Why I Work In… is a monthly feature, sponsored by Huddersfield-based Scriba PR, where we ask people about their jobs and the industry they work in. Brent Woods, out-going chief executive of The Media Centre in Huddersfield, answers our questions.
Tell us a little bit about The Media Centre
The Media Centre —which has just celebrated its 25th anniversary — is a not-for-profit organisation that supports people in successfully pursuing their creative ambitions, whether that be starting and running a small business or social enterprise, creating visual art or performances, or simply learning something new. Our core service is providing workspaces on flexible terms, or space for meetings and events.
And what’s your role there – how would you describe your job to an alien?
As chief executive, a large part of my role is setting the tone and path for all interactions with our users. Although the job comes with the usual business leader responsibilities, it also allows me to be imaginative and design events and programmes that encourage creative confidence — allowing our users to connect and share ideas.
How long have you worked in this sector?
I’ve worked in the for 33 years — first as a music festival programmer, followed by a film festival director, then supporting a diverse group of creative and digital businesses at The Media Centre.
What skills make someone a good chief executive?
I think being a good listener is essential — and then being able to extract and focus on the key message from what you’ve heard. Put your team first, be ethical and principled, always be curious, have confidence in your weirder ideas, and don’t be afraid to fail (a bit)!
What’s your advice for people looking to get into running a flex office or co-working space?
Take a genuine interest in your members and try to understand their day-to-day challenges and problems. Look for where you can help them, add value, and reduce risk to their business.
If you could describe your job in only three words, which would you choose?
Diverse, inspiring, rewarding.
What do you most love about it?
The Media Centre is all about people. It’s the relationships that we develop with our members, visitors, and the team that make it such a unique and friendly place that drives innovation. Every day, I get to meet people who are doing the most incredible work, and it’s an honour and a buzz to learn from them and support them in a small way to achieve their goals.
What word would your colleagues use to describe you?
Where do you hope your career may take you?
After 12 years, I will be leaving The Media Centre to take a role as director of the Yorkshire and North East Film Archive. I’m excited by this new opportunity to continue purpose-driven work, helping the people and communities of Yorkshire and the North East of England to have access to their moving image heritage.
If someone is reading this and thinks, I’d love to work at The Media Centre, what should they do?
Coincidentally, there’s now an opportunity to take on the chief executive role. If you are a leader with a passion for hospitality, customer service, and property management and an interest in supporting our creative community, this is an excellent opportunity. To find out more about the vacancy, click on https://www.themediacentre.org/jobs/ceo