Interview with Alice Driscoll, Deputy MD at Jam, the Engine Group

Alice Driscoll has worked for a number of high profile advertising and creative agencies in the last 12 years, working in management, integrated strategic account management and creative planning for clients across a wide variety of sectors.
In 2010, she joined pd3, a culture marketing led creative agency as part of the management team overseeing strategy, new business, client services and the general day to day management of the agency. In 2012, she became a qualified NLP coach and is currently studying psychotherapy in her spare time.
In 2014, Michael Page Digital placed her at Jam, a digital creative agency, part of the Engine Group as deputy MD.
Katie Self from Michael Page Digital talks to her about her career so far.

1. What attracted you to join Jam? What have you focused on since joining?

I joined Jam because I was looking for a new role that would build on my previous experience whilst giving me new challenges to get my teeth stuck into. The role at Jam fit the bill perfectly because it is a great agency with a proven track record, while still retaining the hunger to aim even higher. I felt I could genuinely make a difference to the agency while also learning a huge amount.

2. How would you describe the state of your industry at the moment? Where are your main areas of opportunity to grow the business? How do you differentiate yourselves from the competition?

The industry has been through a revolution over the past 10 years as the world has transformed into a digital one. We now operate in an ‘always on’ consumer culture so we have to be agile and responsive at all times. This means we’ve had to rip up the rule book and start again with our products and our processes. Jam is a creative digital agency with social expertise, we have the tools and the analytics to know what our clients’ consumers are thinking and how they are behaving in real time. We also have the creative clout to turn that knowledge into something stand out and meaningful for them so we create great work… that works.

3. What are the priorities for Jam and how is your business function/department helping to achieve that?

Our key priority is the acquisition and retention of talent. Our business is our people, our product is their ideas. That is something that has not changed in the face of new technology and new media. As deputy MD, it’s my role with the rest of the management team to ensure that we are creating the right environment and supplying the tools that enable brilliant thinking and creativity. We do this by looking at and working on our commercial model, our processes, our skills and our culture.

4. What skills are in high demand in your market currently?

Good senior people are in high demand across all the skill sets. There is a shortage of senior creative women which is a major issue.

5. Is retention still an issue in the current challenging economic climate? How do you retain your top performers?

There continues to be a core supply and demand issue in the digital talent pool, particularly at a senior level. We have some of the best in the business in an under-supplied market. Ultimately, you have to provide a rewarding workplace that is about more than remuneration, you have to keep growing your talent, keep nurturing them, let them contribute, make them a real part of things. People just want to feel valued first and foremost.

6. What has been the biggest challenge in your career to date?

Believing in myself in the face of challenging people.

7. Tell us a little about your plans to develop your own career? Where would you like to be in five years’ time?

In this fast changing world I couldn’t possibly look five years ahead, but in two years I hope to have been part of the team who successfully elevated Jam to new heights. Perhaps I can say that I hope in five years’ time I am somewhere I couldn’t possibly have predicted today. I’d hate to think it’s all perfectly planned out, where’s the fun in that?

8. What are the key attributes that someone in your role needs to be successful?

Fairness, consistency, fearlessness, good listening and communication skills – and they need to be emotional and rational in equal measure.
For talent attraction and retention guidance for your creative agency, please contact Katie Self at Michael Page Digital.
T: 020 7269 2424