Culture | 3 MIN READ
We caught up with Sarah Leach, who rejoined us in the maternity cover role of Account Director. We asked Sarah about her career since she’s been away, her thoughts on putting the customer first and (of course) her favourite way to eat an egg.
Welcome back Sarah - tell us a bit about what you’ve been up to since you left us.
I relocated to the Cambridgeshire countryside six years ago and took on a role leading the digital transformation for The Westland Horticulture Group to establish its digital footprint. It was a varied role spanning brand, content, digital and ecommerce. Key highlights for me were building out their new ecommerce platforms for both the B2B and DTC sides of the business and growing their ecommerce offering to meet the accelerated growth in demand during the pandemic when everyone went mad for gardening!
Most recently, I did a stint at an equestrian ecommerce specialist retailer with PE backing and was focused on driving profitable growth. I led the day-to-day trading and marketing with a core focus on paid media and CRM.
And more importantly, what made you return?
I was coming to the end of my previous role when the opportunity to return opened up. I’ve been a client for the last six years, so I have experienced first-hand the brilliant work Fresh Egg delivers. Coupled with a desire to impart the knowledge I’ve built up over the years to help other businesses scale, it felt like perfect timing.
I love to learn and am curious by nature. I love listening to various podcasts; I find this easier to digest than reading, as I already spend a lot of time using a screen. I follow various brands to see how they’re innovating in their space and see how I can apply this to my world.
Sarah Leach, Account Director
What do you think makes a great account director?
Empathy is the single most important trait. It enables you to build relationships with your clients and understand their goals, drivers, needs and motivations.
Other key areas are a blend of problem-solving, opportunity spotting, strategic and creative thinking and being results orientated.
Obviously, having a solid understanding of the different media and channels you are working on is essential, but you cannot be an expert in everything. Having the ability to translate technical information into layperson's terms and identify how it fits into the bigger picture helps.
What is your ethos for putting the customer first?
It helps that my whole career has been customer-oriented. Having started my marketing career at Virgin, which champions the customer, I have lived by this mantra ever since! I’ve also had a mix of working for agencies and brands, so I have first-hand experience of what our clients need from us.
What tips would you have for anyone looking to get into a similar career?
Specifically, in client servicing, you must focus on developing your softer skills, such as listening, patience, idea generation, and problem-solving. Still, overall, you need to be a people person who can think on your feet and adapt to different situations and environments. You also need to be highly organised, have an excellent eye for detail and be very good at managing multiple projects, campaigns and key stakeholders.
Within the wider marketing space, it’s a fantastic industry to be part of. I feel fortunate to have worked for some great big brands and learned much at smaller scale-ups. One piece of advice I have passed on is not to specialise too early. There is so much to learn in the marketing world, and having a good grasp across a wide range of disciplines helps you understand the role of each channel or media and whether you may want to specialise in it further in your career. I’m a big fan of the ‘T-Shape’ marketer role as it enables you to take a more integrated approach to your work.
How do you keep up with the fast-paced world of digital?
I love to learn and am curious by nature. I love listening to various podcasts; I find this easier to digest than reading, as I already spend a lot of time using a screen. I follow various brands to see how they’re innovating in their space and see how I can apply this to my world. I’ve always been an early adopter of technology and will often jump on something or sign up for beta and get hands-on to learn how it works.
You can only use one tool to do your job, what is it and why?
My mobile – I can do everything with this and work from anywhere. I’m a bit old fashioned and prefer to pick up the phone and talk to a human. I have never quite grasped the shorthand use of emojis and text slang!
What’s your favourite brand, and why?
Wow, that is so hard. Brand marketing is where I started at Virgin in my 20s, and, to be honest, I flew Virgin recently, and they still rock, so I think I would have to choose them as they influenced so much of my career and who I am today and how I apply myself to work.
If you could use only one website (or app) what would it be and why?
WhatsApp – I use it to keep in touch with friends and family across the globe, and it feels like they are in the room with you on video calls.
What are you most looking forward to continuing your journey with Fresh Egg
Fresh Egg is like one big family, and coming back feels like getting the band back together, LOL! I am looking forward to working across a variety of businesses and sharing my knowledge and expertise with them to help grow their businesses. I love solving problems, being creative and helping others. At this point in my career, I have a lot of learnings to share.
I’m also keen to deep dive into the various disciplines Fresh Egg has to offer in more detail, as this isn’t something I’ve been in a position to do in the last few years, as you have to be across such a wide remit. Being client-side can be a lonely place, so having access to such a brilliant, talented team will be a refreshing change!
What do your friends and family think you do for a job?
I honestly don’t talk about work that much outside of work! My family knows I work in marketing, and I’ve spent years explaining how Google works (they still don’t get it!). Friends think I either work in IT or spend my days on TikTok and Instagram!
What's your go-to hobby out of work?
First and foremost, my passion in life is horses. My horse Malik and I regularly compete in dressage and showjumping, and I also compete with my friend's horse Laurenzo. We participate in the British Riding Club, which is fun as it's mainly team competitions, but I also do British Dressage (for those non-horsey folk out there, this is when it looks like the horse is dancing).
I have a lot of hobbies. I'm not sure when I have time to fit them all in, but I love music, gardening, and art. When I'm not riding, you can often find me painting. I originally trained as an Illustrator and recently picked up painting again after a long break. I tend to paint abstract and am heavily influenced by Picasso and Salvador Dali. I would have loved to become a full-time painter in another life, but it doesn't pay enough to keep horses!
Finally, what is your favourite way to eat an egg (if there is one)?
I’m quite partial to scrambled egg on sough dough toast at lunchtime.