The Lowdown – Meet Michelle

What do you do at Project Simply?

I’m the Ops Director here.

What did you do before you came here?

I started out working in fashion, designing & producing collections and also ran fashion workshops for kids in Manchester – lots of fun! Somewhere along the way took a job as a part-time office manager for a small games company in Macclesfield. I grew with that company as we expanded our offer and team from 4 of us to 25+.

I left that role after over 6 years as the Managing Director, and then went on to be Operations Director on the board of a large full service creative agency in Manchester. I met loads of brilliant people in both roles and learned everything I know from them, and the experiences I had on the way.

Who is your dream client?

It’s always great to work on brand projects with clients that you’ve built a great rapport with – shared trust, good communication and understanding makes a huge difference to the creative that is produced.

I did enjoy MAC cosmetics as client to be honest, free makeup in an office full of hairy developers; I really cleaned up there…

What advice would you give to anyone looking for a career in Operations?

I’d say from starting out as an Office Manager, doing literally everything from P&L forecasts, business plans, awkward HR meetings, washing the dishes and paying the rent cheques – I just got things done and if I didn’t know how to do it I’d ask or work it out.

I got an insight into every area of the business from the bottom up. I watched things fail, watched things succeed and learnt from it all, soaking up every bit of advice I was given.  I’d say listen to your instincts, don’t be scared to speak up whatever level you are at – there is no such thing as a stupid question.

Dishwashing. the key to a successful agency.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I’m not a massive fan of business books for inspiration. I think they can provide interesting structures, experiences and methodologies but the answer can’t ever be found in one place because this business is all about people, and people are complicated!

I’m more inspired when I speak to people –  and they are typically keen to share. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great individuals who still continue to inspire me and give great advice.

What type of animal are you most like?

Labrador I think. Happy being around people, listening, long walks, usually hungry – I also expect to get slower, fatter and my back legs feel like they might go soon.

A wo(man)s best friend

What album / artist have you got on heavy rotation at the moment?

Some old stuff at the moment – Eurythmics!  A bit of Gillian Welch, Cass Mccombs, Kurt Vile; but I listen to a lot of podcasts at too – Joan and Jericha for dark comedy, 99% invisible for great design stories & the the odd true crime binge to keep it real.

What’s your favourite place for Friday team lunch?

We are spoilt for choice in the Northern Quarter… Sugo or Rudy’s for a luxury, but I do have a soft spot for a good brekky at Ezra & Gil.