We catch up with Selina Beresford, our Senior Associate Director for Operations, on making lists, building a freelance database and why recruiting Account Managers is her biggest challenge.
Firstly, tell us about your role and what a typical day looks like…
I’m Senior Associate Director for Operations, looking after TVC Group’s processes, resourcing and recruitment. On a typical day I’ll be doing anything from interviewing candidates, sourcing freelancers and putting contracts in place, to making sure we have enough milk and cheese in the communal fridge – trust me I get as many emails about the communal food as I do about freelancers!
I’m also a trained Mental Health Champion, part of a very special programme launched by our parent company The Economist Group to help support mental wellbeing in the workplace. Being aware of mental health in the workplace is so important and I feel privileged to have been chosen to be a Champion.
I’ve been in this role for five years but I started my career at TVC more than a decade ago as a radio PR specialist, hitting the phones and setting up back-to-back radio interviews for our clients. Then I moved into client services and was doing more with global clients – managing huge broadcast and online campaigns, including being part of the team on the unforgettable Red Bull Stratos project when Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of space. During the four years building up to the jump I actually had my first baby, and having worked on this campaign for so long it felt like my second baby!
How has your background working in a client facing role helped you in your current role?
It helps a lot! I was writing releases and selling in for a decade so I understand the job inside out. When the team come and say they want a freelancer I know how long the project will take, what sort of support they need and the exact skills they’re looking for. When it comes to services we buy in, like media databases and monitoring, again I know exactly what we need and what will work for the team.
What do you love most about your role?
I love a bit of process – I’m always making lists, not just at work, in my personal life too. My friends call me the ‘list Queen’ and they’ll ask me to share my lists with them.
Because of the nature of our work, campaign briefs drop in at a moment’s notice so I’m always interviewing for potential future requirements, which I really enjoy too. I’ve spent a lot of time building my own database of freelancers so I have a resource to tap into quickly when we need support at really short notice.
I sometimes miss the buzz of landing a great piece of coverage, but working so closely with the client teams I still get to live the excitement of seeing a spokesperson being interviewed on TV after being set up by one of the team.
What are the biggest challenges you face on a day-to-day basis?
The big challenge at the moment is finding Account Managers. I see lots of CVs from Senior Account Execs and Senior Account Managers but AMs don’t seem to be as mobile, perhaps because they’ve decided to stay put and wait to get to the next level before looking around.
AMs are pretty key to our teams – they’ll be working closely with the client, handling budgets, writing proposals, selling in globally and training up more junior people on the team. In short, they’ve been there and done it. At TVC, our AMs work across global campaigns and a mix of retained business and projects. Every day is different and exciting. Where are all the AMs hiding?
I’d love to hear from any freelancers, AMs or anyone who thinks TVC sounds like their kind of agency – please drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally, what do you like to do when you’re not making lists…
I have three beautiful children who are my biggest achievement – I love spending time with them more than anything. They make me SO proud!