Spotlight on: Talent Management

Sally MacMillan, Head of Talent Management

Sally MacMillan is a crucial cog in providing the friendly faces you see at all N2O activations. She is also responsible for spearheading our sustainability programme, Together Leading Change, and has successfully led the team to achieve a Silver CSR Accreditation for our work. On top of that, she has recently completed the BCORP Initial Assessment to formulate our sustainability strategy for 2023.

Sally and the TLC team work closely with local schools and charities to support the community. So we sat down to chat with her about her life at N2O.

What does your department do?

We coordinate the on-the-ground contractor assignments for all live activations. From Brand Ambassadors to Event Managers, from Make-up Artists to Mixologists, we source the right crew for the right campaigns, even when the requirements are totally out there! Currently, we're sourcing theatrical Father Christmases and Elves to bring our festive activations to life.

What does your role involve?

I lead the Talent Management department, spearheading strategies to ensure our contractors are performing services at the highest level. I liaise across the various departments in N2O, working with Campaign and Client Development to guarantee our clients' campaigns are supported fully. With work coming in thick and fast, my team is on a massive drive to increase capacity and scalability. I also create new processes to ensure the smooth running of activations from start to finish.

How do you fit the right people with the right activations?

We have a talent pool of contractors on our in-house system, and this is our starting point for most of our activations. For very special requirements, we'll scout skilled individuals from various talent and performer websites, such as Spotlight. Our assignments are diverse and flexible, meaning that contractors can pick and choose the projects they fancy most based on their skillset and availability.

How long have you been at N2O?

Precisely seven years and three months. I had to work that one out!

What was your career path to this role?

I worked as a Client Services Director with big clients (including Tesco!) before joining N2O and becoming Head of Campaign Management. Following maternity leave, I came back to lead key projects but missed managing a team. I jumped at an opportunity to take on a senior role within Talent Management, plus some special projects to manage, so I moved into that arena and here we are! One of those special projects included setting up N2Ocial, our social media management service. Currently, I'm focusing on sustainability and how N2O can continue to develop and improve in that field. No spoilers, but it's going to be pretty epic.

What does the future hold for your department?

Increasingly, our activations require the best-of-the-best Influencers, so next year we're scaling up our capability in this area and the processes surrounding their deployment in the field alongside other contractors.

What is your most satisfying project so far, and why?

I'm proud of the processes I've led that improve the efficiency of our activations, from video briefings to enhanced daily reporting. As part of our drive for sustainability, I'm pleased we've completed the initial assessment with B Corp (the highest accreditation for sustainability in business), which shows we're on the right path. It's allowed me to devise a fantastic strategy for 2023 to earn us this certification.

What do you like most about your job?

The variety is so much fun – no day is ever the same, whether sourcing pantomime dames for a Tesco Christmas Market experience or dynamic mixologists for London Cocktail Week.

I also love the people. It's so important that you're excited to get up in the morning and see those you work with, and N2O has that in spades. It's an exciting company to work for that's continually evolving and creating the most incredible campaigns.

And, finally, what are your interests outside work?

I've got two young children, so spending time with them and my husband is very high on the list. I love being outdoors, whether walking the dog or cheering my son on from the side of a rugby pitch getting unacceptably muddy. I'm a keen netball player – find me as Centre or Wing Attack on the court. Plus, I love the usual stuff - drinks, dinner with friends, and heading off on holiday!

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