Our Tuesday Club Talk with Sarah Wood OBE, CEO of video ad tech company Unruly – interviewed by Maisie McCabe, Acting UK Editor of Campaign Magazine. Sarah, a self-proclaimed “Accidental Entrepreneur” – who ensures the company delivers the most awesome social video campaigns on the planet – treated the 100-strong audience from advertising and media, to personal insights covering leadership, diversity, recruitment, picking the right partner.
Sarah began the year awarded among the 500 most influential people in Britain in Debrett’s. She has been voted Business Insider’s #3 Coolest Woman in Tech, Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year, Best CEO of the Year at The 2016 Europas Awards, City AM Entrepreneur of the Year 2015, and one of Ad Age’s 20 Women to Watch in Europe. She is a member of Tech City’s Entrepreneur Advisory Panel, a Technology Ambassador for London and was awarded an OBE in June 2016.
Sarah first realised there was gender diversity issue when Unruly received its Series A funding in 2012, which shone a spotlight on the business. She was invited to speak at entrepreneur-focused conferences, which made her more aware there were very few female founders, and even less female tech founders. She maintains however that it helps to have diverse leadership.
On the subject of wellbeing, Sarah and her co-founders, Scott Button and Matt Cooke care about their culture and teams and still hold founder interviews with every new joiner. Sarah emphasised: “the best legacy for the long term [health of a business] is fantastic people.”
Sarah is quick to point out that wellbeing isn’t just about perks – although Unruly provides free breakfasts, and has fantastic new offices in the Whitechapel Building – she feels that people thrive if they have autonomy to do the work they love and feel in control of their environment. Happiness in the workplace is really important.
Sarah’s best advice from a college supervisor was “Courage!” And she explains that as taking a deep breath and ‘going for it’. She’s sure that’s all that lacking for most people and the difference.