Katherine Sale is Director of Operations at Croud London, a global digital marketing agency with the world’s first crowd-sourced network of digital experts.
We caught up with Sale as part of our ‘Day in the Life’ column to find out what life at Croud is like and what her job entails. If you would like to be featured then please get in touch.
Katherine, please describe your job: What do you do?
Katherine Sale: I am responsible for the well-being, productivity and smooth running of the London teams at Croud. In practical terms, this means I help with recruitment, onboarding new staff, ensuring staff happiness, implementing company initiatives, coordinating teams across the network, and leading projects with partners like Google.
It’s also part of my role to support and enhance the London management team, with process implementation, personal and team development, team mentoring and issue resolving.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
Katherine Sale: I’m part of the senior management team, and report directly into our CEO Luke Smith. I also work closely with the Global COO Mark Bond and Chief Of Operations Jon Ditchburn, and report to the board regularly on areas of operational excellence.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Katherine Sale: There can be so many moving parts, so organisation and prioritisation are fundamental to my job role. Right now I’m working on a new seating plan for the London office. About every six months we reshuffle the desks because it’s good for productivity. It’s quite a large and strategic task, and not everyone likes change!
An underrated skill – which isn’t on the job description – is having empathy. I mediate a lot in my role, often stepping in to support HR. One initiative that I’m leading is creating more awareness about stress management and mental health in the workplace. I recently completed a Mental Health First Aid Course with St John’s Ambulance which was incredible, and I’m looking for ways to implement more conscious ways of working at Croud. Creating an environment at work where people can be open about how they’re feeling is important. If everyone can be empowered to speak up more, they can be more productive.
Tell us about a typical working day…
Katherine Sale: No two days are the same but recently I’ve been busy working on the launch of Croud’s new service for in-house marketing teams called Serpico. Designed for the modern marketer, the platform empowers teams to take control of campaigns and improve performance. We have spent more than two years developing the technology underpinning the service, and Serpico is Google’s first Marketing Platform Sales Partner of 2019. So we’re all extremely proud to have finally launched and celebrate what a great achievement it’s been for the whole team.
Today I am focussing on the new seating plan and I am meeting a team member to set their objectives for the coming months, making sure they’re happy with them and working towards their development in the company. I’ve also got a senior management meeting to talk about company revenue numbers, new business, and an update on clients – just to name a few.
Though my tasks differ day to day, I always try to make sure I’m promoting Croud’s company values in everything I do. These are:
- Passion: really caring about what we do and doing a great job for our clients and for ourselves;
- Imagination: never resting on our laurels and always believing we can do things bigger and better, pushing the boundaries through a culture of creativity and innovation;
- and Integrity: cultivating an open, collaborative way of working where everyone can be open and honest.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
Katherine Sale: I love the fact that everyone in the business understands the importance of collaboration and what it means to be a team. I definitely felt this support when I returned from maternity leave. The reality of returning to work and having a baby is difficult, but the team were incredibly understanding and flexible. We meet regularly as a team to catch up; every Friday at 4pm we have ‘Crouded House’, which is where the whole office comes together for a drink and shares what they’ve been up to. We always try to keep it positive and talk about something we’re proud of that week and tie it to a value.
The only thing that ‘sucks’ about my job is that I can’t give enough time to everything. I would love to spend more time with everyone who comes into the business but there are finite hours in the working day and I have to prioritise.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Katherine Sale: I have KPIs directly linked to staff retention, staff happiness, and implementation of Croud processes. But my main goal is to make a happier, more open and honest working environment. Agency environments are notorious for high turnover, I think average tenure is only about two years. But our relationships with past employees don’t really end; about a third of those who leave rejoin the Croudie Network – our network of on-demand digital experts – to become flexible-workers. These ‘Croudies’, as we call them, are awesome for the business because we get to retain talent and they’re happy because they can work from anywhere, any time.
Personal success for me is learning and growing all the time; I don’t set exact goals because I don’t like to narrow or restrict myself. As long as I’m constantly developing and have new challenges to push me forward, then I’m happy.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Katherine Sale: My calendar is my everything! It’s my to-do list, and I really do try to stick to my required hours and try to avoid overtime where I can as I think this is the healthy way to work. When I have a deadline for a presentation, for example, I will schedule mini-deadlines beforehand, like time for running through and incorporating edits. You really can’t be organised enough when things are moving this fast.
I don’t like to rest on tools or technology too much, and the key to success is good old fashioned face-to-face communication. So much of my job relies on other people, so clear communication with my Croud team – and external partners – is critical.
How did you end up at Croud, and where might you go from here?
Katherine Sale: I joined Croud in 2016 as a Client Strategy Director, and when I returned from maternity leave last September I took on this new Operations role. Previous to this I was the Training and Development Lead at another agency. I always like to have my ear to the ground and look at what other agencies are doing; keeping an eye on who’s doing great work, and who’s up and coming.
Before joining Croud, I knew someone who worked here and when I knew it was the right time to move on from my previous role, I went and interviewed and I loved it. I met Luke, our CEO, who I found very inspiring. I met a lot of the management team when I interviewed, actually, and I could see myself getting on with them. I felt included straight away, and I knew that if the founders were like that, then the rest of the company should follow.
Which campaigns or customer experiences do you admire?
Katherine Sale: Mothercare’s recent ‘Body Proud Mums’ campaign definitely resonated with me as a mum. I loved it because it challenged the unrealistic images of new mothers and their post-birth bodies, and it was so uplifting to see those images everywhere, even on the tube. L’Oreal also have a great new campaign in Germany using worn down lipsticks to show how skewed the numbers are when it comes to men versus women in leadership roles. My favourites definitely have a theme; I always like seeing campaigns about strong women or being a mum.
Do you have any advice for marketers starting a career in agencyland?
Katherine Sale: Take every opportunity that comes your way – and try not to say no. Saying ‘yes’ doesn’t make you a people pleaser. You may not get that opportunity again to grow and learn if you turn down everything. Of course, take on what you can, but delegate. Never sit on the same thing for too long. And also sign up for the St John’s Ambulance Mental Health First Aid Course!