December 13, 2018

Why I left advertising for a tech startup

Vicky Oakes
Chief of Staff

With over 20 years of experience working in the advertising industry I have a great appreciation for it, but I am also acutely aware of the ways in which it has changed over this time. I was initially attracted to advertising because it was a fun, exciting, creative industry that was constantly searching for the next big thing. But as the way we communicate has changed so dramatically, I found that the industry struggled to keep up. Moving into the tech industry was the logical next step for me, and the perfect way to reinvigorate my career.

Chasing Innovation

In particular, joining a tech startup appealed to me for the same reasons I initially got involved in the advertising world – they are full of brilliantly talented and inspiring people, prepared to challenge and disrupt. Upgrade Pack is no exception; harnessing the latest technology to bring our clients a differentiated loyalty mechanic – exclusive access to discounted, on-demand travel upgrades for their very best customers. Ironically, having talked about disruption for much of my career, this is actually the first time I’ve experienced it. Creativity (the ‘bastion’ of ad agencies) is so last century, innovation is the new now. So, I’ve broken years of routine, set new goals, gone back to school (well, embarked on a steep learning curve!) and rediscovered my passion.

Vicky Oakes

Having spent most of my career at very established global network agencies, running multi-national pieces of business, it’s a totally different, refreshing proposition to work with no hierarchy, rigid processes or legacy systems. As one of a leadership team of six, all of whom started on the same day, we can each make an impact every day. From very small decisions (like what snacks to stock in the kitchen) to much bigger ones, we can discuss, agree and act upon them immediately. We have the flexibility and agility to respond, reassess, and refocus as needed.

Building our Team from the Top Down

Starting with a small team means being prepared to roll up my sleeves and get stuck in, something I’ve never been afraid of. Luckily, in addition to over 20 years in Account Management roles, I have also been Head of Account Management and even Marketing Director, so my skillset crosses recruitment, team building and relationship management – which all helps when you’re building a new company and culture.

So, joining a tech startup means the opportunity to participate in something bigger and to immerse myself in a world that I’m just beginning understand – guess it’s never too late to be taught new tricks…

Company culture