As a team I think I speak for everyone when I say that we are ridiculously excited about some of the changes happening at the moment and and some of the plans we have for our short and long-term future at Illustrate Digital.

We’re experiencing a time of growth, productivity and a hefty amount of innovation as a team, something I’m particularly proud of considering where we’ve come from in just over 6 years. And now, one of our very own home-grown team members has stepped up into a brand new role, one that’s geared towards strengthening who we are and what we produce in the years to come.

It’s Ian Brown, formerly our Lead Back-End Developer, who takes the stage and joins the senior management team alongside Melin, Margaret and me. But Ian, and his journey with us so far, has a particularly interesting story to tell…

So who is Ian Brown?

Ian Brown of Illustrate DigitalFor anyone who has met him, they’ll know that Ian is a super-friendly chap with a cracking Yorkshire accent. He loves few things more than a good cup of tea or a jug of gravy poured over some Yorkshire puds.

Before this new Head of Operations role, he’s been cracking out quality code and producing valuable functionality as a core member of our development team. However, what most people don’t know about Ian, is his strong past in management and the interesting start he had with us.

After a successful career in managing several Tesco stores across the UK, but with a lifelong passion for development and the tech industry, Ian decided to take the plunge and shift jobs into the career he’d always dreamed of pursuing. He embarked on an Open University course to help sharpen the skills he’d picked up in his downtime, having spent many years coding passion projects in his spare time.

Meanwhile, he took to knocking on the door of some of Cardiff’s best development agencies in the search of a job in the sector he’s always dreamt of working in.

Ian Brown - Former Back-End DeveloperThankfully, our door was one of those magical doors he knocked upon and we decided to give this random guy a shot at an interview as a Junior Developer. We weren’t even hiring!

It didn’t take long for Ian to progress from this junior role to the position of Mid-Level and eventually Senior-Level Developer, before becoming our Lead Back-End Developer in early 2019.

With that strong (and let’s be honest, fairly random) background in managing supermarkets, when the position of Head of Ops was opened up to enable our growth, Ian was perfectly placed to take on the challenge of heading up the operational side of the agency!

Why did we need this Head of Operations role?

We have big plans for the future.

To use the title of Marshall Goldsmith’s popular leadership and management book, “What got you here won’t get you there.”

We recognise that in order to grow, to serve our clients to even greater levels than we have done before, we need to think and act differently to how we have ever done before.

The Head of Operations role has been a critical piece of our growth roadmap for some time. Someone who could carry our agency forward and be sure to continue and to strengthen our delivery of excellent work.

We felt that time was now, allowing for someone to concentrate their time on several key areas, including:

  • Communication and collaboration between our team and our clients
  • Improving and solidifying the standards by which we operate
  • Championing our culture and values throughout our delivery process
  • Identifying gaps in our processes and creating an ever-improving, robust structure

This role is positioned to allow someone to own how and what we deliver as an agency, maintaining our spirit of excellence at all times, in all seasons.

What’s next for Illustrate Digital?

What are you looking out for and expecting from us in the months and years to come as Ian beds into this exciting new role?

More of the same good stuff, and then some!

As mentioned we’re incredibly proud of the work we do, the teammates we work with and the amazing clients and brands we work for. As a digital agency we’re continually punching above our weight and intend to continue doing so – taking on new, challenging work that allows us to innovate and produce tools and experiences that have never before been realised with the WordPress platform.

The Head of Operations role enables and solidifies the next stage of our growth as one of Europe’s leading WordPress agencies. With plans to hire more experienced team members through 2020 and continuing this trend into 2021.

For our clients, you should expect to see smoother, more communicative, more collaborative ways of working with us to allow both sides of the coin to produce the very best results.

For our team members, we aim to be an ever-evolving, diverse, exciting company to work for that allows you to do your very best work for the very best kinds of people.

Watch this space, that’s all I can say. Our changes so far in 2020 have blown me away and both the senior team and wider team are proud to continue to build this market-leading brand much further.

And if you’d like to find out more about Ian, our new Head of Operations, and learn a bit more about his role, you can check out his team profile here: Ian Brown