Meet the Professionals of London: Karen Lane
With its reputation as London’s start-up and small business centre, Shoreditch is home to some of the city’s most driven and engaging professionals. You’ll find a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise working away within the office space Old Street and its surroundings have on offer, and we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to pick their brains for advice, tips and inspiration.
This week we will be profiling Karen Lane, Group Managing Director at Plus 1 Communications, an integrated storytelling agency based in our serviced office space on Great Eastern Street. We sat down with Karen to find out more about herself and her career.
What are the main things you do in your role?
At P1C, we pride ourselves on creating profitable partnerships. We describe ourselves as modern storytellers, but essentially, we are a communications company that aim to convey brands stories across an ever changing, technically evolving consumer landscape. We know that the bottom line is an issue for every business, so it is essential that we balance creativity with commercial sense. My fundamental role is to develop long term partnerships that eventually create profitable results for clients, staff and of course shareholders. The diversity of roles that I undertake is huge but I guess that’s the same for all managing directors.
What are the first three things you do when you get to the office in the morning?
I am always online from 6am to check in with the teams in Dubai and Mumbai so by the time I get to the office there are usually a lot of updates. As soon as I reach the office I always catch up with my London team, take a sip of my green juice or sugar free Red Bull (depends on the day), and check my spreadsheets!
How did you get your start in your career?
After graduating in Mathematics, I spent my early years working in the UAE and India. It was a case of being in the right place at the right time as is the case for many things in life. The key is recognising the opportunity, having a real passion for something and then taking a chance.
What is your favourite thing about what you do?
Diversity. The opportunity to interact with a wide range of people on a daily basis and being able to work with like-minded people to help grow their businesses.
What is your least favourite thing about what you do?
That I sometimes have to accept that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t please everyone.
Where do you work: rented space, serviced office, owned office, co-working space etc? Why?
I work in a serviced office space. Shoreditch offers many office solutions and I must admit I love the convenience the space offers. I appreciate that everything is taken care of for me from my phone bills to my internet connection – the staff at Proper Office make sure no detail is spared and it takes a lot of unneeded stress off my plate.
How important is office environment to you?
We spend so much time at work, so it’s important to me to create a positive and productive environment to ensure my employees happiness and well-being.
Do you prefer open plan or individual offices? Why?
I like an open plan office space so that I can be integrated fully within my team and in turn so that they can collaborate with each other easily. We are a communications agency so conversation is essential! Although, there are days when a soundproofed cell also seems inviting!
If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
I would almost definitely still be doing something in media, maybe in the film industry! Alternatively, I would have set up a French bulldog day care centre with the first 2 residents as my two French bulldogs, Pixie and Raven.
What piece of advice would you give to someone starting in the business?
Be realistic. Don’t be discouraged when something doesn’t go right in the first instance as it rarely does. Be honest and friendly and respect everyone you work with, as you need good friends and people to help you get to your end goal. The glass must be half full so only work with people that say ‘I can’ and not ‘I can’t’, but also don’t beat yourself up when things fail. Just learn and move on.
Did you have a mentor?
I have had the privilege of working and learning from many great entrepreneurs, so it is hard to single one out and I do have the daily guidance from a wonderful set of board members, which is a great benefit.
Is there a motto or quote that you live by?
Be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons.
What keeps you awake at night?
As anyone who owns a business knows, it is tough and there is a lot of personal responsibility towards your staff, creditors and shareholders but equally the excitement of knowing that tomorrow is another day full of possibilities. The fact is, that if you do not wake up excited to get going, then you are in the wrong job or business. I simply love what I do.
If you enjoyed learning about Karen, watch this space for our monthly ‘Meet the Professional’ series, where we will be interviewing a new professional each month and sharing everything from what they do, to what keeps them up at night.