A bit hazy on what kind of kid she was, Rachel Pyke calls on the person whose judgement she can trust most - her mum. Her immediate response - ‘little sponge.’ Rachel elaborates, “Always curious, observing and soaking up my surroundings, which is probably also one of my most valuable skills today.”
Growing up with two older sisters, she was always the one with the tidiest room. This is where she reckons her attention to detail started and where her perfectionism grew from. These traits are also reflected in her choice of sports as a kid - dancing and synchronised swimming - which require a great deal of discipline and a keen eye for detail.
Rachel describes herself as introverted and initially felt this quality quite strongly when starting her work as a producer at Armadillo in November of 2020. However, the past couple of years have served as a catalyst for the producer to channel a more confident and outgoing version of herself. Upon returning to the office and establishing herself in her own role, Rachel instantly felt more sure of her abilities. “I do thrive off being around people, so perhaps I’m a bit of both [introvert and extrovert],” she says. Other words she uses to describe herself are “independent”, “ambitious”, and, of course, “a perfectionist”. And although always ambitious, Rachel admits to often struggling with what should be classified as personal success.
After school, Rachel attended the Fashion Retail Academy in London, where she studied visual merchandising and retail branding. “I really struggled at school to find out what my passions and skills were and committing to a university degree at that time didn’t seem like the right route to take,” she explains. “During my one-year-long course, I got a taste of the city life and learned some invaluable skills from industry professionals. Despite the initial attraction and love for London, when I graduated, I didn’t have the desire to settle there.”
So, she moved to Bristol where she has been based for the past seven years. Despite saying that “ Bristol feels the most like home,” Although that stands true, Rachel finds it extremely important to venture out in the world. Doing so, she has visited parts of Asia and Australia, which she believes helped grow her confidence and push her out of her comfort zone. “These experiences have not only helped me meet some of the best people from all walks of life and immerse myself into different cultures, but have also helped me become much more independent and less afraid to take risks. Both qualities which I think are important to me, as a woman, in the working world.”
Rachel’s experience in the industry has always revolved around marketing, regardless of the size of the company she has been at. “The main difference between Armadillo and anywhere I’ve worked previously is that my previous roles were task oriented and directional, whereas I now have a higher level of responsibility and ownership.” What she loves the most about her current role as a producer is the fact that she is exposed to a range of different tasks, which helps her to understand different areas and add value where she can have the most impact.
“The first campaign I worked on and delivered end-to-end for our client in Ireland helped stretch our creative team in areas we hadn’t explored previously,” says Rachel. “The success of this campaign unlocked additional opportunities for us as a team and the work we deliver. In addition to building internal relationships throughout the duration of the project, it helped strengthen existing client relationships, which is a key part of my role. For me this was new and exciting and I loved seeing it all come to life!” A team effort from start to finish, Rachel and her team at Armadillo continue to deliver a high standard of work for promotional campaigns in Ireland today.
Because of her team-oriented mentality at work, Rachel loves to celebrate and share how much she enjoys the people she works with, both agency and client-side. “It’s the best feeling coming to work and knowing everyone around you are real industry experts,” she says. “I love the work we deliver and the sense of achievement and success when a project is delivered on time and our clients are happy. Our clients are at the heart of what we do and the sense of job satisfaction when we turnaround award-winning projects is great.” However, as with anybody else in the creative industry, this level of congratulation and optimism can’t always be maintained - and like many others, . Rachel can be quite critical of herself and struggles to categorise her personal success. But regardless of such categorisations, the hard work shows both in her portfolio and awards. “Most recently I was awarded ‘Agency Collaborative Champion’ at the NewDigitalAge Heroes Awards because of the way I work with people.”
Besides working with an excellent team of creatives and leaders, what currently excites the producer the most is the industry’s seemingly endless technological acceleration. “We live in a technology and data-driven world. The speed at which new technologies are developing is quite scary but also inspiring. The importance of data and CRM to our clients continues to increase and this coupled with the growth of CRM and the value it is adding to the industry makes me really excited to be working in this space.”
On the flip side, what Rachel finds the most challenging, but most rewarding, part of the industry is the constant need to learn more and losing herself in the details. “A current focus of mine is understanding my own limitations and prioritising the things I can have the biggest impact in - being on a journey to understand the areas I add value and where I can take a back seat so that I can learn.”