Meet the MD: Jane Rutter of Zeal

Meet the MD: Jane Rutter of Zeal

As MD at creative and digital agency Zeal, Jane believes that energy, drive and determination are crucial for great leaders. She talks to BQ about life as an entrepreneur and advises aspiring business owners to 'just go for it'.

What does your role as MD of Zeal involve?

I’m responsible for the growth and direction of the agency as a whole. A lot of my time is spent on the development of the team and the products we offer. I’m also involved in client strategy and new business.


What is it the company does?

We’re a full service creative and digital agency with three main areas of the business. Zeal Create undertakes branding, on and offline design, UX, video and photography.

Zeal Digital is our performance marketing department so covers paid media like PPC, affiliate marketing and display advertising.

Lastly, Zeal Buzz is all about getting our clients in front of the right people with content marketing, SEO and outreach and social media.

We’re really good at looking at the marketing strategy as a whole and advising clients on what they have to do to fulfil their objectives.


What do you believe makes a great leader?

Energy, drive and determination are crucial and often underrated. A strong work ethic and the absolute confidence that you know where you want to be will take you a long way.

I also think empathy, understanding and care are needed in a people driven industry like ours to understand and get the best out of staff and clients.

Lastly… help and support! I’m constantly asking for help and advice from a variety of people, you can’t do it alone!


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Managing the growth of the agency. Keeping the culture I worked so hard to create whilst growing in size.


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

Sometimes I do this really well and I make lists, organise myself, go for runs, eat a carrot… All the things you know you should do and do actually work.

Other days that doesn’t quite cut it and I eat Chinese food, drink whiskey and meet with other agency owners and moan at each other!

It can be tough sometimes but I try not to take it too seriously and always try and have fun (which we do a lot at Zeal!)


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

A ballerina (too clumsy) then a marine biologist (not scientific at all) then an actress (not thick skinned enough) and a lawyer (not academic enough).


Any pet hates in the workplace?

If anyone says “that’s not my job”. I always tell people this in interview so I’ve never had it at Zeal but no job is beneath you and we always have to work as a team.


Where do you see the company in five years time?

100+ staff, multiple locations, still working with the great clients we do now and lots of new ones!


What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Just get on with it. Once you’ve made a decision go with it and commit 100%. That and never stop asking questions, even if you think they’re stupid. They never are.


Where did you start your career?

My first job was at an agency called MediaVest Leeds and it was amazing. It made me fall in love with the industry and gave me the best grounding I could have wished for.