Inspirational Woman: Sally Mackerell | Co-Founder & Client Director, EveryFriday

Meet Sally Mackerell

Co-Founder and Client Director, EveryFriday

Sally Mackerell is Co-founder & Chief Client Officer at the creative agency EveryFriday, which creates powerful campaigns for clients, who range from luxury brands to discount retailers, global corporations to boutique businesses. They include: Sky, Sony Music, Barclays, Tesco, UEFA & Deutsche Bank.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

Co-Founder and Client Director at EveryFriday, we’re a creative brand and communications studio. Our HQ is in Spitalfields, Shoreditch, our people are spread all over the UK and we support global brands with business challenges including reputation building, marketing and communication. Before starting EveryFriday, I had senior Client Service positions at several different agencies. I experienced independent agencies, and bigger network agencies – some brand focussed, some advertising focussed, some experience focussed. I also did a maternity-cover stint client-side. That last one was important, I wanted to walk the talk – to get a genuine understanding for how we could better service our clients, and better respond to their business challenges. There aren’t many agency people that experience both sides and it really altered my perspective.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Despite how that answer above sounds (!) truthfully, no! I’ve always looked to expand my skills and experience, and take advantage of opportunities rather than have a set plan. When I’ve been too plan focussed in my younger years, I think it closed down opportunities and made me stress about my performance against ‘a plan’. This was true for all areas of life to be honest, not just career.

Saying that, it’s a plan of sorts to look for ways to grow your skills, and trust your gut along the way isn’t it? I’m in the business of relationship building – so being open to opportunities and where they might lead is crucial to my day-to-day.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

I’m acutely aware of answering this from a position of privilege, but yes. In the early years, in my experience, being in Client Services was all too often only equated to being sociable, admin orientated (young and female), essentially being periphery to the core work which was left to the thinkers and creatives (pretty much all the men). Progress has thankfully changed that, but legacy tropes take time to change – and in some agencies Client Services are still not core to project decision-making or contributing to creative thinking. At EveryFriday it’s the opposite – Client Services is key to our business and always has been – side-by-side with creative and strategy, no silos. We’re responsible for being close to client business strategy and translating that into our creative output, which is core to the work.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Professionally – I’m not sure I’ve had it yet. If I can answer it that way. Every time we’re in a meeting talking about growth plans for EveryFriday, I feel a real sense of achievement at what the four of us have accomplished so far, especially in most recent times – but I know we have so much more ahead. I genuinely don’t think we’ve done our best work yet, so I don’t think I can answer that question.

Personally speaking – and it’s totally related to happiness and my career so it’s a valid answer I think – it’s my blended family set-up with my partner and step-daughter, and our great relationship with his ex-wife and her partner. It takes consideration, empathy, time and effort – but it’s something I am hugely proud of. The world is full of examples of that set-up never working and being a source of drama and pain for everyone involved, so leading a very different example of it working well is a great achievement for me, well, for all of us involved actually.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

One thing…. That’s tough. I can think of three of equal importance:

  • Positive thinking – I apply it to most scenarios and always try to encourage others with it. In the depth of running a business in lockdown, I think it saved me.
  • Being grateful and realising how good the majority of us have it. Nothing is ever that stressful or serious if it’s not health-related. The best clients know that too and it makes work easier.
  • Support – People that run a business single-handedly astound me. Leaning on and being leant on by my co-founders makes it all work in our business. I know I’m strong, but we all need each other for the business to be brilliant, and we need brilliant people around us – and there’s something wonderful in that.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

It’s a big responsibility – but it’s so powerful. Yes I have done, and will continue to do so. Formally and informally (recently with KTG (Kerning the Gap) and also with UCA Epsom. Sharing experiences in certain moments can be life-changing. It was for me, it still is. I try to be able to do that for others too. I don’t have a formal mentor myself, but a handful of trusted people that come first to mind when talking something through outside of the situation is helpful. One is an ex-boss, now client. One is an ex-client, now friend. Getting healthy perspective is always beneficial.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

I don’t think one thing can solely make a difference to be honest – a completely holistic approach covering education, raising awareness of opportunities in underrepresented sectors, greater transparency around pay, more open conversations to challenge biases, more approachable leadership and greater engagement between businesses and education are the things that working together will make the difference.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Professionally – Know your value, and be more ambitious to exert it sooner in your career – that’s about confidence in valuing the ‘way’ you do things, your ‘softer’ skills. They’re just as important. Simply speaking – ask for a promotion sooner – I let it run on way too long in previous companies.

Personally – call / facetime / visit your Dad (parents, loved ones, guardians) every single day, no matter how busy work is. You’ll always feel better for that connection. I lost my Dad a few months ago very suddenly, and never getting to speak to him again is the worst.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

It’s a continuation really – building and growing EveryFriday for its next chapter with some cracking clients and work that puts us on the map. Come back to me then on the question about our greatest achievement!

Away from EveryFriday, and thinking to our industry in the future, I’d like to see far more females in creative departments, and running creative businesses. 1% of creative agencies are founded by women. 1%. I think about that stat everyday and hold myself responsible for trying to shift it.

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