Welcome to our special blog post commemorating a significant milestone in our company’s history! It’s been a whole decade since our journey began. Ten years of success, growth, innovation, and building a culture that we cherish.
We want to shine a spotlight on the real stars of our success: our exceptional employees. Their unwavering dedication and remarkable talents have propelled us to where we are today.
We have reached out to our remarkable team members who have been with us for 10 years, 9 years, 8 years, and beyond, to share their experiences, insights, and memories of their time with us.
LEE MABLESON – 10 YEARS
From the very beginning, we put a lot of effort into our culture, and have continued with that as we have grown to a team of 65. I’m massively proud that we’ve managed to retain all the good bits from our early days and to work with such a great bunch of people day in and day out! It makes such a difference to your general mood in and out of work. Whilst I don’t think some people fully grasp its significance, our culture will always be special to us and what makes Mabo different.
One of my proudest moments has to be the European Search Awards win for ‘Best Small PPC Agency’ – what an achievement that was for us at just 5 years old, it’s incredible really. At the time we only specialised in PPC, and whilst we now have a multi-service offering, that win will always stay with me (until we win the integrated one 😛).
It’s crazy we’re 10 years old, it’s been a hell of a journey so far and I’m looking forward to seeing what we achieve over the next 10 and beyond.
ROB JACKSON – 9 YEARS
I’m just incredibly proud of our journey. There are so many people who have played their part in what we’ve achieved in 10 years, and every time I stop to reflect on where we’ve come from and the journey we’ve been on, I can’t help but feel nostalgic but also excited for the future and meet the people who have yet to play their part.
I joined Mabo 9 years ago as Lee’s first official employee. My first day at Mabo was spent in Lee’s kitchen trying to work while an excited Great Dane was running around whipping the back of my neck with her tail. The move to our first actual office felt like such a big step in that moment, but looking back we were barely able to fit 3 people in the room! It was horrifically cold in winter, and in the summer the windows magnified the heat to bake us every time the sun came out! We outgrew that space and moved on, and then did the same again, and again, and it feels like there have been tonnes of these defining moments ever since.
I use the various office spaces almost like eras in our history. Each evokes its own visions of the people, challenges, and fond memories during that time. In our second office, I still remember my interviews with some of the earliest hires (many of whom are now in our senior management team). I remember Glen not talking for the first 4 months (hard to believe when he then has not shut up for the next 7 years). And I remember how whenever the internet would go off (which happened far too often) everyone would jump on the dinosaur game and fail to beat my high score.
In Boho Five (office number three), I remember the excitement of moving into our first purpose-built office space. On our first day with the keys we had 3 new starters – Ste, Caroline and Chris, so we had a makeshift workspace in that office for the first week before everyone else and all the furniture joined us. We did our own version of the Great British Bake Off at one point and I can remember being astounded at the effort everyone put in, and I can still taste how amazing Phoebe’s baking was, and how terrible Lee’s cheese straws were. I remember returning to that office after winning the European search award for best small PPC agency, and the collective sense of pride and achievement everyone felt that our little company had managed to win something that significant.
When we first moved into Albert Road I remember a photographer coming to take some photos of our new home and everyone posing for a group photo – except for Tom front and centre, who kept working with his back to the camera. So we had a wonderful photo of everyone’s smiling faces and the back of Tom’s head. That open plan office brought everyone back over one floor – a metal floor (not one of Lee’s best design decisions); everyone used to type in rhythm with Aya’s heels clip-clopping on the floor tiles. But that space meant everyone could hear and see everything that was happening, so information, wins across departments, and office jokes travelled fast.
When we outgrew that space we took on the floor below us too, and I think that space felt like a massive step up in office quality. For the first time, we engaged an interior designer to create a tailored space, and everyone was blown away by the fit-out we received. Shortly after, we opened our first Glasgow office too (although that was a bit less luxurious, as fitting Phoebe, Jonny, and a printer in the 2 person space even proved a challenge). Unfortunately, the covid lockdown quickly followed and then our workspaces became remote.
The initial challenge of lockdown in conserving the business, adapting to working from home and supporting clients through horrendously difficult times is certainly one I wouldn’t want to go through again. Still, I look back on that period with immense pride in how we all pulled together. We had to learn a lot during that period and quickly adapt to unprecedented challenges.
Through lockdown, when we couldn’t spend time together in person, we’d spend hours after work on a Friday on a video call having a drink and a catch-up – sometimes a little unaware of how long we’d actually been talking (and drinking as I remember Jon once falling down his stairs but somehow preserving his laptop).
I visited the office during lockdown on a couple of occasions due to the need to conduct in-person inductions for new staff, and that was slightly surreal – especially on Natalie’s first day when her first task was to help me take down the Christmas tree – in March!
After the lockdowns, we repurposed the Middlesbrough space back over one floor due to hybrid working and also moved to a new Glasgow office. That period in itself feels like a separate era, as we’ve brought on new services and introduced a lot of new staff to the mix. But while some things have become fully digital (I love the stick Hannah gets for sending a form around to ask any question), we’ve retained that sense of community and team spirit.
In addition to the company journey, there have also been some incredible personal journeys along the way. The number of people who started with the company in junior positions and have gone on to create great careers for themselves (whether at Mabo or not) still gives me an enormous sense of pride. Whether they started as an apprentice with us, joined us fresh from university, or moved from a career that wasn’t the right fit, there are endless examples of people thriving just from being given the opportunity. And that for me is probably the biggest achievement. We’ve given people an environment where they can work hard and achieve success but also have some fun along the way.
Ten years in and it feels like we’re on the cusp of a new era for the company. We’ve got some really exciting plans for the future that we’re already working on and we’re hopeful it will help us generate new business, new opportunities and new memories to share with the next generation of Mabo staff.
GLEN BARKER – 8 YEARS
Every year, I say in my appraisal my favourite thing about Mabo is the environment in which we work but I guess that comes from our staff, the people of Mabo make it the best goddamn company on earth.
STEPHEN CUMBERWORTH – 7 YEARS
I started at Mabo in late 2016 and I was so grateful for the opportunity to join an already thriving agency when I had absolutely no experience in digital marketing. The role almost sounded too good to be true, so much so that I had an element of scepticism about it. Why would an agency like Mabo want someone without digital marketing experience when there were surely many more qualified candidates out there? I quickly realised that Mabo wanted to invest time into their staff, to do it right. Having progressed through the ranks, I feel this has paid off!
I joined alongside 2 others, and Mabo gave us that time. We weren’t thrown in at the deep end and we were trained thoroughly and patiently. There was genuine care in our training, acceptance of our teething problems and celebrations of our wins. I felt instantly supported and bought into the passion for doing the best job possible, that I had all around me.
I quickly realised that the company was fun. Very fun. Over the years there have been hilarious moments, far too many to mention, but a favourite that comes to mind was when someone on the team fell through the floor. It still makes me chuckle when I think about it.
Through time, some of the faces have changed, but the culture has gone from strength to strength. I think right now, we’re stronger than we’ve ever been. I’m surrounded by incredible problem solvers, driven and determined young people who absolutely go out of their way for clients, and each other.
I now get to be a part of other people’s journeys. It’s an absolute joy to see people progress in their careers. I’ve witnessed a member of the team join as an apprentice and make it all the way to the management level. I see junior executives who blow my mind with the quality of their work. Across all levels, the team continues to learn and grow, and it’s a pleasure to be around every day.
I’m excited about what the future holds!
SAM HOOD – 6 YEARS
I’ve been at MABO for 6 years now and that time has flown by! Which I think is largely because of the different opportunities that have been available to me. Not only through the various roles that I have had here but also because I work with such a collaborative and supportive team. The camaraderie, mutual respect, and shared goals are really felt throughout the company and lead to such a positive and rewarding work environment.
Mabo places great importance on employee well-being, recognising that a positive work environment goes hand in hand with personal growth and job satisfaction. The company actively invests in initiatives that promote a healthy work-life balance, professional development, and employee engagement which has led to such a strong & friendly workforce.
I feel fortunate to have been a part of Mabo’s journey for the past 6 years and to have seen it grow along with my peers. I know there are some very exciting things on the horizon and I can’t wait to see them in action!
ANDY DONALDSON – 5 YEARS
I enjoy the sheer flexibility that Mabo offers, not just in my workload but in my personal life. The company adapts, and by that, I adapt to the company. It’s something I really appreciate. It feels great knowing I can trust the company when it comes to things like a last-minute house viewing during the day, just as the company has the same trust in me when it comes to doing my job. That flexibility is why I love working here.
Thankfully, Mabo’s more than about being flexible. Since joining, the company has doubled in size, and whilst that growth has seen us push our services further, it still has the same level of integrity and character as it did when I joined. Friday drinks with the potential for a cheeky bit of lunch scran are still a constant. It’s awesome seeing the new guys getting on board with this too, whether it’s seeing them enjoying their first social, or seeing them try their first O’Connells parmo.
My proudest moment has to be when I initially got recognised for my innovation as it paved the way to where I’m at now. I love scoping out new tech and finding ways to improve our services or increase efficiency, ultimately with the goal to make our lives easier. Moving to R&D with the bittersweet blessing of Rob really helped start that foundation and I’d like to think it’s been worthwhile for the company.
We’ve had some brilliant times here, a lot of them are involved around our torrent of socials but one moment that comes to mind is when Mabo formed a full 11-man squad against a local tech company with the man himself, Jimmy Lees, channelling his inner Bryan Robson. We grafted hard and came out with a win, with Adam Green bagging a solid goal. That was a quality Mabo moment.
I’m excited about Mabo’s future, as part of my job is to seek tools or tech that’ll help progress us further. I feel that in the last year, we’ve made some brilliant moves that I hope will grow us to the next level. We’ve improved our amazing PPC and Social teams and expanded our services with a fast-growing and very successful SEO team, and we have some incredibly intelligent people directing us forward. I find myself looking forward to hearing Phoebe’s latest spout of creative innovation, or seeing Natalia’s monumental mind maps and figuring out how we can put them into action.
Ultimately, Mabo is somewhere I actually see as a career. It’s a two-way system where they invest in you, just as you invest in the company. You’re supported from the get-go and that’s something I’ve always valued about working here.
HOLLY SHEA – 4 YEARS
The thing I enjoy most about working at Mabo is the management style and people. That sounds super obvious, but I do think it’s rare that you get managers that are very down to earth and take into account that we are all human. I also think it’s rare to have an easy and open culture within the office.
I feel listened to and able to voice my opinions, even if they are incorrect. I feel able to perform to the best of my ability and also nurtured to achieve even more.
I have worked in lots of jobs, and at the ripe old age of 35, I can comfortably say I have never felt more part of a team. I am excited to see and be part of the growth of Mabo as I feel confident that this culture will continue.
We live our ethos on the inside so that we can stand proudly for it on the outside.
In terms of funny moments, there have been lots, the few photos I have taken over the last 4 years have not done it justice. From casual silliness with drinks after work, to bigger events where we all come together to celebrate. Special mention goes to the director’s cake challenge, the ‘It’s a Knockout’ style assault course, and all of the effort made over the pandemic to make sure we all still felt connected.
HARRY HENDERSON – 3 YEARS
I feel a deep sense of pride working for Mabo. The company’s strong ethical values and dedication to our local community truly resonate with me, and I find it incredibly rewarding to be part of a company that shares my values.
One of the best aspects of my job is collaborating with some of the brightest minds in the industry. Each day, I have the pleasure of working alongside these amazing people and benefiting from their vast expertise
What sets Mabo apart is the unwavering support I’ve received throughout my journey. Whether it’s been personal aspirations like pursuing social media alongside PPC, successfully completing my apprenticeship, or achieving my work goals, I’ve been fortunate to have a network of colleagues who are genuinely committed to my success. Their dedication to each other’s growth and well-being is truly remarkable. I am grateful every day to be part of this incredible journey.
BETH REEVELL – 2 YEARS
Mabo is by far the best agency I’ve worked for, the culture is great, and I am surrounded by a supportive team – I like the way everyone is encouraged to share their knowledge, and the efforts the company makes to bring people together.
SAMANTHA HALL – 1 YEAR
There are so many reasons why I love working for Mabo, but my favourite part of being here is definitely the people that work here. From my wonderful SEO team to everyone else outside of it. Everyone is amazing and has made a real effort to get to know me ever since the very first day I started. Our work events and parties are so much fun because everyone is just lovely, and I’ve never once been made to feel like an outsider (even when I first started!).
Work-wise, I love how much freedom I have when it comes to how I work, and I love how there’s so much room for growing and advancing higher and higher in my career here. I feel like I really understand how my role positively impacts the larger company and our clients, and I really enjoy the work that I do knowing that I’m being appreciated and recognised for everything I’m doing. For me, this has really impacted my working life in such a positive way, meaning that every Monday I wake up looking forward to what the next working week will bring.
At Mabo, I know that if I had an issue in any aspect of my work life or personal life, I would receive so much support and guidance from everybody here. I’ve never felt more comfortable in a work role before, but finally feel like I have landed on my feet by working at the best company with the most incredible people.
And as a bonus, reminiscing about our 10-year journey wouldn’t be complete without hearing from our fabulous Glasgow office!
PHOEBE HOLFORD – 8 YEARS
It sounds cliché but my favourite thing about working at Mabo has been seeing so many talented people progress. We’ve expanded so much whilst I’ve been at Mabo and I’ve had the privilege to see so many of the team from day one, sometimes from interviews to where they are now. It’s always a proud moment to see how far we’ve all come. We continue to recruit so many amazing team members and I can’t wait to see the impressive work they’ll be doing over the next 10 years!
We extend our deepest gratitude to our extraordinary employees, whose unwavering commitment has made this 10-year milestone possible. Thank you for being a part of our journey, and here’s to a decade of triumphs, growth, and a future filled with endless possibilities.