Winner: Sarah Wood
Turnover 2010: £1.8m
Turnover 2011: £5.9m
At just 38, Sarah Wood has already had an inspiring career. Having graduated from Cambridge with first class honours, she stayed on at the university to complete an MPhil in American Literature; later receiving a PhD from University College London. She applied this love of the arts to a role at The Old Vic Theatre, before developing her leadership skills as a lecturer at the University of Sussex.
She is well placed then to direct her team as Chief Operations Officer of Unruly – the social video advertising agency she co-founded with Scott Button and Matt Cooke in 2006. With a mission to get branded video content watched and shared via YouTube, Facebook and influential blogs, Unruly no doubt has happy customers after the success of the Compare the Market (Meerkat), Old Spice and Evian ‘Roller Babies’ advertisements.
In just five years, Wood has grown the organisation from a three-person, zero-turnover operation to the world’s leading social video platform – occupying a 40% market share. Unruly’s sales have tripled in the last year alone, and are set to achieve the same feat in 2012, with a forecast turnover of £17.8m. Furthermore, staff numbers have grown by 400% in the last three years.
On being a role model for her other female staff, Wood says:
“We have a lot of women in our business, all working incredibly hard to pull out the stops and deliver the most awesome social video campaigns on the planet. We love the work that we do – we build a lot of fun into it and around it. Fun is at the essence of what we do.
But that is not to say that Unruly's team is not ambitious:
“There are several territories that we have earmarked for expansion over the next few years. We plan on continuing to deliver amazing campaigns. The whole category is growing. Social video is exploding and we hope to be there at the forefront, leading the way as the industry grows.”
Judges' comments: Sarah Wood is an inspirational female entrepreneur who, with her two co-founders, has built one of the foremost global players in online video advertising. Sarah’s commitment to continuous rapid innovation has been reflected in sales growing five times over in two years, with them tripling in the last year alone. As well as developing initiatives within the company to coach & inspire female staff to achieve their full potential she also regularly speaks at local colleges & universities to inspire young entrepreneurs.