Category Archives: People

Robin Sutherland joins TLA as CMO

TLA, the tech platform connecting new car buyers with major car brands, has today announced the appointment of Robin Sutherland as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).

The company, which works with leading automotive manufacturers including BMW Group, Ford Motor Company, and Volkswagen Group, enables its clients to sell more cars by simplifying the car buying process for consumers, and said that Sutherland’s appointment will help drive forward both its business and consumer propositions.

Robin Sutherland

He will be responsible for developing TLA’s consumer strategy and creating a data and insight-led approach to customer acquisition and engagement.

TLA said he will also lead on building out the firm’s marketing function, owning the end-to-end customer experience, and developing TLA’s network of publisher partnerships.

Highly experienced in consumer marketing, Sutherland has held a variety of senior leadership roles over the last 20 years across travel, new media and ecommerce businesses including Expedia, British Airways, TravelSupermarket, ebookers and Gelato.

As Marketing Director and then Managing Director of ebookers between 2015 and 2019, he managed the platform and marketing transition after the Expedia acquisition, and delivered a step-change in ebookers profitability through a focus on loyalty and brand engagement.

Commenting on his appointment, Sutherland said: “I’m delighted to join TLA at a pivotal moment for both the business and the automotive sector more generally.

The growth of electric vehicles combined with the growing use of online channels for car research and booking has changed consumer behaviour immeasurably.

“We now have the opportunity via the rise of digital to really support consumers through this evolution, and part my role at TLA will be to ensure that we make the car buying process as simple and intuitive as possible.

Anton Hanley, CEO, TLA said: “These are exciting times for TLA and we are confident that Robin’s appointment will fast track the development of our consumer proposition and customer acquisition across our owned and publisher sites.”

“TLA has made great strides over what has been a difficult last year – TLA now works directly with over 80% of UK automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers – and bringing Robin’s expertise into the fold will help to drive further gains for TLA going forward.

IWD2021 – Student Development Programme

International Women’s Day is a celebration of all of the achievements of women across the world. At TLA we are incredibly fortunate to have many successful women who work tirelessly to ensure we deliver our mission and vision. This week we’re highlighting some of the brilliant women at TLA.

Today we’re joined by our student development team – Merve, Sara and Nicoleta!

Merve Ferad, Sara Elkehya and Nicoleta Oprescu

On the 1st September 2020 after a recruitment process for our annual student development programme, Merve Ferad, Sara Elkehya and Nicoleta Oprescu  joined TLA as Student Developers, working on Internal Systems, Platform X and with our Engagement team. 

Here is what they had to say about their time so far at TLA, why they chose a career in development and women in tech. 

Since joining TLA as placement students we have been able to explore different areas within development. We started our journey working together on a shared project before moving onto our respective teams. We contribute to our teams by taking on tasks to help to improve existing systems, or by taking the first steps to create and envision new ones.

We chose this career path because we had all developed a love for working with technology and having the ability to create something from scratch. The role is highly rewarding as it allows us to have an impact on people directly and see the results of our work. You can work from anywhere in the world in various environments. Career-wise, being a developer also opens up a path that provides endless progression. In such a dynamic industry, there are so many avenues to explore and learn about.

It is important that we aim to bridge the gap between genders and careers, which is rather prominent in the tech industry. Technology is used in most aspects of our lives, and whilst women make up half of the consumers, we are not well represented in the creation process. More women taking up development would not only provide more perspectives, but also the increase pool of skills available and lead to greater innovation. 

This career path provides so many opportunities and it is such a great time to make your way into it. Do not be discouraged by stereotypes, people telling you not to pursue this role based solely on your gender or let the current gender ratios sway your decision – if you are interested in technology, it is worth pursuing this path.

To any young women reading this we would say to stay strong and always strive to be a better version of yourself. Do not be afraid to set big goals for yourself, you can take on and be successful in anything you put your mind to. Do not be restrained by things that make you unhappy, and raise your voice – your opinion matters!

Meet our Future Leaders!

At TLA we believe that the opportunity for growth and leadership should be offered across the business.

From management to recent graduates, we firmly believe in equality of opportunity.

We also respect that there are different forms and ways that leadership can make a difference in life and work.

That is why the future leadership programme has been introduced, to support our colleagues that will benefit from expert training and mentorship to help their growth into leadership roles.

Say hello to our first cohort!

Richard Royes – Sales Team Leader
Duration at TLA: 4 Years
Initially I wasn’t going to do the course as I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the reading side or if it was going to be to academic but Steve straight made it clear that it’s a programme that will help you learn you put in as much effort as you want to get as much as you want out of it.
Having not really given it my all school/college etc I wanted to prove to myself that if I put my mind to something, I can do it.

Danielle Smith – Systems Developer
Duration at TLA: 5 Years
when you come into work you are mainly focused on your own role and the team you are part of. By taking part in the FLP it allows me to gain a wider understanding of business as a whole and all of the other parts that make up the business instead of being just in the Dev bubble. The FLP provides this through many different modules in the course from project management, finance, entrepreneurial leadership and what it takes to become a leader. The course requires lots of research, presentations, coursework and group discussions to feedback findings to the group. I thought it would be a great challenge as you can gain out of this course as much as you want so it’s all about pushing yourself.

Amy Smith – Campaign Manager
Duration at TLA: 9 Years
I am excited to learn more about myself and how I can become better in my role. It is a privilege to be accepted onto the course and I want to use what I learn on the future leaders course to improve all aspects of my job and hopefully progress further within TLA.

Joshua Duxbury – Senior Software Developer
Duration at TLA: 3 Years
I’ve only just started on the future leaders program, but already it has given me a big insight into a different way of thinking and approaching from an entrepreneurial point of view. There is a lot of self learning, I’ve enjoyed reading the challenges faced by Philip Knight (Shoe Dog) and Steve Jobs. I’ve received great feedback on how to improve on my presentation skills and i’m looking forward to the next module around “What differentiates a high performance team”. I feel the program will enhance my skills for presenting at Dot Net Liverpool and allow me to be a better leader within my team.

Jonny Kimber – Lead UX / UI Designer
Duration at TLA: 2 Years
I’m really excited for the high performing teams module of the course. As a relatively new team at TLA we want to ensure we’re having the biggest impact on the company and working on the most significant briefs. We’ve got a pretty good infrastructure already but it’s always good to learn ways to improve!

Graham Fyfe – Sales Manager
Duration at TLA: 8 Years
Looking forward to learning as much as I can during the FLP. Hopefully, the knowledge I gain can be a benefit not just to myself but to the TLA.

Kristian Brown – Email Marketing Manager
Duration at TLA: 5 Years
Looking forward to learning new skills that will help me become a better digital marketer and contribute even more to the future growth and success of TLA.

Mike Jones – Sales Team Manager
Duration at TLA: 10 Years
I love learning new things and applying them to everything I do so this course is perfect for me. I am finding myself changing the way I think and the way I look at new situations. I am most looking forward to the High Performing Teams Module as it applies most to me and my role within the TLA.

Future Leaders Programme introduced for TLA

The Future Leaders Programme has been introduced for those at TLA who have shown potential to become a manager and leader, giving them the opportunity to benefit from further development.

It supports the vision for The Lead Agency which is to have inspiring, confident, empowering leaders and skilled people who take personal responsibility for delivering results, building powerful relationships and enhancing our reputation for doing good in the world.

The Academy is a cross-departmental opportunity, open to all and is run in partnership with I AM Impact who are experts in Executive Leadership and Development.

I AM Impact Founder Steve McCann commented “I am delighted to be working the TLA future leaders to support their leadership development journey. Combining our coaching and training expertise, and board level experience with TLA’s energy, innovation and high growth track record will create a stimulating, challenging and fun learning environment for us all”.

The programme will run for 12 months and consists of research, action learning and project-based modules covering the following subject areas: The TLA Way, Leadership, Marketing Strategy, Finance, Innovation and Managing Projects.

Anton Hanley, Founder and CEO of TLA said: “We have amazing talent within our organisation and I am incredibly proud of each and every member of our team for the effort, commitment and ingenuity they bring to their work every day. Establishing the FLP is our way of saying that we value you and we want you to be the best you can possibly be so here is our support and investment  in you as a future leader of our business.”

The FLP is a win-win-win for us all, our people grow and develop, our business develops leadership talent from within and our Industry develops visionary leaders for the future.

The programme will also be supported by senior executive ‘mentors’ from within the business who will be responsible for elements of the course design and delivery based upon their own functional expertise and leadership experience. This will ensure that we create the best climate for skills development, knowledge transfer and innovative thinking that directly supports TLA’s business strategy.

TLA receives accreditation as Living Wage Employer

We are pleased to announce that The Lead Agency (TLA) has been officially accredited as a Living Wage Employer.

The certification acknowledges a company’s commitment to voluntarily pay all members of staff a higher rate of pay (based on the real cost of living) than the government-set minimum wage and national living wage.

The accreditation is given by the Living Wage Foundation, an organisation that is leading an independent movement to ensure a hard day’s work receives a fair day’s pay. It does so by celebrating and recognising companies and leader who choose to pay more than the government minimum.

The Foundation highlights that the Real Living Wage, based on what people over the age of 18 need to live, is £9.30 per hour across the UK and £10.75 in London. By comparison, the minimum wage is £7.70 (for people aged 21-24) and £8.21 (for people over 25) with no additional weighting for London.

Having met all required criteria, TLA joins 6,000 UK companies accredited with Living Wage Employer status. Others include Everton and Liverpool FC, Accenture, Ikea, KPMG, Aviva and Nationwide.

To view our current vacancies, please visit Careers.

My Design Internship with TLA – Adam Hodkinson

Over the past six months, we were delighted to be joined by Adam Hodkinson on a design internship. Here’s what he had to say about his experience and learnings from TLA.

What made you apply for TLA?

After graduating from The University of Salford I struggled to break into the industry, so I decided to reach out to several businesses about potential internships. This is when I came across the opportunity here at TLA.

I was hoping for an internship which would allow me to develop my skills, knowledge and improve on my portfolio. TLA has turned out to be the best possible place for me to end up – giving me the opportunity to explore a potential career path and get a feel for what the industry is like.

What was the most interesting piece of work you had done?

Now that I’ve come to the end of my internship, I’ve gathered several portfolio pieces where I’ve really outdone myself! If I had to choose one, it would be the future leaders programme. You can find more about my work in my full Portfolio here.

Key things you have learnt in your six months here?

Over the past 6 months, I’ve gathered so much knowledge and improved on my skills around branding and identity, graphics, logo design, print, typography and illustration with additional experience in UI Design.

How have you developed personally during your internship?

My core strengths: work ethic, keen eye for detail, communication, creativity and time management have improved massively. I’ve met some amazing people, I’ve gained amazing experience and I have a top notch portfolio – I hold TLA and the design team responsible for relighting my passion for design.

So what’s next?

I hope to move onto a similar role or maybe experiment with different pathways, however UI Design is my number one priority.

If you’ve got a question for the team or want to know more about an internship here at TLA, why not get in touch?

TLA Book Club: Andreas Antonopolous – Mastering Bitcoin

The latest in our series of summaries from the TLA Book Club is in. Thank you to TLA developer and Dot Net Liverpool founder Joshua Duxbury, who has shared his thoughts on Mastering Bitcoin.

Our growing collection in the TLA Book Club has been introduced as part of our ongoing commitment to support and encourage self-improvement throughout the business. Find out Joshua’s take on ‘Mastering Bitcoin’ below.

1.What have you been reading?

Just finished Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas Antonopoulos

2.What was the book about?

An in depth look at how bitcoin works internally and how everything from encryption to consensus rules work on a decentralized network.

3. What were the key takeaways/learnings?

Understanding what elliptic curve cryptography is. How bitcoin auto manages and configures the difficulty of blocks being mined

And why the blockchain is so secure and the potential risks of attacks on the network.

4. Who would enjoy reading it?

Anyone with an interest in decentralised networks and overcoming issues. IT users who want to start mining bitcoins and want to understand where to begin. Intermediates who want that next level understanding of how the blockchain fundamentally works

And programmers who want to create DAPPS and smart contracts on an immutable network.

What have you read lately? Let us know what has inspired you and we’ll add it to the TLA library.

My Summer internship with TLA – Gabriella Dixon

This summer we were delighted to be joined by Gabriella Dixon on a three-month B2B marketing internship ahead of her final year at university. Here’s what she had to say about her experience and learnings from TLA.

“As a Business Management with Marketing student, I was on a mission to find an opportunity that would help me get my foot in the door to prepare me for when I leave University.

After struggling to find any appropriate advertised positions, I decided to reach out to several companies in hope of securing myself a summer internship. I was hoping for an internship which would allow me to learn and develop my skills and knowledge while being able to explore a potential career path and get a feel for what the industry is like.

In June, I was grateful and thrilled for the opportunity to join The Lead Agency as a B2B Marketing Intern.

The past three months have flown by. I’ve learnt so much and will take away some really valuable life lessons and advice. From the day I started I was made to feel so welcome and instantly felt like part of the team. Everyone is super lovely and supportive.

During my first week here I was taught about the company’s work culture and core values, something they really do live up to. There is a positive atmosphere and everyone’s very open and honest. There is a really strong work ethic here and everyone is really focused, committed and dedicated to their roles. I have found this truly inspiring and a pleasure to be around.

Celebrating women in tech

So, what have I been up to? I have been involved in lots of different projects, tasks and opportunities. One of the biggest has been working on our Celebrating Women in Tech and Marketing campaign – a content series that ran across TLA’s website and content channels.

I undertook research to explore the current state of the industry and the underrepresentation of women in the UK tech industry. We believed the journeys of the women here at TLA were worth sharing with other women who are considering a career in the industry, so create a content plan that would allow us to get their stories out.

As part of the campaign, I organised and ran my first round-table discussion featuring 12 female TLA employees. I prepared the questions and a short series of slides to facilitate the event. That session allowed us to understand the experiences of women in the tech and marketing industry, their route to TLA and the female role models that inspire them.

We created a series of articles over a six-week period and I took ownership of pushing these out on TLA’s social platforms, including LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, generating positive engagement. I also managed other social media content during my three-month placement, covering job vacancies, charity press releases (particularly TLA’s work with NABS), employee Q&As, book reviews and highlights from our ‘brown bag’ lunches.

SEO learnings

Away from content, I’ve learnt about other aspects of B2B marketing, including email marketing, PPC and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). For the latter, I undertook a vast amount of research into the different aspects of SEO and presented my findings back to the team. That’s an area I’m keen to learn more about in the future.

I’m excited to take all that I’ve learnt over the past three months and progress further. It has been a great way to learn and develop as well as gaining commercial experience. I’ve met so many amazing, talented people and have loved my time at TLA.”

Gabriella Dixon

If you’ve got a question for the TLA team or want to know more about what makes us tick, why not get in touch?

Five minutes with… TLA Head of Quality and Compliance Kathy Fleming

Following on from our Celebrating Women in Tech and Marketing round-table, we sat down with head of quality and compliance Kathy Fleming for a quick-fire Q&A session.

What’s your role and the role of your department at TLA?

Head of Quality & Compliance (including responsibility as the Data Protection Officer). The department is responsible for call monitoring and coaching. I have overall responsibility for FCA Compliance and one of the leads for the ISO27001 certification.

What do you believe has been the most important change to this industry over the last 5 years and why?

The new data protection law has undoubtedly had an impact on how consumer data is handled. Working with high profile clients puts us in a position of trust and it’s our responsibility to demonstrate our commitment to GDPR compliance. We must be able to demonstrate transparency and integrity in what we do, putting customers information rights at the heart of the service we are providing.

What changes do you think we’ll see in the next 5 years and what long-term impact will they have?

Better use of intelligent data (tracking data) which will help inform us and provide insights into consumer behaviour. Whilst this data will be valuable, there are certainly some compliance considerations that must be at the forefront of this activity.

What excites you most about the industry?

The development of systems to enhance what we already do – in particular the way in which TLA can evolve to become more diverse.

What aspect of your work or profession are you particularly passionate about?

Making sure that we operate with integrity in all of our interactions with customers – a DPO should act as the conscience of the organisation.

Where do you go for inspiration or to learn?

I attend a quarterly data protection networking meetings which is a great forum for sharing good practice with people in similar roles across different sectors.

Which entrepreneurs do you admire and why?

Our CEO Anton Hanley – because of his passion and tenacity.

What advice can you offer the next generation of women considering their future career?

Believe in yourself, have confidence in your ability and use every opportunity to improve and gain experience.

If you’ve got a question for the TLA team or want to know more about what makes us tick, why not get in touch?