My Journey To Spark: Charlotte Wand
Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do at Spark?
I’m Charlotte, the Ops & Finance Manager at Spark. I have been here almost three years and love it. My role involves wearing many hats as I sit across both Client Services and Studio.
Key elements of my role are planning studio resources (which can be like a very complicated game of Tetris!), to managing Spark’s finances and being primary contact for all trusted partners and suppliers.
On top of this, I am also HR for the team, and handle everything from holiday booking, appraisals and setting up PDPs, to looking after the welfare of the team.
What’s the best thing about working in the creative industry space?
I grew up in a very creative family – my parents were in computer game design (my step-dad worked on some games you will have heard of), one of my brothers builds the courses for JYG and one of my sister-in-laws is an artist and curator in Iceland.
I love being surrounded by creative people. I especially love small teams, where you do get to know each other really well.
Tell us a bit about life before Spark.
I have always worked within the arts or creative industries. But my talents have always been organisation and numbers!
Previous roles included working across various galleries and historic buildings in Manchester – meaning I got to explore the hidden treasures in The Gallery of Costume, Wythenshawe Hall and Fletcher Moss to name a few.
In terms of other agencies, I spent several years working for the great teams at Creative Tourist and Hemisphere Design & Marketing.
What has been your career highlight to date?
After completing the Mental Health at Work course, I wanted to make sure we were doing the best for our team. I have seen so many people struggle in this industry due to the pace and the stress, and wanted to create a workplace that is proactive in supporting their team.
At the start of this year, I introduced wellness days to Spark. The team has 2 (paid) days they can take when they are feeling overwhelmed. We are a quarter through the year, and results so far are showing a happy team who are confident that we will take these issues seriously.
As it’s Mental Health Awareness Week – have you ever experienced any mental health struggles and how does it impact you work and lifestyle?
During COVID, I was really struggling balancing work, selling / buying a house and being a single parent to a teenager trying to do his GCSEs remotely. I didn’t talk to anyone about how much pressure and stress I was going through. I just accepted more and more work, until one morning it all seemed too much and I literally had a breakdown. I was officially burned out.
It was an awful period in my life, and not one I would want anyone to go through alone. It is what spurred me into getting the Mental Health at Work certificate.
What support did you receive and what coping mechanisms work for you?
I was on medication for just over 18 months, and very lucky that my local mental health team rushed my placement through and I received months of CBT.
Neil (the owner and Managing Director at Creative Spark) was amazing and understanding when I was signed off work. He made sure I was given time to recover properly. I honestly believe that without his support my recovery would have taken a great deal longer.
Tell us an unpopular opinion:
Pizza is not in my top 10 favourite foods. It’s too basic!
Do you have any party tricks?
I am brilliant at Scrabble. It’s probably one of the only things I get competitive about. My knowledge of acceptable 2 letter words is ridiculous!
If you’re interested in finding out more about how Charlotte can help your brand, want to talk about mental health, or just want to challenge her at Scrabble, get in touch!