Opinion

Dynamic Duos: BMF’s Aisling Colley and Richard Woods

In this week's Dynamic Duos, BMF general managers Aisling Colley and Richard Woods share how the pair got to know one other virtually over COVID lockdowns to their joint appointment to general managers earlier this year.

In Dynamic Duos, Mumbrella each week asks two members of the same organisation with a professional and personal affiliation to share with readers the importance of workplace relationships in an increasingly hybridised world of work.

Aisling Colley:

I don’t actually remember when I met Richard but that’s not to say it wasn’t a memorable moment. What was memorable were the years that followed. Rich and I have been working together for several years, but it wasn’t until sh*t got weird during the pandemic that our working relationship was really defined. We talked more often, zoomed more often, planned for the team more often, and got to understand each other’s nuances more often.

No matter who I talk to about Rich, they always have kind things to say. Although from time to time I can barely understand his Yorkshire accent, that didn’t prevent him from becoming my very own daily consultant, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.

Yet despite similar ambitions, we are actually the complete opposite of each other. Or arguably, complimentary of one another. Which is why it works.

He’s English, I’m Aussie.
I say Hi, he says Hiya.
I’m a woman, he’s a man.
He’s quiet, I’m loud.
He’s tall, I’m pretty short.
I’m funny, he’s not…Just kidding.

He’s definitely the yang to my yin.

So, there you have it. The epitome of when opposites attract.

Richard Woods: 

In June 2019 Naked merged with BMF and while Ais and I were in the same building for two years, and I like to think we probably said hello while passing in the corridor, we’d never officially met. However before joining BMF, I’d been given the low-down of the account management team by BMF CEO, Steve McArdle. “Aisling bleeds ALDI blue” was the one-liner that stuck with me. Having got to know her, I think without a doubt her blood has plenty of BMF red in there too.

Once I’d joined BMF we worked alongside each other for a while, but it wasn’t until the start of 2020 that we properly connected. We were both made heads of the account management department and set about thinking through plans. However, something else happened at the start of 2020, and like everyone else who stepped into a new role just before the pandemic, all plans pivoted.

But that’s when I started to really see what made Ais tick.

She cares deeply about people, their development, and culture. Makes sure the team is recognised, thinks long-term, and always offers support.

I’d say we’re pretty different in lots of ways. She’s sometimes feisty, I like to think I’m always calm. She’s super tidy and organised, I’m happiest surrounded by paper. She’s normally smiling, I can be dour. But we work well together. And while we may approach things from a slightly different angle and have our own strengths, we always want the best for the agency and it’s never about the individual.

Last year Ais went on maternity leave, and I realised I’m better at my job with her around. It’s one of the reasons I was so pleased we stepped into the new role together. It’s great having someone you work closely with that you can bounce ideas off, get a second opinion, or just ask for honest advice.

Aisling on Richard:

Most memorable moment with Richard: It would have to be when Rich organised little gifts for our team during the height of the pandemic. We hadn’t seen each other in real life for months and although we talked about getting something for the team, I never expected to receive one for myself with a personalised message. It was such a nice surprise and a reminder of what a nice human he is.

Describe Richard in one word: Suave.

Richard’s annoying habit or endearing behaviour: Rich is very unflappable. An enviable trait to have in the world we currently live in. We need more Richards in our lives – a Richard clone perhaps? But don’t let that cool demeanour fool you, behind the curtains, he’s always furiously getting stuff done.

Richard on Aisling: 

Most memorable moment with Aisling: Probably getting promoted to joint GMs while Ais was on maternity leave. I wasn’t sure when it was being shared and remember getting a text saying congrats one Friday afternoon, then immediately feeling bad for not texting earlier!

Describe Aisling in one word: Vocal

Aisling’s most annoying habit or endearing behaviour: Her Zoom background. No-one’s house can be that spotless with two children.

If you and a colleague would like to submit your story to Dynamic duos, please email kwelch@mumbrella.com.au.

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