'Having children helps your career', says marketing chief Kirsty Spickett

Kirsty Spickett explains how working for a start-up and having children has helped her career.

I was thrilled when I was named in Media Week’s 30 Under 30 – world at my feet, all of that stuff. But that was six years ago. When I look back at what I’ve done since, it feels like a lifetime.

Today, I have two careers – both central to who I am. Having done agency and corporate, I’m now marketing director at Blenheim Chalcot, the start-up factory. And I’m a mum: chief customer experience officer to a very active two-and-a-half-year-old boy with a second child due to join the team in mid-July.

The mindset change I’ve undergone since having children has been transformational. Put a professional career together with a family and, where there was once hours of procrastination, there is now sharp focus, quick decisions and ruthless prioritisation.

I work fewer hours and deliver more impact. And I’ve grown a pretty thick skin. Incidentally, this new mindset dovetails neatly with the rapid pace of the start-up culture I’m immersed in at Blenheim Chalcot.

Building digital businesses that transform industries leans on my professional journey through agency and client-side and my ability to make informed decisions fast. I’m off on maternity leave shortly. So I’m going to have a stimulating time with my new child and I’ll be coming back to a stimulating role. But what have I learned on the journey so far?

You never stop learning

Even if you’ve been in the same role for years, you still don’t know everything. Be agile, adaptable and open to ideas from people around you – including those at the other end of the career ladder.

Work for a start-up

What I’ve learned during the past 18 months working with early-stage businesses has been like taking a fast-track MBA. Understanding what it takes to set up, fund and run a successful business is invaluable. If I wanted to start my own venture – and I’ve felt that call – I now know how to go about it.

Having children helps your career

If you want to bring clarity and focus to business decision-making, manage a family alongside a professional role. You get stuff done, you develop a thick skin and you learn to appreciate the emotional impact of real drama (I cry at Disney movies!).

Recognise your limits

Surround yourself with people who have strengths where you don’t. It’s easy to employ "people like me". But the moment I stopped doing that and recruited people with complementary skillsets to mine was the moment we became a more powerful team.


It was only after I started looking for a new role after my first maternity leave that I realised how important my network was. Since then, I’ve embraced it and expanded it. It’s easy to cancel a coffee when you’re under the cosh, but it can be a mistake: some of my most valuable ideas have come from those casual conversations.

Be yourself

I’m the same at home as I am in the office and it means I’m always consistent with the values I hold, the way I do things and the people I work with.

Kirsty Spickett is the marketing director for Blenheim Chalcott and one of Media Week's 30 Under 30 in 2010

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