I'm Calli, and I'm the co-founder of Working Wonder
Describe your job
I am self-employed and recently co-founded a business with my twin sister. We use creativity and positive thinking to empower people to work wonders. We offer:
Bespoke training programmes to create more progressive, creative and inclusive working cultures
Speaker events to empower everyone to thrive
My previous background was in advertising agencies in account management. The role of an account manager is to interpret a client’s business challenges and find creative solutions which meet and exceed their objectives. An account manager works both as a client partner and an internal driver to empower a team of creative individuals to find a creative solution which addresses the problem.
What are the most important skills you need to do your job?
Empathy, warmth and encouragement
As a career coach, you need to be able to get the best out of people and empower them to be the best they can be.
In my previous job in client services at an advertising agency, interpersonal skills were a must. You had to be a team player with the ability to get everyone working together in harmony, as well as having strong negotiation skills to get the best out of your colleagues and clients.
Throughout my career problem-solving and presentation skills have been vital. Using your creativity to provide solutions to problems and share them in a way that's easy to understand (and buy!) is a useful skill for any working professional - and can really set you apart from the crowd.
Alongside this, my commercial understanding of finance and budgeting has been a hugely important skill during my career progression. In client services I was able to ensure we were providing the best results for the agency and their clients, and now it's opened the door to allowing me to start my own business too!
I left school and...
I left school then I took a job as a PA to earn enough money to go travelling for 6 months.
After travelling around the world (and having missed all the grad scheme applications) I started temping at a world-renowned as a PA and within a week was offered a full time role.
I figured the way into a creative career was to get into a company, work hard and then move into my dream role from there.
I finally made it into Account Management and then moved to a new agency where I stayed for 7 years, working my way up to Account Director level. I briefly went into the world of branded events but it was during the recession so I swiftly left and joined a new agency where I stayed for 11 years. During my time there I did a number of roles including Head of Account Management, Client Services Director of the agency's moving image production arm and eventually became Client Services Director. I think it's important to take new opportunities and new roles that allow you to challenge yourself, especially if you find a company that is the right fit for you.
I'm a passionate advocate for flexible working. During my career I've worked at great companies that have allowed me to work 3 or 4 days a week, and fit them around my other full time job - being a mum to my two amazing children.
I’m most proud of...
The creation of the Working Wonder brand. I designed it myself and my sister @Nichola Johnson-Marshall worked on our brand values and visual identity. I’m most proud of it because it represents who we are and how we bravely took a career pivot.
Before I started my career, I wish I knew…
That different careers carried different salaries - I just thought they were all paid the same! I’m not sure if it would have changed the choices I made, but an awareness would have been useful to make a more informed decision.
A mistake I made which you can avoid repeating is...
I wish I had been braver and followed my gut to set up my own company earlier. That’s not to say I wasn’t happy where I was, but I wish I had just gone for it!
So, what’s next?
I'm looking forward to working with Nichola and growing Working Wonder into a successful business so that it can be our full time jobs.