This month our spotlight interview is on Emma Dallaway, our fantastic Account Director at Mando-Connect.  Emma joined the team last summer and has been responsible for leading partnerships strategy development and activation on clients such as NOW TV, Domino’s, Vodafone, British Gas, TK Maxx and Tenpin.

I spoke to her last week to find out a bit more about her.

Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in business?

No, I had no clue what I wanted to do when I was older. At school, we had very limited career advisors. They wanted everyone to be lawyers and doctors, which wasn’t me. I wanted to keep my options as open as possible, so I could find the right thing for me. I took business studies as an A level and loved it, so decided to progress it to degree level. This turned out to be a great decision as I learned lots about the world of business and found the bits I really liked.

What made you want to do marketing and more specifically partnership marketing?

We had two marketing modules and those were the two modules that I enjoyed most, even the coursework! There was nothing on the syllabus about partnership marketing at all. It was by chance that I stumbled into it through my placement year. I worked at a small independent partnership agency and they did movie partnerships. I was on a small team and had to get stuck in. I loved it, figuring out which partners were right and then making those partnerships happen really excited me. I was hooked. My favourite thing about working in this area is developing a partnership that works for both brands – figuring out what they both want and then finding the common ground to make it work brilliantly for both.

Favourite partnership you’ve worked on?

There are too many to choose from… At the moment, I’m absolutely loving working on with our Domino’s clients. They are an amazing brand – no 1 in the UK for size, great tasting food and they are really ambitious too. The team are fantastic too – super smart, super ambitious and really fun to work with… plus, who doesn’t love pizza for lunch at meetings?!? I’m also really enjoying our current work with Tenpin – we are developing a strategy for them at the moment and I can’t wait to get stuck into partner sourcing. Again, a fantastic brand, and a great team. Feeling very lucky at the moment.

Dream next brand to work with?

I would love to work with ASOS, such an inspiring customer first brand and such a force for positive disruption in the industry I think it is also in a really interesting sector for partnerships, as there is so much you can do with fashion.

What makes a partnership for you?

Mutual benefit. It all boils down to every partner realising that if they work together for mutual benefit the results will be amazing. The sum of their efforts and abilities is greater than the parts.

What’s your go-to productivity trick and are you more productive in the morning or afternoon/evening?

I’m definitely a morning person, much more focussed. The trick that I’ve used for years and still do, is to do the thing that you are putting off the most, first. Just get it out the way and the rest of the day will flow.

What’s a mistake you made early on in your career, and what did you learn from it?

I’ve always found it difficult to ask for help and fell foul of that in my early years. Working in an agency sometimes you feel like you just have to be able to do everything, say yes to everything and just find some way of getting it done. I learnt that it’s not the best way of getting things done. It’s not a weakness to ask for help, it can be an opportunity to learn from people and get their point of view on how they would respond to a situation.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?

I often turn to my dad about work. One piece of advice he gave me that really stuck with me was “make sure you always give a damn”. Whatever it is, no matter how big or small it is make sure you care about it. If you care about things, people will remember you for it.

If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be?

I would love to be fluent in a language – Spanish. I took it to A level, but I haven’t kept it up since then and it’s all gone out of my head. I really regret that.

Who inspires you?

This is probably slightly more work related but I feel really lucky in my career to have worked in a lot of agencies that have really strong female leadership and female leadership teams. Mando and Mando-Connect are perfect examples of that. It’s inspiring from a work perspective but also a life perspective. It’s nice to see that women can have an amazing career but also have a family – you don’t have to choose. The balance is shifting and it’s nice to see.

Where is your favourite place in the world and why?

A little town in Spain called Javea. The old town is beautiful, and the front is lovely too. It’s probably a combination of being there quite a few times on holiday with my family and my boyfriend. And of course, it has the sun and the beach – drink in hand.

What was the last book you read/what are you reading right now?

The last book I read was “This is going to hurt” by Adam Kay. It was really funny, it’s his diaries from when he was a junior doctor. It’s funny and horrifying in equal measure. I’m reading a book at the moment called “Top dog” and it’s by a Swedish author, and it’s more a crime book. It’s really gripping, and I get lost in it.

What’s one of your favourite memories from last year?

I went to Iceland earlier this year and saw the northern lights. It was just incredible.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

I once had a birthday cake made by Mary Berry. My boyfriend was working on The Great British Bake Off at the time and he went and got a shop bought cake for my birthday which he was going to decorate. Mary Berry saw this and said, “You can’t give her that” and she baked me a Victoria Sponge cake.

If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick any why?

Whatsapp – because it is the only way I can communicate with all of my family at the same time. I would also have Pinterest, it’s such a good way to waste time on the train. It acts as inspiration. The final one would be ASOS, I love building a shopping basket that I don’t have the money to buy.