Bringing football and theatre together, Simon is our Director of Sales Operations.

Simon is our Director of Sales Operations for the Consulting part of our business in the US. A keen semi-pro theatre actor and fan of the UK football team Tottenham Hotspur, he talks to us about his career so far and his tips for anyone looking to join us.
09 June 2023
A gentleman with a beard and glasses. He is wearing a brown jumper, white shirt, and tie

Director, USA

Talk us through your career journey. 
I started out as a phone interviewer for a small market research firm and then was promoted to the document production team, which made the research reports and deliverables look good and make sense. I later led that team.  From there, I moved into project management, then again to product management as one of a team of three working on multicultural research.  I then moved laterally into sales operations, which is where I am today.

As Director of Sales Operations, the main part of my job is to turn sales into jobs.  I’m the link between the sales team and the finance team; I’m a built-in quality-control bottleneck, making sure that paperwork is complete and accurate before it is entered into our finance system. I also solve behind-the-curtain issues with client Purchase Orders and getting us properly set up in clients’ systems.  When I have time, I copyedit/proofread deliverables, too. Day-to-day I have around 30 different items on my to-do list, some very quick, some more involved.  

To be successful in this type of role, attention to detail is a must. Also, strong organizational skills and being at ease with multitasking. A sense of humour. Patience. Institutional knowledge is helpful, too, and I have a ton of that.

How would you describe the culture?
Within my unit, warm and caring. It’s not that big (65 or so) and quite a few of us have been here 10 years or more, so we know each other well.  I think newer colleagues would consider us welcoming, not cliquey.  We joke around a lot—there’s a very active thread on our Teams chat called Shenanigans—but also get a ton of work done.  My favourite thing about working here is the bond I have with my teammates.

Within the wider company, I’d say the culture is evolving, trying to make Kantar more human. There’s an important and very welcome emphasis on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  The global CEO has led a big effort in 2022, to identify and define the company culture. For a company our size that can be a challenge, one I think leadership is meeting well. I really like how frequently the company gives us opportunities to learn about stuff not directly related to our work—just yesterday, for example, I attended a seminar on estate planning, and next week there’s one on the value of vulnerability.

You work from home; how does this help you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
I see much more of my wife now; she retired during the pandemic, so we are both home most of most days.  It’s easier to run out to do an errand during the workday if I need to than when I had to leave an office.  The temptation is to work odd (long) hours, knowing that my laptop is right there, but to avoid that at the end of the day I always try to consciously close my notebook, a physical act of drawing the curtain on work for the day.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about joining at Kantar? 
It’s a big company—over 27,000 employees worldwide and around 2,000 in North America (I think) —which has its advantages and disadvantages.  There are lots of opportunities for lateral movement if you find you like the company but aren’t wild about your actual job.  Find an ERG (Employee Resource Group) that resonates with you and be active in it.  Know that senior management is devoting a lot of resources to making Kantar an easier place to work than it has been.  And take time off to recharge: here in the U.S., we have unlimited PTO (paid time off).