At the end of any job interview it’s the interviewee’s turn to ask the questions, and a recurring theme among these candidate questions is what a typical day at Monocl Strategy & Communication is like. So we decided to do what we do best and provide some insights. As all of us have our own daily routines and schedules, we are going to follow a number of us around in this A day in the life of… series this time with our Chief Operating Officer & Communication Director, Tove Bergenholt.
Tove, please describe your role in the company?
As I am both the COO and the Communication Director, my role is quite diverse and varied – which is exactly what I love about it! In my Communication Director role, I am the key contact person for existing and prospective clients, set strategies, create leads, and have the overall responsibility for all projects within communication. At this time, I also support certain clients with their day-to-day communication activities such as updating websites, writing press releases and advising in communications-related Nasdaq regulations. The aim is, however, to build up a communication team that manages the clients’ day-to-day needs with me as strategic counsel and support as well as a final quality assurance.
As the COO on the other hand, my job can more or less be comprised into one sentence: making sure that operations run smoothly. Now, what that exactly means is a different story but after years in consultancy, I am used to working a bit on the fly and solving any challenge that may appear. In this role, I am responsible for the operations across the company, ensuring among other things that the team is happy, challenged and have everything they need to do an amazing job. This could mean everything from helping a colleague to formulate their goals to having though performance discussions to ordering snacks for the office to keep everyone energized!
In either role, there’s no day looking the same. These ever-changing challenges, variation of tasks and team work is, in my opinion, one of the best things about my line of work. It does, however, make a challenge out of describing your typical day or explaining what you do at work with to a neighbor or your grandma. But here is a try of providing at least one ‘teaser’ day.
“It does, however, make a challenge of describing your typical day or explaining what you do at work to a neighbor or your grandma.”
A day in the life
Let’s take a look at a day in the life of the COO and Communication Director at MSC.
07:00 I’m on the phone with the CFO at a client’s to confirm certain figures for a press release. We’re in the midst of a so-called ‘communication crisis’ at one of our biotech clients. We received new information the evening before that meant getting complementary information overnight, then contact with the lawyers, Certified Advisor, the CEO, CFO and chairman of the Board. Discussions, justifications, compromises. Then the press release goes out. All in a rush due to the classification of the information, insider information, meaning it goes under the EU market abuse regulation and needs to be communicated as soon as possible.
Fortunately, not all days look like this. It certainly wouldn’t be healthy. But it’s also those situations where I feel like I thrive and learn the most in the quickest time. In this role, taking charge of a situation and standing up for what I believe is the right course of communication for that particular audience is crucial. It’s also a balance of knowing how to convince a lawyer who’d rather just publish a two-sentence message only they understand and, importantly, when to stop pushing.
08:45 When getting into the office, I have already provided feedback to Elisabeth in our Communications team who is writing the article to be published on an industry news site about the morning’s announcement. Also here, time is of the essence to ensure that the audience too gets a deeper explanation of the news announcement and another point of view, which wouldn’t be appropriate in the regulated press release. I liaise with the journalist and then await the updated piece from Elisabeth.
09:15 Next stop is a much-needed coffee and catching up with the morning’s messages and emails as well as chatting to colleagues on project and life updates. We also try to coordinate our schedules to cover the day’s meetings as it appears there’s been some double bookings.
10:05 I see that our Project Director Julia shared a link on Slack to a podcast on the origins of the Orphan Drug Act, which I immediately put on my ‘to listen’-list. But it also hit me, why aren’t we sharing these recommendations to our wider audience? We’re not the only ones in the field interested in knowing and learning, sometimes obscure sometimes more odd things. Enough said, we work quick, take opportunities and do not fear trying. The hashtag #MSCrecommends was born with that first post and I hope we’ll be able to create a series of great recommendations to must-read articles, interviews and podcasts that the team comes across.
11:00 We have a candidate coming in to interview for a summer internship position here with us. With my responsibilities also covering the operational side of the business, recruitment has been an important focus area the last few months as we want to grow. We always look for great talents to join our team and feel it’s a good way of helping master students find their way after graduation. The interview was good, and we have a few more during the week before we make any decisions.
12:00 It’s time to switch gears. I have a meeting at a client’s office, where we’ll be talking about a new visual direction with the company brand. We are supporting them with investor relations and communication activities on an ongoing basis and I usually spend my full Monday’s at their office to join the weekly staff meetings.
12:10 On my way out, I get a call from a communication manager working at a client’s. We have a few moving projects and materials that we need to chat through to plan timings and responsibilities. I receive an email from a CEO asking for advice on how to best respond to a shareholder’s email comprising a few critical questions, which I pass on to our CEO Tobias since it’s semi-urgent and I’ll be held up during the afternoon.
15:30 The visual direction meeting has gone over time and is wrapping up. I leave with some actions and will put together a shot list for the photographer coming in to take photos of the office and staff in two weeks’ time. As it’s that time of year for financial reports, I also take a look at designed draft for the quarterly report and mark it up with some changes before I pass it on to the next reviewer.
16:50 Finally, the day is slowing down, and I set off for home. I like to leverage transit times like this, so I usually listen to a podcast or call grandma to say hi.
19:30 After dinner and time to quickly recharge after the day, I pick up the laptop again to sort a few minor things needing minor brain power. This included ordering snacks, toilet paper, coffee and oat milk – above all, the COO title in a start-up means to keep the team happy! But also catching up on newsletters and news as well as looking at blog and social media ideas for our own marketing purposes as Elisabeth and I have a catch-up about this tomorrow.
21:15 My boyfriend is happily watching some food-related videos online, current favorites include Somebody feed Phil, Bon Appétit Test Kitchen and Matgeek by this time. I join him and a few minutes later, I’m hungry again and busy writing up a new travel destination or recipes.
22:30 During winter time, it appears I’m neither a night owl nor an early bird, meaning that I am in bed by this time. This has been the first full winter for me in Sweden after seven years in London, and I’ve really noticed that the lack of light has caused me much more of a struggle than I thought.