With beginnings as a graphic designer then building and successfully exiting a mobile Wifi company, Lee Holdsworth turned his attention to video. He talks to BQ about leading his agency, WhiteNoise Media.
What is it the company does?
Connected experiences. Digital agency. Video production. We connect your brand with the right audience, telling the right story, on the right channel, at the right time.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
On a day-to-day basis, I grow WhiteNoise Media from a strategic and creative point of view. However, my fundamental goals are to create new relationships with potential clients and open the doors to opportunities for my team to pursue.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I started as an enthusiastic young graphic designer creating branding for restaurants, including designing business cards for local companies. I then moved on to web design and started to code HTML websites. I gradually realised that I was more suited to a client-facing environment; I loved working with people and interacting with key players in businesses, and wanted to sell my ideas to others that were open to listening.
I went on to work for myself, setting up a mobile WiFi business after acquiring investment. I sold my shares in 2010 after an internal buyout, leaving me to follow new dreams, having always held a passion for video.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Someone that shares ideas and collaborates well with others - including helping third-party companies. A great leader also needs to be able to see the best in people and help them reach their own goals. I honestly believe that everyone has their own personal skills and capabilities, but some people are in the wrong job or aren't doing what they are good at, and then this turns into disengagement.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Scaling up from just myself to having a full team behind me. Consequently, you face the challenge of aligning their vision with your own, but once you’ve cracked this with your team you have a solid foundation upon which you can build your business.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
My home life is very chilled, including living in the countryside and walking my two dogs with my twin daughters.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I actually wanted to be a pilot but I didn't think I was clever enough as a young lad, so I pursued this as an adult and took private lessons and passed my PPL - turns out I wasn't as stupid as I thought! The moral of the story is to believe in yourself.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
I don't like people moaning or having negative attitudes.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
In five years’ time, I see WhiteNoise being acquired and part of a larger group.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Always be enthusiastic and show your passion, it's the most infectious thing you can sell about yourself and definitely makes more of an impression than academia. It also gives a good lasting impression if you do what you say you are going to do.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
To follow what you want to do and not do something that someone else thinks is a good idea.
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