Helen Holland, CEO of PR agency The Reptile Group, describes a typical day

Helen Holland, CEO of PR agency The Reptile Group, strives to spend 70 per cent of her time on the business and 30 per cent in the business. “On the business” means working to make the firm stronger, and “in the business” means activities such as account management and planning. Does she get this balance right? Take a look …

My day

7.30am: I’m not naturally a morning person, so I usually don’t get up until around 7.30am. However, my first thought is always, what’s next? What’s next for the company, what can we do to make ourselves better for clients, employees and to improve relationships with journalists and digital integration? I call this working on the business. Having built the business from scratch, I also can’t resist getting drawn into anything that’s in the business, like account management and planning, but I remind myself that I’ve got a strong team behind me.

8.30am: On my way into the office, I’m usually madly catching up on emails through the BlackBerry, which is my complete lifeline. One of the ways that I keep up to date with our clients is by being on the account team email distribution lists. This means that I receive every single piece of email communication with clients. This not only gives me the opportunity to have conversations with the team about their work, but also share ideas, offer advice, and be the first to congratulate them on a job well done!

9.00am: Once I arrive in the office, I’ll eat my breakfast at my desk while I catch up on news online, as well as check out what’s trending on Twitter and catching up with people through LinkedIn. Any interesting news stories are flagged up with the relevant account teams. I usually make a few calls to clients and prospects each morning, and send an update email to our shareholder, Joel Cadbury.

9.30am: Once a fortnight, our head of digital runs company-wide training sessions to keep us all in the loop with the latest and greatest in the digi-world. We cover everything from evaluation tools and cool new apps, to social networking sites and SEO.

10.30am: Today, I’m joining the team at Komodo who are hosting an internal team brainstorm for a new client that’s launching a particularly complex service. I really enjoy taking part in these. There’s lots of jumping around and the guys are so enthusiastic. It’s great to see the creativity of the team at work, and get involved myself. I leave the room feeling really energetic, despite the fact that I think I ate most of the cookies on offer!

11.30am: I’m catching up with the strategic director today, who is updating me on R.Evolution, our employee development programme. We launched R.Evolution 12 months ago, as a way of ensuring careers are being progressed and aspirations are being achieved. Since its launch, we’ve seen a marked change in the ambitions of our people, and a sharing of knowledge among the team – from our training schedule of team events to one-on-one meetings for reviewing an employee’s progress with their personalised training programmes.

12.30pm: I try to make time to go the gym at lunch time and work off the cookies from the earlier brainstorm. Like many people, I think it’s important to have a balanced life, and not work 24/7. Hopefully, by ducking out of the office at lunch, I encourage our team to do the same and make time in the day to have a break from the computer and phones.

2.00pm: This afternoon I’m attending a Chameleon client meeting with the account team. I get involved in client meetings when we are discussing issues such as aligning PR strategy with marketing and business objectives, or when there are new changes in the client’s business that will require a change in positioning and PR programmes.

3.30pm: Following the client meeting in our offices, I’m off to view new office locations with our invaluable operations manager in tow. Like many of our clients, we’re also changing. We’ve outgrown our current home – having just filled our last remaining desk and to cover our growth, we are now in the process of knocking down my office to make more spaces for desks! So the hunt has begun for the right space that reflects the Reptile culture, our clients, and our approach to the industry.

5.30pm: Another development for our company is the expansion of R.World – our global network. So this evening I’ve got a call with one of our international partners which I’ve been working with to explore shared opportunities.

7.00pm: After running around London with back-to-back meetings, I’m heading home to get ready before meeting a couple of girlfriends for dinner. In the average week, I will go to client or industry events once or twice during the week, as well as attend our monthly networking event with journalists. 

11.30pm: Newsnight, Angry Birds on my iPad, and bed!


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