Describe your day job:
I’m Chairman and co-founder of Omobono. We’re a creative and technology agency. We’ve got 70 people in 4 offices in Cambridge, London, Bristol and Chicago. My principle ‘day job’ is actually business development. Going out and meeting people in the UK, and US, to talk to them about Omobono. Hopefully they’ll want to work with or for us as a result.
What skills are needed to be a good Chairman?
Chairmen of small companies are not so different to Chairmen of large companies. In both cases you’re a figurehead. A senior person who represents the company. But you don’t run it day to day – that’s down to the CEO or MD. In smaller companies you’re more likely to have another role. In my case it’s trying to grow the business. I think people imagine your entire role is chairing board meetings, but in fact it’s about listening to the sometimes conflicting requirements of the business and trying to give sound counsel about the best way forward.
What’s the best thing about being Chairman of Omobono?
The people who work for us. Multitalented, creative, committed, fun. What’s not to like?
Oh, and The Feast of Omobono – our annual awayday in November. We take everyone away for a day and a night to team-build, share best practice and party (hard). It’s great for bonding and has become part of the agency’s story.
And what the biggest challenge?
Finding the right people to grow the business. We’ve been lucky with our new offices, started in Chicago and London this year; we found great people to work for us. But the bigger we get the harder it gets to find more of them, and we won’t take second best. The right combination of talent and cultural fit is what we’re looking for. Get in touch if you’re interested!
Where and how did you start your career?
I was meant to be going on a TV production course immediately after leaving University (Durham), because I wanted to get into that, but it was cancelled at the last minute. I was so cross I went out and got a job in advertising instead. The rest is history.
What advice would you give to aspiring young business leaders?
Everyone is different and you don’t have to be brilliant at everything. I couldn’t have set up Omobono on my own, but my partners, Chris Butterworth (Creative Director) and Ben Dansie (CEO) thankfully have most of the skills I don’t have, and I have some that they don’t. Working together we’re better than if we worked individually, but that strength comes from difference, not from being the same.