Blue header saying ‘Leading with Molly Whitehead-Jones featuring a headshot
Blue header saying ‘Leading with Molly Whitehead-Jones featuring a headshot

We spoke to Molly about her path to leadership, and the challenges she’s faced along the way…

Firstly, can you tell us a bit about your path to leadership?

I started out my career as a copywriter. I worked for the Manchester Evening News and then a PR firm, before joining digital agency Code Computerlove.

I spent five years there. At first, I wrote content all day long and spent lots of time stuffing keywords into blog posts. By the end, I was working more in content planning and strategy, and more and more of my work involved applying content…

Leading with title featuring an image of Trisha Brandon
Leading with title featuring an image of Trisha Brandon

Trisha Brandon is a content strategy consultant with a wealth of experience, who’s previously led content teams at Zone and iCrossing. We asked her what advice she has for new leaders.

What are the biggest barriers to content design maturity you find in the organisations you work with?

Cultural barriers, leadership buy-in and siloed/ineffective process and ways of working.

What advice do you have for new leaders who want to grow content maturity?

Hone your soft skills — if you’re a new leader, you have the craft skills already so augment them with influence, good communication, diplomacy, super-charged collaboration and…

Header with Leading with Elaine Short and image of Elaine
Header with Leading with Elaine Short and image of Elaine

We asked Elaine Short — senior UX writer for Wellbeing app Dreams — what excites her about the future of content leadership.

What are the biggest challenges you currently face in your organisation?

Remember that little old challenge content designers who consult across teams have about getting into work streams early enough? Yeah, that also happens when you start working vertically to impact work that belongs to C-level and management folks.

As an IC (individual contributor), you simply aren’t as visible when you don’t embed in a team, and the same is true when you aren’t in those higher ranks…

Blue background, image of Patricia Gómez
Blue background, image of Patricia Gómez

We spoke to Patricia, associate director of content design at King Games in Barcelona, about why she joined Tempo, and what advice she has for those moving into leadership

Firstly, can you tell me a bit about your path to leadership?

I started in leadership (officially as a people manager) when I joined eDreams Odigeo as head of content. I started and built a content team of 8 UX writers and localisation specialists. Later, I joined King where I now manage a team of content designers in the first content design craft in the company.

Before that, I was managing people indirectly — I started my career in the localisation industry as a localization project manager, managing freelance translators and reviewers. …

In the first of our series of interviews with leaders, we spoke to Paul McAleer, content strategy director at Bounteous, about the path to leadership, and the super-powers that helped along the way

Paul McAleer
Paul McAleer

Over the next few months we’ll be hearing from Tempo’s amazing members — they’ll share their highs and lows of leadership, their tips and resources, and much, much more. Who better to kick us off than Paul — an accomplished content and design leader from Denver, Colorado…

Hi Paul, firstly, can you tell me a bit about your path to leadership?

It was, as you might expect, a bit uneven. My very first leadership role was a decade ago when I was on a user interface team — suddenly I was responsible for 6 people, their careers, and their work…

When you want to get your product teams thinking more about content, or need to foster good relationships and collaboration, a workshop can be super-helpful.

Energise and align teams with workshops

Here are a few workshops I think every content designer needs to have up their sleeve:

1 The pre-mortem

I give full credit to Peter Winchester for introducing me to this one a few years back. It’s a great way to kick-off a project and find out what team members are worried about. But more than that, it’s a great way to pre-empt and mitigate disaster and I’ve used it several times since to great effect.

Why’s it so good for content designers?

This workshop is the perfect way to raise concerns about not being involved at the right times, and highlight the things that could hamper your work, such…

Meet Tempo — an initiative created just for content design leaders

Pink background with helping content design leaders learn grown and thrive written in blue
Pink background with helping content design leaders learn grown and thrive written in blue

The content design community is growing quickly, and like us, you’ve probably noticed that many content designers are now moving into leadership and management positions. While this change is great, it means content designers are increasingly responsible for hiring, people management, capability-building, operations, and fostering a content design culture within their organisation. Without the right support, these challenges can be a lot to take on.

As they grow their teams, content leaders often don’t know if they’re scaling effectively and efficiently. They have access to design leadership events and…

I asked the lovely Amy Hupe, Content by Design speaker, about the current challenges and opportunities facing content creators.

Change the world with words — give voices to the people who need them
Change the world with words — give voices to the people who need them

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing those in content disciplines right now?

The current political, social and environmental backdrop — and specifically the pace at which we’re experiencing change — means there’s a demand for rapid creation of new content.

Whether it’s changes to policy or legal documents, reports on environmental crises, or campaigns for change, content is going to sit at the heart of what’s coming, one way or the other.

The challenge for those in content disciplines is to deliver quickly without compromising on standards for content clarity and quality —…

Most companies can write well some of the time, but practically none write well all the time
Most companies can write well some of the time, but practically none write well all the time

I interviewed Content by Design speaker Harry Ashbridge, Head of Writing and Customer Experience at Monzo about writing, tech, and what he’d tell his younger self.

How did you get into digital content?

Might be controversial but I don’t think of myself as being in digital content! I’m a writer, and I think the fundamentals of good writing apply everywhere. Just happens to be that at the moment most writing exists digitally.

I ended up writing for a living in a roundabout way: I got a masters in history and thought the world was my oyster. Turns out no-one cares if you have a masters in history…

Some tips to get overcome barriers and get things back on track

Broken Lego character
Broken Lego character
Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

Sometimes at work, the same issues can crop up so many times we start to think that things will never change, which makes us tired and resentful. Getting to that point is dangerous — we become negative about our work, or even demotivated. This can affect the quality of our work, and more importantly, our mental health.

I’ve spoken to many product team members over the years who come up against daily challenges. They’re tired. And they often struggle to change culture or behaviour, because that’s not an…

Rachel McConnell

Content Ops at BT. Previously Clearleft and Deliveroo. Author of Why you need a content team http://amzn.eu/d/2j4OrHx

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