In this series, Digital Marketing Executive Rebecca Broad chats to team members at Vixen Labs to find out more about their roles.
Hi, Hannah! Thanks for joining us to chat about what on earth a Vixen Labs Producer does each day. But before all that, tell us about your background. What was your journey like up to joining Vixen?
My journey has been relatively simple. Shortly after graduating in Economics with Maths from the University of Exeter, I started my first job in London: a four-month contract as an administrator in the innovation department of a charity. I ended up staying there for six years! I had a variety of roles – some favourites include running the global publishing department which translated a variety of resources, and project managing a big film series (twelve episodes, 45 minutes each, filmed around the world, about marriage).
The team had a shake up in the summer of 2019 and five roles were cut, including mine. I took two weeks out to relax, spend time with my family, and complete the challenge of walking the 84 miles of Hadrian’s Wall in four days with some friends!
Walking Hadrian’s Wall as a way to relax between jobs is very Hannah Carr! You’re definitely one of the most active people I know.
Hah! Well, at the same time, Vixen Labs was looking for a Project Manager. A friend had seen JP’s post on Facebook, and I’d met with Jen and JP while serving my old job’s notice period.
Shortly after I completed Hadrian’s Wall in October, JP emailed me like “Sooo… life of a startup! We have a lot of work for the next few months, can you start next week?!” and that was it! I entered the world of voice first.
Can you remember your first day? Tell us all about your initial impressions!
21st October 2019 was my first day. It was mainly just the three of us in the office for those beginning weeks, although on my first day we had visitors from America, so I got cracking with some research tasks while Jen and JP were in meetings. I remember JP giving me an Alexa!
Thinking back, I was so nervous. I’d not worked in the corporate world before, and Vixen Labs were at the beginning of their startup journey. There were so few of us involved at that point and I really wanted to be helpful and good at my job.
First impressions… JP and Jen are talkers, hah! I was hugely impressed by how well they knew this young industry; they were experts in it, that was obvious. I immediately knew they were techy, hard working and proactive. And they loved coffee!
My first impression of the Voice First world was: this is all so new. There are not many people/organisations doing this. The fact I was involved in a tech startup in such an innovative industry was very cool.
I remember first meeting you that November when I came to London for an event with JP! So what does your role as Producer look like now, on a day-to-day basis? Are there any tasks that you think would surprise people?
When I started working for Vixen, we had roughly two projects at a time. We now have at least ten. Day to day, I’m essentially making sure the tasks are either being completed by the team, helping get the task ready for the team to complete, or creating a new task that needs to be done. With so many projects, we have to be efficient, thorough and flexible, because things always come up.
There’s a lot of documentation to start a project (SOWs, budgets, timelines) and a lot during, too (actions from meetings) – and with multiple projects, it’s key to keep on top of it all.
I’m essentially the point person of my projects. I’m aware of where we’re at, what we’ve done and what we’ll be doing next. I’m in the know 😉
And what about your secondary, unofficial title of Chief Fun Officer? The level of organisation required for our Christmas Zoom Party was quite something…
A huge part of my ethos in life (well, in anything really) is to have fun! And that includes the team. If we’ve bonded as friends and enjoy each other’s company, it helps us to communicate and do our jobs better.
Organising the Christmas Party took a lot more time than expected but I do love bringing people together. It’s these little social things that make a world of difference when working for an organisation, and I see it as key for helping us enjoy where we work and having a break. Thankfully, JP and Jen are always up for my ideas! I was really grateful that they just let me run with it.
I actually think working remotely has helped us in this area: we had to be really intentional. Some of our colleagues are overseas too, so remote work puts us all in the same box – we’re all on a screen drinking our own drinks.
I definitely see what you mean there. I miss hanging out with the team in person but I mostly worked remotely even pre-pandemic, so it’s felt slightly more normal for me.
What’s your favourite part of working as a Producer at Vixen Labs?
My day is varied. I could be working on a fair few projects in a day. Although it takes mental strength to hop between them, it does create variety. My favourite part of the day is usually the standup – I think that was one of our best adaptations when we all started working remotely, it’s really nice to have a daily check-in.
When we started to get more projects rolling in, Jen and JP employed an Executive Producer (thank goodness!) who became my line manager, Tim. In my opinion, that was one of Vixen’s best decisions of 2020 – he is a great manager.
And finally – you’re Vixen’s resident athlete (sorry JP). Are there any personal goals for running or cycling on the horizon?
Always! With running, my goals are usually just to get faster. I want to get personal bests for both one mile, and five kilometres by the summer. I’ll be aiming for twenty minutes something for the 5km, and a sub-6-minute mile. It is trickier as there aren’t any races at the moment due to COVID, but I’ll give it a shot.
Cycling is my adventure sport. I usually do one challenge a year (which isn’t necessarily cycling) and this year I’m thinking about a 24-hour road cycle… but that’s quite something. I’ve had rough thoughts about cycling to a town and back in the daylight, then sticking close to a local loop in the dark. But yeah, all thoughts at the moment.
Thanks, Hannah; it’s been great chatting – and I’ve learned things about you despite being in the same team for over 18 months! Good luck with the running. Fingers crossed for some races to be on by summer…