It’s time to shine a light on our sports-mad MD Gavin Willis! Gav founded Search Seven eight years ago, and right from the start wanted to put purpose before profit. As a newborn baby both he, and his little godson Ted, were treated in the Trevor Mann Baby Unit Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. As such, the charity Rockinghorse, the official fundraising arm of The Royal Alexandria Children’s Hospital and associated Special Care Baby Units, remains Search Seven’s primary beneficiary. More about that another time…for now, let’s find out what gets Gav out of bed in the morning.
What started you out in a career in Digital Marketing?
I did a degree in corporate communications at Solent University and worked as a restaurant manager at Pizza Hut (still one of my favourite jobs) while I looked for a new marketing job locally where I could fully apply my education, I saw an advert, had an interview the same day I applied, and got offered the job the following morning. I love meeting clients, learning about their story and their products and services and then formulating strategies that can help them to improve their online exposure and generate quality leads or sales.
Tell us a little bit about your career journey before starting at Search Seven
I spent some time early on in my career in advertising sales. I’ve always loved building up relationships with people, but the advertising world was ruthless and you soon had to sell space rather than build relationships – that wasn’t my style and so I left that world.
I realised that marketing and advertising was shifting online, and in 2006 I joined Propellernet where I had four and a half great years learning all about digital marketing, how to manage a team, commercial acumen and so on. They were brilliant for me, and I left with their blessing (and permission to take a few of their clients) which gave me the leg-up that I needed to get Search Seven off the ground. The rest, as they say, is history.
What do you like most about working at Search Seven?
I love our culture, and how the whole team get involved in organising and hosting our charity events. Its what drives me to do well, as having a meaningful purpose to our work is extra special.
What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?
Work is like a rollercoaster – lots of ups and downs – so don’t take it too seriously and enjoy the ride.
What’s your favourite way to unwind after a busy day?
Strangely, I like to do some ironing to relax (whilst listening to classic FM, ha!)
What’s a work-related accomplishment that you’re really proud of?
Walking out at the AMEX stadium for a Search Seven charity football match as captain, with my godson as mascot. It was such a proud moment for me.
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
Bradley Cooper – he’s very passionate and has a similar big nose to me.
If you could only have three apps on your phone, which would you pick?
Sky Sports Score Centre, Kiss Kube and WhatsApp.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I once represented Sussex at tenpin bowling when I was 14.
What three words would your friends use to describe you?
Fun. Caring. Generous.