James ((2) James Lovell | LinkedIn) is one of the OG TAMLO team members, having been there since its inception. Over the years, he’s helped turn it into the successful and progressive agency it is today.
As a consultant - and previously TAMLO’s managing director - James wears several hats.
‘My main function’, he explains, ‘is leading the team and driving business forward in terms of our short and long-term strategy. But I also get my hands dirty with creative stuff too! I’m a writer, so I help out with the copy and write articles for some of our clients.’
James is one of those unicorns who excels in both the arts and sciences. Having studied English, maths and economics at A-level - and then philosophy at university - managing both the financial operations and creative tasks at TAMLO comes naturally.
‘I’m good with numbers but I also really love being creative. Honestly, English was my real passion. I love reading and writing.’
After university, like most recent grads (and many non-recent ones), James confesses he didn’t know what he wanted to do. However, he did know that he was ready to sink his teeth into something and promptly landed himself a place on ITV’s graduate scheme in London.
‘I thought, TV sounds interesting! So I applied and was fortunate enough to get it!’ laughs James. ‘It was great, I spent two years moving around different departments. I did sales, marketing, a bit on the digital platforms side, a bit on the technical and trading side.’
It was with digital platforms that sparked something in James - and subsequently paved the way for his career. ‘I knew then I wanted to work fully in digital. So, I needed something completely different.’
Next stop, Pulsar, the social listening platform. But it wasn’t quite the easy transition James had hoped for. Taking on a sales role, he quickly found himself outside of his comfort zone and remembers the beginning being ‘really tough.’
‘It was all cold calling, targets, high pressure, bravado! It was quite a rude awakening! But I was determined and thought, “no, I’m going to work out how to do this.” And I did, and I progressed.
‘I realised, though, that it wasn't the sales element that I really enjoyed. It was the research elements, working with the platform and with the information, that I found the most rewarding.’
James’s passion for digital is clear. He waxes lyrical about Pulsar’s technology - and still uses it today, after introducing the platform to TAMLO.
His move to TAMLO was the result of a fortuitous meeting and a blossoming friendship.
‘While I was at Pulsar’ James recalls, ‘Yuichi came in for a meeting and we just hit it off straight away. We both had the same interests. It was really nice - you don’t really expect to make a friend that way!
We formed this great working relationship and when I told him I was leaving Pulsar, he was like “What? How am I going to work with you? We need to make sure we work together!”’
And that’s exactly what they did. Initially, Yuichi took James on as a small-time freelancer for his fledgling business. But gradually he became more and more involved with TAMLO.
‘It was more of a working friendship, or business partners, rather than boss and employee’, remembers James. ‘He never said he was managing me. I just said yes to more and more work and then I asked him “Can I have a full time role?” And he said, “Sure!”. So it all happened very organically.’
Fast forward to now and James is happy and humble in his role at TAMLO. Despite being very accomplished himself (he’s just received a scholarship to study an MBA at Trinity College Dublin), James explains: ‘One of the reasons I love TAMLO is that I love working with people that are so much smarter than me in so many ways! That is a joy. When it comes to design, I know something looks cool, but when I look at what Anna creates I’m just like wow!’
The ever-positive James is unphased by the fact he’ll soon be juggling an MBA with a full-time job, but perhaps this is due to the encouraging culture at TAMLO. ‘Yuichi is all about development and learning. Even if it’s something like taking a language class, TAMLO will pay for that. Our tagline is “culture connectors” after all.’
. . .
James’s biggest piece of career advice? To keep creating.
‘For me, there are two parts to feeling rewarded in my career. One is being part of something bigger than me and being part of that team. The other is to always be creating something new.’