Alumni profile: Jodie Cook, BA Business Management, 2010

— 11.09.15

by Jody Dalton

Interview May 2015

As well as running a successful social media agency, JC Social media, Jodie Cook (previously Jodie Cole), along with her husband, is also the co-founder of Clever Tykes, a series of children’s storybooks that introduce children to positive entrepreneurial role models, to inspire them to have a career they love when they grow up.

Now based in Birmingham, Jodie still finds the time to visit Sheffield regularly, and has even delivered guest talks to Management Students as part of the BA Business Management programme modules.

After making the transition from a business management degree to real life business management in just a year, Jodie believes that the life experience of university – learning about time management and to how push yourself to achieve – as well as a sound background in business principles, all helped prepare her for a successful career running a social media agency. We spoke to Jodie about how far she has come since graduating from Sheffield in 2010…

How did JC Social media come about?
After I finished my course at Sheffield, I managed to secure a place on a graduate scheme for the National Skills Academy for Social Care. During the next year I worked in the marketing department of Sheffcare, the Sheffield-based residential care home company that I was placed with. I also spent time overseeing some charity projects, which involved raffling off prizes from local businesses to fund the renovation of a care home garden into a sensory garden to benefit the residents – social media being one of the main tools is used on these projects. This experience taught me a lot about how I wanted to shape my career and gave me an insight into how social media might work for businesses.

The day after my graduate scheme ended, I founded JC Social Media!

So what’s a typical day like for you?
I go to the gym first thing in the morning then head into the office straight after. Most weeks involve meetings with clients or prospects, talking through ideas with the team, doing talks for universities and associations, and overseeing company processes. Within the company I focus on the overall strategy and new ways of working. My team consists of brilliant, resourceful account managers and sales people.

Within my week I also focus on personal development. I watch a lot of TED Talks and have recently finished books including Arianna Huffington’s ‘Thrive’ and Paul McKenna’s ‘I can make you sleep’. I am always looking to learn more about ways of working and living, to become a better version of myself. I don’t have trouble sleeping but since reading Paul McKenna’s book my sleep has been much better! The lesson is that even if you think you have something sorted; you can always learn more about it, which is what I try to do.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really enjoy overseeing and being involved in every part of the company, including being able to teach others and lead by example. Seeing a team member receive great feedback from a client makes me very happy, as does meeting young entrepreneurs who are passionate about their field of business.

What would you consider as the highlights of your career so far?

  • Securing JC Social Media’s first client on enthusiasm only, no experience!
  • Winning Birmingham Young Professional of the Year (BYPY) 2014.
  • Visiting Downing Street to discuss enterprise education with Lord Young.
  • Being on the cover of summer 2014’s Business Quarterly (BQ) magazine.

What are your top three tips for gaining social media success?

  1. Look to add value wherever possible: aim to make someone smile, laugh, think, share – rather than overtly selling.
  2. Think before you post! Ask yourself if there is anyone who you wouldn’t want to see what you are about to send out. If there is, don’t post it!
  3. Chat, ask questions and don’t be afraid to jump in on conversations – that’s the fun of it!

What do you remember most about your time at Sheffield?
I was a keen member of the fantastic athletics and cross-country team, and I remember travelling ridiculous distances to run ridiculously long distances in the freezing cold! Afterwards we’d have a well-deserved celebratory meal at Interval!

What are your plans for the future?

  • Securing a national sponsor for Clever Tykes – at the moment we are looking for company sponsors for enterprise education storybooks and resources into all 17,000 primary schools in the UK.
  • Continue to grow JC Social Media. We are now approaching our 4 year anniversary and aiming to be thought-leaders in the field, whilst continuing to achieve great results for our clients.
  • Become a bestselling author! My book #Winning at Social Media, about social media interaction is now available on Amazon in the Kindle store

And something I would really like to do…
Travel the world. I have just come back from 5 weeks remote-working in Sydney and Melbourne. The beauty of the super connected digital world we live in is that you don’t have to be physically next to people to work well with them and keep communication high, even with an 11-hour time difference!

Find out more about Jodie and her work here.


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