So, to start, what do you all do in your roles? What does an average week look like for you?
Maddy – I’m the Head of Digital Marketing so I look after our Beat the Street marketing team, and I’m responsible for our digital content strategy. Long term, that’s about ensuring our content continues to be effective and reaches as great an audience as possible. Day to day, my work revolves around the running of the Beat the Street programme. Iman and I divide up the projects between us. For the projects I look after that’s creating the social media content and scheduling content to go out, managing the website for my programmes, promoting local events and working with our clients to maximise our reach. I also work on some other projects within IH, and work closely with our Digital team on the development of our website, app and dashboard.
Melissa – As Brand Marketing Officer for Beat the Street, I’m responsible for our brand across the business. Day to day, my role can involve briefing our external graphic designers to produce all of our BtS materials, proofreading, brainstorming new merch/products with Mel, preparing artwork for print, ensuring merchandise is sent out for games and that the Engagement Coordinators have all the kit needed, attending client meetings and running the online Beat the Street shop. I will also be helping to design the Intelligent Health ‘Doctor’s Training Presentation’.
Iman – I’m the Digital Marketing Officer and I support Maddy with the Beat the Street projects. As she said, we split them up between us. My day-to-day can vary from scheduling content, managing the website, sending out the weekly newsletter for active games and promoting events on socials. I also work with Bethany, on the video side of things. We’ve created a content schedule and we have a good bank of content ready to go out on our TikTok. So for anyone reading… give us a follow on TikTok @beat_the_street! 😉
What is your favourite aspect of your job?
Maddy – I really love when I can put time aside to get creative. I enjoy researching best practice and looking at content from across different industries to seek inspiration and then being able to work on new content for Beat the Street – whether that’s adverts, social graphics or new interactive activity sheets for players. At IH, we really champion creativity and experimentation.
Melissa – I think my favourite aspect of my job is the variation each day brings. I enjoy connecting with people and hearing all about the good stories that come from our players. I enjoy all things design and illustration too!
Iman – I like seeing what people interact with on social media, what the trends are, and what makes something go viral. I’ve also really enjoyed the chance to upskill when it comes to filming and editing video content!
What drew you to Intelligent Health/ Beat the Street?
Maddy – I had recently attended a communications conference about behaviour change and I was really drawn to IH for that reason. I really relished the idea of working somewhere you could see the impact your work was having.
Melissa – I was lucky enough to take part in BtS Reading back in 2016. I had such an enjoyable experience participating. It inspired many lunchtime walks along the Thames with my work friends, and through walking we became even closer friends, another benefit of walking! When I read the job description and discovered I could be working with the Intelligent Health team, I knew it was somewhere I would love to work. Especially after reading further about the company’s values and mission to transform lives.
Iman – Well, I was scrolling through Indeed looking for a new job… Haha no, well that part is true, but what got me was the job description. It was similar to what I was doing in my old job at a b2b marketing agency, but the aim was to promote Beat the Street. I hadn’t heard of the game before, but the more research I did on Beat the Street and Intelligent Health, the more I felt the company aligned with my values. IH really wants to make a difference in local communities and encourage behaviour change; it’s incredibly inspiring.
What advice would you give to someone entering the industry?
Maddy – Be bold. It’s hard to grow into yourself when you’re first starting out; it’s difficult to know if what you’ve got to say is the “right” thing but know that it’s actually just about having a voice. Your opinion matters. I would also say, be patient. It took me months to get my first role in communications and I had some relevant work experience under my belt, but someone will take a chance on you so be ready to grab your opportunity when it comes.
Melissa – Maddy I love your answer! You see this is why you are our boss! Wise words indeed! I’d agree and I’d also advise it’s about being adaptable to change, sometimes things don’t go to plan, but there usually is a solution and these are the things we can learn from. Building relationships and trust with colleagues and clients makes life more rewarding and work less like work!
Iman – Keep an open mind and be a sponge. Learn something from everyone you meet. Do a lot of independent research. Complete free online courses on Hubspot or Google Digital Garage. Follow LinkedIn influencers (the good ones). Don’t be afraid to ask questions (I still go to past colleagues with marketing questions!). Finally, connect with others on LinkedIn and create your own network; it’s important to keep up to date with others in the industry as things are always changing.
Who inspires you? (This can be anyone, doesn’t have to be work-related)
Maddy – Hillary Clinton (who should have been the first female president). You don’t have to agree with her politics but man is she persistent. I greatly admire how she handled her election battle against Donald Trump. He demeaned and intimidated her at every given chance and she always handled it with such grace and came out fighting. I have a t-shirt in her honour that says “Nasty woman” – if you know, you know.
Melissa – My niece. She is only ten but her zest for life, her kindness, energy and willingness to learn anything new inspires me and reminds me how rewarding learning new things can be. She is a huge Liverpool fan and has taught Mum (Grandma!) some of the football rules and has tried to teach me to play chess! She is always smiling and generally is just a joy to be with.
Iman – My grandmother – she’s very tenacious. She moved to England from Trinidad, with no prior connections, when she was 17. It’s something I could never have imagined doing at that age. She worked as a nurse in the NHS for 45+ years, and really gave her heart and soul to her job. She’s an incredibly generous, sassy, kind-hearted and all-round wonderful woman.
What was your very first job?
Maddy – My first job was my first role out of university which was as a communications assistant at an allergy charity. I was about as junior as you could be and the work was frustrating sometimes, but I was grateful for the opportunity and it gave me the start I needed. My manager there really championed me and helped me grow in confidence.
Melissa – My first job was working as a waitress at a Saturday job which I kept for many years. I enjoyed the buzz of working in a fast-paced environment and meeting so many different personalities. My first full-time job was working as a graphic designer in the studio department, at the Reading Chronicle Newspaper. I really enjoyed working there and meeting lots of interesting people, so much so I ended up staying for ten years!
Iman – My first job was as a waitress in a hotel chain restaurant. It taught me a lot about how to work in a high-pressure environment. I’d recommend everyone work in hospitality at some point. It’s a chance to interact with people from all different backgrounds on such a massive scale! I made friends for life, grew in confidence and learned a lot about the industry.
Did you go to University? If so, what did you study and where? If not, what did you do instead?
Maddy – I studied Multimedia Journalism at Bournemouth University – so we worked across radio, tv, online and print media. It was an extremely demanding course but it gave me some great, practical skills for the workplace which I know made the transition from education to work life much easier. It did, however, teach me that there was one job I knew I didn’t want, and that was as a journalist! I have such respect for journalists and do find their work fascinating, but the lifestyle wouldn’t have been for me.
Melissa – No, I do wish I had though. I studied Design and Display at Windsor and Maidenhead College (BTEC OND). The course was a mix of learning all aspects of visual merchandising, art and design, technical drawing, typography, marketing and history of art. Two years later, I studied Graphic and Packaging Design at Swindon College of Art (BTEC HND). We learnt to design with different materials such as plastics, clay, card, wood and metal. Two of my favourite projects were designing a box for a selection of Chanel perfumes and designing a plastic bottle for Heinz Ketchup!
Iman – Yes, I studied Ancient History at the University of Manchester. It has nothing to do with digital marketing whatsoever. While that’s true, I did learn a lot from living independently, meeting new people and creating a home for myself. I still love learning about Greek mythology; all the Greek and Roman gods were so dramatic.
What is your decision-making process at work? How do you face challenges?
Maddy – I would say I’m quite a good problem solver. When we’re making decisions about something, I will proactively look for what the knock-on effects could be to avoid them becoming an issue in the first place – that’s the position I prefer to be in! Organisation is key!
However, when it comes to dealing with a challenge, I’m a solutions-orientated person. I normally have a few alternative ideas as to how we could deal with a situation and I would then put it to my team, or the relevant people involved, to get their view. It’s always good to have eyes on an issue and make sure you’re not missing something obvious. My focus is resolving the matter with the least amount of noise possible.
Melissa – Initially I will use my instinct as a good starting point and quite often the knowledge and experience I’ve gained over years working within a design and marketing lead environment allow me to draw on similar previous experiences. (Being aware of deadlines and how long certain processes take can also influence decisions for example). If I need advice or to share ideas to help find the best solution for any situation, I would, and do check in with my team and/or the relevant person.
Iman – I’m not really a decision-maker at IH, but if there was something I’d look at what outcome we’re trying to achieve and then I would bounce it off Maddy for final sign-off.
How do you motivate yourself? How do you motivate your colleagues?
Maddy – The old saying goes that “If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well”. I guess my motivation revolves around doing the best I can. I always present the best version of something and want to produce something I can be proud of, and ensure I do my bit to enable the rest of the team to complete their work. A lot of our work is interconnected so everyone has to pull their weight. Our team works amazingly well together, which is so nice.
Melissa – Ultimately, taking pride in my work and wanting to support and assist my colleagues to the best level I can motivates me. Writing ideas down, doing a brain dump, and sketching out rough thoughts often help. I often find it’s good to break a large task into smaller chunks, and then tackle some of the easier ones first for quick wins.
Iman – I generally do feel quite motivated, as Maddy said, our work is interconnected, so I want to do the best I can for my colleagues. If I’m feeling unmotivated, my methods change depending on what my task is. If it’s scheduling content, I’ll stick on some upbeat music or pink noise, if I’m editing video and struggling to concentrate I use the pomodoro technique and take small breaks every 20 minutes.
When it comes to motivating my colleagues, if I know someone is struggling, I’ll do my best to cheerlead for them!
What does health mean to you?
Maddy – Health for me incorporates both your physical and mental health. Yes, your physical health such as disease, long-term conditions, mobility etc can have a real impact on your happiness and ability to enjoy life. But the impact your mental health and wellbeing can have is still sadly undervalued. Awareness is improving and I would love to see provision for that improving as well – across the NHS, within the workplace and in your local community too.
Melissa – Health to me is about making the right choices for the mind, body and spirit. Physically it is good to keep as strong and well as possible and mentally it is equally important to have peace of mind and a happy life. It’s also about recognizing when to rest and to keep good posture in mind.
Iman – Health to me means looking after my body and my mind. It includes exercise, sleeping well, eating well, being disciplined, and feeling accomplished at work, reading, journaling and being part of a community. So, a myriad of things.
What has been your proudest moment working on Beat the Street?
Maddy – I don’t have anything specific in mind, but I’m always proud of our work when we get amazing stories from players or lovely feedback from clients. It can be a very pressured environment sometimes because there’s so much work that goes into pulling a Beat the Street programme together, but it’s really rewarding when you see the impact.
Melissa – Sitting on the number 17 bus on a September evening overhearing a little boy who was sat behind me telling his Mum all about BtS. He shared, how he had to scan the lampposts, and that he’d get a pack and a map. It was so nice to hear his excitement and think of the game through his eyes. I felt so proud to be a part of our team helping bring pleasure and joy to so many people. Well done to our Engagement Coordinator Chloe, who had clearly inspired this little boy!
Iman – I’ve only been here around 4 months, but what impresses me the most is seeing people engaging with the game. I spend a lot of time on our social media channels, so I see people post pictures or share their thoughts about the game. For example, in the current Renfrewshire game, the schools have been very active on Twitter. They post pictures of the teachers playing, the kids playing and of their standing on the school leaderboard. It’s really lovely to see!
Do you have any hobbies?
Maddy – I like crafts – I enjoy making t-shirts and decorations, etc. But when I need a good mindless thing to do, colouring is always something that relaxes me.
Melissa – I enjoy drawing/doodling, making cards, cooking or settling down with a good book or podcast.
Iman – I love cooking and baking – I enjoy the methodical approach to it, but I need to be in the right mood. I made this amazing vegan apple pie by Phil Khoury for my family – it took a long time but it was so worth it!
Tell me a fact about you that no one will know…
Maddy – It might surprise some of my colleagues to know that I was very into acting when I was a teenager. I studied to A Level grade, but I also took exams and competed in competitions outside of education. As an amateur group, we won awards for choral verse speaking & devised plays at competitions like Woodley Festival, and I won for Shakespearean monologues on my own a handful of times – believe it or not, you’re talking to Joan of Arc! Sadly, I think I’ve lost that youthful confidence – I don’t think I could get up on a stage these days.
Melissa – I’m a black belt in karate. Only joking! I’m really trying to think of something…I love coastal walks, my favourite place is St.Ives. My next coastal walk will be in Swanage next week.
Iman – I’m a very open book… Maybe something my colleagues won’t know is that I worked as a cocktail bartender for 2 years at Dishoom in Manchester. It gave me the confidence to speak freely with a stammer. It also ensured I could make delicious drinks!
If you were a biscuit… which, would you be?
Maddy – A custard cream, but for no other reason than I like them!
Melissa – A chocolate digestive or a Border ginger biscuit covered in dark chocolate. Can I have two?
Iman – A chocolate chip and hazelnut cookie – a freshly baked one that’s still warm with slightly melted chocolate.
If they made a movie about your life, who would you want to play the lead role?
Maddy – I’m thinking someone like Elizabeth Olson because she’s kickass cool as Scarlet Witch, and I can only dream of being that cool.
Melissa – Hmmm, tricky question! Judi Dench just because she’s a great actress.
Iman – I’m spending a very long time thinking of an answer to this and I still don’t know… Maybe Yara Shahidi or Naomi Scott?
What 3 items would you take to a desert island?
Maddy – First aid kit (because me and a desert island would not be a match made in heaven), a comfy bed, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. If I take the biggest book, it might keep me going for a while.
Melissa – A comfy boat, cheese and an indestructible radio for company.
Iman – A fishing net (not that I know how to fish, but I’d quickly learn or die), a hammock, and To Kill a Mockingbird – it’s a book I can reread over and over.
Anything to recommend – whether it’s a good podcast, book, film, or app you’ve loved recently?
Maddy – French and Saunders are my all-time favourite comedy duo. They have a podcast on Audible called ‘Titting About’. If you need a laugh, this is the podcast for you. You won’t be able to stop.
Melissa – Podcasts: I’m quite addicted to podcasts and these are just a few of my favourites: Dish with Angela Hartnett & Nick Grimshaw, Desert Island Dishes, Diary of a CEO, The Mel Robbins Podcast, Happy Place with Fearne Cotton, BBC Inside Health and of course Movement is Life. Books: Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.
Iman – All About Love by bell hooks or The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. I’m usually far more of a fiction reader, but both of these books changed my perspective on life, love and trauma.
How do you keep active?
Maddy – I’m not so good at practicing what I preach, but I do walk. There are some nice green spaces around me that make a nice backdrop.
Melissa – I’m lucky in that I enjoy walking and can walk for miles, usually around the countryside or by the riverside as that’s what’s nearest to me.
Iman – I do a lot of walking, about an hour a day. I’ve recently taken up running and ran my first 5k a few weeks ago!