Edition #203 of Industry Insider is here! We sat down with Becca Derrick, Global Business Director at Fifty Digital to talk about her career so far.
From working with an actress in New Zealand on her personal brand to working at marketing agencies in the UK – you’re in for a treat!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
My name is Becca Derrick, a proud Kiwi who relocated to London almost 10 years ago. In New Zealand I’d worked with an actress to build her personal brand, doing everything from writing articles on fashion to being her stylist through to interviewing celebrities such as One Direction and The Saturdays. I worked out pretty quickly I enjoyed the brand and marketing side best so headed to London to do that. I had a great internship at a small division of Saatchi & Saatchi working on product placement in films.
I moved on to an awesome agency called ThirtyThree which taught me what a good job looked like. I worked mostly for the British Army and their recruitment marketing, I came very close to joining the Army many times!
I moved to another agency, Landor & Fitch, forming the sports practice there and working on projects like the Wembley Stadium rebrand and the creation of England Football’s strategy before moving on to Fifty Digital which has been the most exciting career move for me to date. On the side I run my content hub, SportAZ which I formed whilst I was on maternity leave earlier this year.
What do you do in your current role?
I am a Global Business Director at Fifty Digital which is a creative, social media and sponsorship agency. My role is really varied but I spend a lot of my time consulting clients on their needs for things like social media strategies, rebrands, purpose activation, campaign ideas and roll-outs, capturing content on field/pitch/track, fan engagement innovations and solving problems! I also work to ensure our own business is performing to a high standard, that we’re set up for success and that we’re working as united team to deliver brilliance.
My background is in strategic brand thinking so I always try to apply a brand lens across everything that we do. I think Covid taught us all that brand is an incredibly powerful tool and so it’s an exciting time as our clients explore opportunities in addition to physical play.
I’m also a very passionate people person and part of my role is to foster a positive and inspired work environment whilst supporting the team to be the best consultants and colleagues they can be. We have an incredible group of talent – some of the best I’ve had the privilege of working with – so it makes my job very easy. I’m also a bit of a joker so love to have a laugh with the team.
Normal” isn’t a thing in sport so what does an “average” week look like for you?
I am currently working a four day week to spend Friday’s with my daughter, Frankie, so Monday is normally spent catching up on Friday’s emails and business. From there it’s a total free-for-all. I could be onsite with clients capturing content or discussing cool new projects, finding new stories to tell or running a new business pitch process for a potential new client. I make sure to spend lots of time with my team, jump into the office as much as I can and then a range of ops meetings with the leadership team to run through how the agency is doing and the opportunities coming up.
I love to write and keep up with the latest industry news so you’ll always find me on LinkedIn trying to fit in a post or article when I can. I’m terrible at ping pong but enjoy watching a few of the team play when I can and always take the chance to grab some of the creative, design and strategy team to discuss a current project. I’m pretty hands on with my role because I love all the elements of brand and marketing.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
Having grown up in New Zealand with a sport-mad brother, sport has always been a big part of my life. I played soccer, danced and was on the swim team plus my school was big on sport so we studied everything from golf and badminton to basketball and volleyball.
But it was working with the British Army and seeing how influential sport was for the incredible military personnel that sparked an interest from a work perspective. Then about five years ago I started working with The FA and the Football Foundation and that’s where my life completely changed.
I ended up at Fifty Digital because their reputation was unrivalled, and I wanted to be part of the team! I interviewed whilst on maternity leave, in NZ at 4am and thankfully got the job!
What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?
Making a positive change through sport. I listen to Nelson Mandela’s speech from the Laureus Sport Awards almost weekly because it keeps me grounded in my goals.
Sport is so incredibly powerful for all people – it can improve health, wellbeing, safety, belonging, community etc., so this gives me the motivation to create brilliant, purposeful work for my clients, a fulfilling environment for my team and to feel like I am genuinely giving back.
Can you tell us about a time you failed and what you learned from it?
Probably in high school when I ditched some really good friends to be ‘mates’ with the popular kids. I spent a good few years feeling really bad about myself, like I wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t until I moved to London that I could see the realities. Thankfully I am closer than ever to those I had ditched but yea, that was a pretty tough thing to learn.
Now I’m all about quality of friendships and how they add to my life – and I can add to theirs. It’s steered me well through work too, I really value the relationships I have built in the industry and it’s a big reason why I have managed to achieve what I have so far.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
The acceleration of women’s sport. I really feared for its survival during Covid because it was the first thing to get cancelled but the opposite happened. I’m writing this insider on the eve of the Rugby World Cup in NZ which has just sold out Eden Park + we have the Lionesses taking on the USA tonight. It’s exciting. It’s high-quality sport to watch and I feel like things are finally changing for good after a pretty hard few years fighting what felt un-fightable at times.
If you could change one thing about your Industry, what would you change?
More focus on women in leadership positions. We’ve made great strides in women’s sport, specifically around the physical play of / athletes which is still nowhere near where it needs to be, but I’m really pushing for more women leading the business side of things too. We need more Julie Uhrman’s, Karren Brady’s, Jessica Holtz Steinberg’s, Kelly Simmons, Sue Anstiss’. That’s what I’d change – I’m working on it!
Sport is a hectic industry, what do you do to switch off?
Taking my daughter to the park, having a glass of wine with my husband in the garden, doing a reformer Pilates class, going on holiday and funnily enough, writing about or watching sport!
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Network, network, network. The industry is so up for collaborating and having conversations so always start there. The Women’s Sport Collective on LinkedIn gave me the network, the confidence and the backing to pursue my career moves and has taught me SO much.
And read/watch/listen. Knowledge is power. Read books, read about the history of your craft, listen to podcasts. Sorry that’s two but they’re really important!
How to connect with Fifty Digital and Rebecca Derrick…
Follow the Fifty Digital team on Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn!
Check out SportAZ or follow me on LinkedIn for my latest musings and to chat all things sport!
Thanks for reading our chat with Becca Derrick! If you want to read more from our Industry Insider series, you can do so by clicking here.