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Why I moved from a global to a start-up agency

Let’s face it, leaving a job – any job – is a big deal. What’s more, people don’t leave jobs on impulse.

I spent five years honing my skills in a global agency before deciding it was time for a change.

A lot of people leave the security of a large, established organisation for one reason – to have a bigger impact. I fit into this bucket. More than this however, I was looking for the opportunity to be inspired by a team who epitomises ‘doing it all’. Whose values and mission are close to my own.

Taking the plunge

Colleagues and peers had assumptions about start-up life – asking me how I would deal without routine and processes. In a similar vein, friends and family asked whether the time was right to make such a move. At this point, COVID-19 had not yet made the news. So, my response was simple – look at what they’ve achieved in three years.

Since its founding, Milk & Honey has put into practice a multi-award-winning formula. The team successfully became B Corp accredited last year and sits as one of a handful of media agencies with such credentials. Just three years from inception, and the leadership team is taking on Australia.

I knew I had to be part of it.

The value of values

A lot of companies talk about values, but, when push comes to shove, it’s all pushing and shoving to the top. At the core of Milk & Honey is its values – energy, bravery, respect, passion, collaboration and loyalty. In as little as four weeks, I’ve seen first-hand these values in action; informing decision making across the London and Sydney teams.

This is especially important when we look at the current situation, COVID-19, and the impact this is having on people across the globe. There’s no “playbook” for leadership when the environment is unprecedented, and the stakes are so high. Despite this, our values have remained intact and highly visible during this time.

Responding to change

 I’ve observed the strong female leadership team and the board as COVID-19 has unfolded. Day by day, hour by hour, as the situation has changed, they have sought to understand the odds, the opportunities and the obstacles. They have carefully reviewed the individual circumstances of the team and their families. They have built a plan and shared contingencies. They have kept communication consistent and open. The goals have always been clear; plan for the worst, understand the challenge and protect the people.

Hindsight would suggest this was not the right time to have started a new role, much less at a start-up. But I disagree. I’m relieved to be working in a people-first organisation, within a team whose values are ultimately the same as mine. My induction has been a whirlwind, and yes, my desk is my dining table but I’m truly humbled to have taken a leap of faith and landed in the hive.

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