We had a chat with Alex Ladbury and Alex Larkinson to find out what a day in the life of two senior account managers in Edelman healthcare looks like.
What does a typical day in the life of a Senior Account Manager look like?
Alex Ladbury: Even though we both work in the same role within the Health team, because we’re involved in different accounts, I think our typical days can actually be quite different! You might find yourself across things like getting earned coverage in media or developing executive profiling content, whereas I might be focusing more on liaising with policy makers or improving internal engagement.
Alex Larkinson: Completely agree, the core role might be the same in terms of managing teams and strategically driving projects forwards, but what that actually entails day-to-day can vary pretty wildly depending on the clients. Which is no bad thing – it speaks to the variety of work that we do!
What three skills do you think are essential to fulfil your role?
Alex Larkinson: One for me is time management. When you’re an SAM it’s not just your own to-do list filling up with tasks but your wider team’s – so there are decisions around what needs to come first and who is best positioned to move that forwards.
Alex Ladbury: Being proactive in keeping things moving is another one – whether that’s looking ahead from a strategic point of view at upcoming milestones and deadlines or considering who you may need to brief into more immediate projects and tasks.
Alex Larkinson: And presentation skills are important too, I think. You need to be able to confidently present recommendations, ideas, or strategies to clients in a way that reassures them that Edelman is looking to deliver that ‘relentless pursuit of excellence’, but you also need to present quite a lot internally as well, whether you’re briefing your own teams or sharing learnings on a particular workstream more broadly in team meetings or company town halls.
What do you like best about working at Edelman?
Alex Ladbury: I know everyone says this, but I’m going to say it anyway: the people. The friends I’ve made here are incredible – even though some are now elsewhere in the Edelman network, like LA and New York, we still keep in touch nearly every day. That, coupled with the fact that you’re working with a highly intelligent and international team, means there are so many opportunities to learn from experienced, creative, and passionate people who also encourage you to bring your own perspective to the table.
Alex Larkinson: ‘Great Edelman people’ is only a cliché because it’s true.
What are some of the challenges you face in your day-to-day role?
Alex Larkinson: There can be a lot to juggle sometimes, and as a SAM you often occupy that middle ground between senior leadership and the day-to-day account team, so can find yourselves pulled between the two a bit. But on the other hand, it also ensures there’s a lot of variety to the work, so there are opportunities as well as challenges.
Alex Ladbury: I agree, it’s a balancing act, and finessing it is a skill and part of the job.
Describe your working week using 3 emojis
Alex Larkinson: I’m going to leave this one to you as I’ve never really progressed beyond :) and :(
Alex Ladbury: 💡 🧐 🍾
What’s been your most memorable moment at Edelman so far?
Alex Ladbury: We’ve had some very memorable team away days and Christmas parties, but I’d say doing Tough Mudder with people from different teams across the company is a stand-out memory. There were definitely some people who were more competitive than others, but we all stuck together to tackle each obstacle (hilarious at times), and we did it in late Spring, so it was actually sunny and dry!
Alex Larkinson: It’s tough to beat swimming through filthy ice water and then being electrocuted… But for me, it was probably seeing the first results of our data-led executive positioning approach come in for one of my clients. We used our proprietary AI analysis tool and brought in expertise from our editorial, research and digital teams, and seeing how this took the content we were producing for senior leaders to the next level was very satisfying.
What’s your favourite part of a working day?
Alex Larkinson: I do a lot of work on helping to pull together content for various channels, so whenever that pays off and I see one of those pieces get published – whether it’s in the Times or on LinkedIn or even in an internal newsletter – it’s a highlight.
How do you stay motivated?
Alex Ladbury: The most consistent thing for me, no matter what account I’m on, is when I can see my team doing well overall, both in delivering quality client work, but also on an individual level where I can play a part in people developing their skillsets and growing in confidence to explore new ideas.
Alex Larkinson: Working on some of the biggest healthcare issues and disease areas that impact the world today can be really inspiring too. Our clients are doing incredible work in the healthcare space, and when you see how their treatments or services have led to a step change for patients, and know that you’ve played even a small part in that, it makes the hard work feel worthwhile.
What’s your top tip for working from home?
Alex Larkinson: Hopefully not a tip anyone still needs at this point, but get a proper office chair, otherwise you’re going to end up with a back that feels like it’s made of dry spaghetti.
Alex Ladbury: Making sure you get outside for some fresh air each day, which is more enjoyable now as the evenings get a bit lighter! It’s important to take time for yourself to reset and refocus, and as a team I think we’re good at giving each other space to take proper breaks throughout the day. We’re also quite fortunate as we were already well set up to work remotely, since we had the option to work from home flexibly even pre-Covid.
Did anything surprise you when you joined Edelman?
Alex Larkinson: The range of different skillsets that we have at our disposal – it’s great to be able to just reach out to someone who knows all about SEO or national media editorial policy, and get their insights.
Alex Ladbury: And that’s not just in the UK either, it’s being able to tap into knowledge from Edelman’s global network. I work with people in our offices in Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong and it’s invaluable to have their local expertise to counsel clients.
Alex Larkinson: Yeah, completely. Joining as a Senior Account Executive, it was a nice surprise to have that whole network available!
Alex Ladbury: I joined as an Intern, so didn’t really have too many preconceptions about agency life, but what’s surprised me since then has been the pace at which Edelman has evolved. We’re dramatically different from what we were even five years ago when it comes to things like digital, DE&I, and flexible working. Looking back at that evolution, it’s exciting to see how we’re charting Edelman’s journey for the next five years.
Finally, how do you see your career path developing in the future?
Alex Larkinson: Just to keep advancing and getting involved in exciting projects with different teams, even beyond just day-to-day account work. I’ve enjoyed being part of the wider Executive Profiling and Patient Engagement workstreams that Health has as well, so I want to continue to get even more involved in those in the future.
Alex Ladbury: I’d echo that, my interests beyond the client work are supporting with Operations and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. What I’ve noticed being here throughout my career is that Edelman is very flexible to the training needs and requests from different teams, so it’s comforting to know if there are skills I’m interested in developing, then the company can respond with dedicated training.
Alex Larkinson: It’s not every day that you can have someone from RADA teaching you how to boost your presentation skills!