I would call it out.
How would encourage more women and young girls into a male-dominated career?
By showing them just how much fun they can have and how liberating it can be. In a male dominated world, women can really stand out, they are often the ones who will encourage more collaboration and bring creativity to their thinking, which is what the world of work needs more than ever.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you ever had a mentor or do you mentor anyone?
I have mentored many people, men and women over the years – it is a brilliant opportunity to pass on your knowledge and hopefully fire-up the next generation of boundary breakers! But it is also very inspirational for me working with young, bright people who have lots of ideas they want to share too.
If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?
I would give them the confidence to speak up and share their point of view. We are really lucky at Teamspirit and ensure that there is a 50/50 split from the Board all the way through the company. And we encourage everyone to have their say and get involved.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Jumping out of an aeroplane for the first time, on my own, was really scary. But I think helping to build Teamspirit into the no. one integrated specialist financial services agency in the UK, a company that celebrates diversity and one that has helped many careers get started.
What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I hope that I can inspire more people and women especially to be the best they can be and give them a platform to be brilliant.