Through the Eyes of – Working at FORWARD AND THINKING
For the “Through the Eyes of”- series, we have asked our team to tell us a bit how they experienced working at Forward And Thinking, how they have developed and what they think of the agency. We can tell you so much about how amazing the team is, but we thought it’s better to hear it from themselves!
Name: Natalea Walker
Job Title: Media Planning Manager
Why do you like working at Forward And Thinking?
There’s so many pro’s about Forward And Thinking that if I list them all, you just won’t believe it to be true!
I’ve never felt so at ease in a role or so at home. The people are just one in a million, so caring, dedicated and knowledgeable.
We have a fantastic work-play balance too. The directors don’t let hard work go unnoticed, rewarding us with amazing days out and cheeky Friday or Monday bubbles to unite everyone when we’ve all had our heads down. Directors & management are completely invested in everyone, they want to know us not just in a work capacity but in a social one too. For that reason, it makes work feel like you’re doing something with your family day in day out. I consider them as my nearest and dearest, people I can always rely on like I do close friends. I can turn to them if I ever need advice, a good talking to or just sympathy if I’m feeling that way out!
Aside from the greatness of the people, the actual work bit is pretty incredible too. No day is the same and the variety of tasks keeps you on your toes, really stimulates the mind and makes the hours just fly by. Our processes are so easy too! That goes for the one’s staff, clients and suppliers all follow, which means that working for/with Forward and Thinking is just a breeze.
What has been your greatest achievement?
I’ve only been back in the company a short while having left 4 years ago to follow my Prince Charming and set up home in Newcastle, but now I’m back and hitting the ground running again!
I would say my greatest achievement to date has been starting in a Junior Media Planning role all those years ago and coming back to cover the Media Planning Manager Cally, whilst she’s on Mat leave.
Not only have I been able to brush up on my campaign planning skills (a lot has changed in the Media landscape since I was last putting together campaign plans!) but I’ve been given free rein to really put my stamp on things, identify changes within processes to make us all work more leanly and most importantly, unite teams so that more than ever we are working as one unit and singing from the same hymn sheet.
It’s been my goal to ensure the Planning/Artworking team remain a well-oiled cog in the media buying cycle and from my perspective, it couldn’t be turning anymore freely.
Have you learnt a lot whilst being at Forward And Thinking? What Training / development have you enjoyed the most?
It sounds very cliché, but every day is a school day for me. Whether that be learning how to handle suppliers, staff or client queries, tackle larger campaign plans or making that smaller budget stretch to have impact and be as successful as possible. In that sense, I’ve learnt a wealth of industry knowledge over the years.
It’s like learning to drive, you only really learn when it’s just you and open road. Forward And Thinking do a great job of giving you the right tools & really balance the practical elements with the mentoring side. Whilst there is a lot of self-directed learning which goes on in the background and which happens subconsciously, the company is fully supportive training wise and willing to invest when you display a thirst for knowledge.
What I’ve learnt the most from my experiences at Forward And Thinking (both past & present) is that a job you love, isn’t easy to come by. You also get out of it, what you put in! So, for that reason I’d say development wise I’ve learnt that perseverance, dedication and being open minded about what a role can bring, will set you on the right path to achieving job satisfaction. An asset we all strive for and personal qualities Employers really appreciate!
Tell us about your team?
If my boasting hasn’t already put you off reading, this might…!
My girls are just THE best. Each member brings a different dynamic to the table, applies themselves 100% and has adapted exceptionally to my management style. I must also add that they welcomed me with open arms when I came in to cover Cally and that was just the best feeling ever. It’s something that will stay with me forever and I’ll always be grateful for how easy it was to settle in and just be part of the team.
Emily, Fiona, Chloe & Zoe have been an absolute pleasure to manage so far. Every day, they ‘wow’ me with their skills, commitment and performance in their role. We’re collectively growing and I love that despite the pace quickening, everyone has each other’s back, is doing what we can to lighten the load and most importantly keep each other smiling and laughing day in day out.
We have a motto when things get tough, ‘we’re all in this together’ it’s a little nod to the film High School Musical and whenever we’ve really pulled together, we share the GIF. over Teams and it just makes my day! Very cheesy, but for me it’s what being in a TEAM is all about.
Tell us about a recent project you worked on or a nice encounter you had with a co-worker.
I’m not usually client facing, but I had been approached by a friend to explore some OOH and Digital options for a Utility company which was undergoing a brand refresh and who really wanted to show this off via a Brand Awareness campaign.
I handled the Account Management side of things, kept hold of the OOH element and briefed the Digital team. I followed Matt and Molly every step of the way, learning so much about how the Digital side of the business operates, from budget allocation through to the different deliverables which would best achieve the client’s objectives. They treat me like I was the client, having regular contact over email and calls and they didn’t overwhelm me with too much technical jargon, so I was more than able to present each campaign plan to the client confidently when the time came.
I can’t thank them enough for guiding me through and giving me so much insight into the Digital world. I trusted them to deliver and they absolutely smashed it!
Explain Forward And Thinking in three words?
We loved reading this, Nat!!! So glad to have you back! Keep doing what you’re doing 🙂