Meet the MD: Brent Woods of The Media Centre

Meet the MD: Brent Woods of The Media Centre

With a colourful history working in both design and as a music events organiser, helping to produce a number of music festivals, Brent Woods was the perfect match for the work done by The Media Centre. Now, working as chief executive of the company, Brent is a busy man, who believes that saying 'yes' to everything creative is super important. He chatted with BQ to tell us a little bit more...

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

As well as setting strategic goals and a business culture, my role allows me to directly oversee a number of programmes that help to encourage skills and network development for the creative industries.


What is it the company does?

We operate four buildings in the centre of Huddersfield that provide a home to over 120 small businesses and a virtual home to a further 70 organisations.

We are a non-profit that works to maximise the productivity and growth benefits of creating a dense cluster of businesses – especially those working within our growing creative and digital sector industries. Plus, we have Café Ollo, which acts as an onsite hub and networking area for professionals to meet and collaborate.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

I started as a junior greeting card designer but also did volunteer work for a local music promoter and blues club which quickly led to me joining the programming team and producing a number of music festivals.

My event skills transferred to organising film festivals and TV industry conferences – fast forward to the present day – and my overview of the creative industries and running small businesses was a good match for our work at The Media Centre.  Generally, I say ‘yes’ to interesting creative ideas and that usually leads to great experiences and roles.


What do you believe makes a great leader?

I think you have to have a positive and enthusiastic attitude, a real interest in and empathy with people, the ability to really listen and to find just the right pace for considered decision making.


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

The Media Centre is now entirely self-sufficient. Getting to the position where we no longer relied on any public funding required some big compromises, but our current success and independence has made it worthwhile. We have recently welcomed four new non-executive directors to our board too, which marks the next chapter of our organisation’s evolution.



How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

The simplest way is to quickly empty my head of all my work demands and get them onto paper or in a computer, where they can be calmly processed later. Away from work, I most enjoy a leisurely coffee with my wife, dinner with friends or a walk in the Yorkshire countryside.


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to either be an architect like Mike Brady on the Brady Bunch or create special effects for Star Wars movies.



Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?

I’m always frustrated when people avoid difficult challenges or conversations or don’t ask for help when they are struggling. I try to encourage my team to be open about mistakes and when they don’t know how to do something. Every day at work should be a learning experience.


Where do you see the company in five years time?

We would love to expand the amount of creative experiences we provide to young people. We see The Media Centre as an important part of the revitalisation of Huddersfield town centre, and its position as one of Yorkshire’s most welcoming and creative places to live and work.


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