My Media Week: Kate Burns

Kate Burns: GM Europe at BuzzFeed
Kate Burns: GM Europe at BuzzFeed

We catch up with Kate Burns, general manager, Europe at BuzzFeed, during the week the US media company announces its joint venture with Yahoo Japan.

Monday

Waking up at 6.15am feels even earlier than that, especially as I flew back from Ibiza with the family yesterday. I leave a slumbering household (the kids are still on summer holiday) for the 7.30 train to Charing Cross.

As I live in Kent, near Tunbridge Wells, my train journey is a long one, allowing me some precious time to catch up on emails, admin and reading (as well as a little snooze). I arrive at the office just before 9am, always a little hot and bothered after a fast walk from the station.

Monday mornings consist of my business meeting for the whole group, followed by our commercial meetings. These gatherings help my team and I get set up for the coming week, as well as recap on successes from the previous.

The pace at BuzzFeed is blinding. It never fails to amaze me how quickly we move and how much is done in a week.

Today, I am going back to my old employer Google for a spot of lunch with Yonca Brunini, VP Marketing EMEA. It's so great to see her and I run in to a few members of my old Google team. Yonca and I have a good chat, catching up on family, social and business. A lot can be covered off in an hour.

I rush back to the office for series of BuzzFeed team meetings.

Greg Coleman BuzzFeed president, and I catch up over VC (our HQ is in NYC). We have a busy and exciting week of announcements, so we run through logistics.

My day ends with a series of 1:1s with my team.  I'm pretty religious keeping these sessions in the diary, they are so valuable for me and for them.

I realise we have no food at home due to our holiday so a glamorous evening of grocery shopping awaits. My husband, Stev, is an artist and traditional sign writer so works from home. After a day with the kids. he is very happy to see me indeed. We drag ourselves around Waitrose with my two children Josie and Logan full of beans.

I have a final check of emails in bed – telly on. When LA and the Rest of World wake up my emails do too. Great news. The announcement of our JV with Yahoo Japan has just hit the wire. It's going to be a busy day tomorrow for sure. 

Tuesday

I give myself a 15 minute lie in – knowing it's going to be a late one at the office.

Usual rush to the station followed by catching up on my emails and the subsequent media commentary of our new launch in Japan.  

I’m thrilled for the BuzzFeed business development and international teams who having been working for many months on this deal. Japan is a huge step in our international expansion and this partnership is a smart and significant one.

To the office just after 9 for a succession of 1:1s with my team followed by a Strategic Partnership meeting where I gather my reports to discuss regional strategy for one of our branded content partnerships.

Lunch is at the Berners Tavern with my old friend and colleague Marco Bertozzi, the president, global clients, at Vivaki. We have known each other for many, many years so conversation is always a mix of catching up – and debating our businesses.

I come back to the office just in time for our second major announcement – NBC Universal has invested $200m in BuzzFeed.

All employees are invited to a Town Hall over VC where Jonah Peretti (our CEO) shares his thoughts and vision around the last two announcements and also invites questions from the team.  

Working in a remote office these sessions are culturally so important for the international teams to feel included. The "All Hands" runs extremely well, with all of us feeling excited about our new partners.

It's still all go and from here I dial into Greg Coleman’s team meeting for the next couple of hours.  There’s lots of exciting stuff to talk about today – the meeting is an energetic one.

It's 8.30pm by the time I finish and get on the train home. I'm starving so grab a take away dinner from M&S and eat it on the train.

By the time I get home the kids are in bed and Steve is snoring. 

Wednesday

 Not asleep long enough before I'm up early (5.45am) for my breakfast meeting with Guy Weink, the UK and Nordics managing director of Publicis. En route I pick up on loads of great coverage of yesterday’s events. 

Guy and I have a very lively chat about our industry and clients, and share stories around growing and restructuring teams. Delicious food and good company is a good way to start my day.

Back to the office for a series of internal meetings but I manage to escape at 12 for my weekly Pilates class. It's the one hour a week I try to religiously keep especially after a week’s holiday in Ibiza, which has left me feeling very old and stiff.

Back to the office energised and refreshed, I spend the afternoon on calls to the US planning our IAB Upfronts event in October, our preparing for our Quarterly Business Review next week.

I leave the office "on time" tonight as I decide to take my 7pm calls from home. It feels like ages since I've seen my husband and kids properly!

I do my calls while cooking dinner and eventually sit down and have a meal with my family.

My husband has managed to do all our family holiday washing (bless him), there is a mountain of it stacked in piles. So I tackle this, whilst chatting to my daughter about her day at the stables. She is a budding horsewoman.

Finally hit the sack at 11pm, before checking emails of course.

Thursday

6.15am feels like a lie in after yesterday, then a good work-commute session writing up employees’ mid-year reviews.

Hot and bothered after my power walk,  I settle down to my morning with the team. I always have my office door open if I don’t have meetings, which means I usually have a stream of discussions during the day. It’s an unwritten rule I abide by. I hate receiving emails from a person who is sitting next to me.

I am taken out to lunch by two members of the Creston Unlimited team (I am a non-executive director). I really enjoy my non-exec position with Creston, it is truly, a mutually beneficial relationship.  

Back to the office for a conference call with our CMO Frank Cooper. BuzzFeed UK is entering in to a frantic and exciting quarter of events and launches. Frank and I discuss and agree venues, themes and next steps. I'm so looking forward to hosting our first major launch party in a couple of weeks.

Back to a mountain of emails and eventually catch a later train than expected. Happy to be home. I make a quick dinner for everyone, straighten my daughters’ hair and get them both to bed at 9pm. We all have an early day tomorrow.

Friday

I have the pleasure of waking the whole family up (including dogs). Josie and Logan are coming in to work with me for the morning.

It's hard for me to balance child care but we take opportunities like this when we can. The kids love coming in to work with me. They are at an age when iPads rule, and also BuzzFeed is a pretty cool place to work.

The kids make a bee-line for the kitchen to stock up on sweets, crisps, juice etc  – and then plug in to iPads and headphones.

I have a busy morning of team meetings, and one to ones, as well as reading through my team weekly reports.

We summarise the week’s successes in a wrap up email to US HQ and from there I start to work on the following week’s main priorities and "to do’s", largely prep and presentation for another week of strategic client presentations/preparation.

My husband arrives in town early afternoon and after filling their swag bags with BuzzFeed merchandise my kids drag us to M&M World.

It's been another busy but extremely exciting week at BuzzFeed – I’m wondering if my weekend will allow me some time to charge my batteries? Probably not.

Age: 42
Favourite media: Cinema
My biggest inspiration: My dad
Dream job: Professional race driver of any discipline
Not a lot of people know this about me: I compete at National level in both dressage and showjumping

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