Typical 24: Emily Mackay, TAB

What do working professionals really do all day?


Name:  Emily Mackay

Job title:  CEO

Company: TAB

Location: Cambridge, UK

Years’ experience: 15


  1. What time do you reach the office each day?
    09:30 if it’s an office day with the team, but many days aren’t. I open communications and my diary before breakfast.
  2. Is your job varied?
    Yes, very. As a growing business my role changes continually as new people join to take on parts of what I do. Recently I’m enjoying much more time in the public domain.
  3. Is your job creative?
    Yes! Any CEO needs a good dose of creativity to overcome new challenges or improve on the status quo.
  4. What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
    Communicating: the vision, the plans, the customer pain.  
  5. Do you personalize your desk?
    My desk is wherever my laptop and phone are, so I’m not in one place (so no, is the answer). I think the days of being at the same desk every day are gone – it’s also bad for creativity, things need mixing up to keep your brain sharp.
  6. Would you describe yourself as creative?
    Very, very creative, just not during waking hours. My dreams are exhilarating and detailed filmscapes. But when I’m awake I’m very left brain – lots of logic and execution.
  7. Do you have any quirky daily rituals?
    I don’t think so! My aim is to be maximally efficient, so I multi-task my way through the day, juggling everything to the minute.
  8. Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?
    Mostly very collaboratively. We’re a connected team, using the latest communications tools to move information around very rapidly. But every now and then I need to reflect and tune out.
  9. How many hours on average do you work a day?
  10. Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?
    2-3 meetings a day, plus a handful of calls, then the rest is team and external comms (email is for external comms, internal comms is all on Slack).
  11. Do you use social media much for work?
    Increasingly. LinkedIn is a primary tool for me, but I’m trying to build up other profiles too.
  12. What do you enjoy most about your work?
    Creating something new, breaking new ground, being at the very forefront of something that many have never heard of.
  13. What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?
    We love music at work! When we’re in the mood, we can be soaking up some old classics like Abba, Eurovision playlists.
  14. What do you do for lunch?
    When I’m with the team we all go together and have brilliant conversations about all manner of things.
  15. Do you socialize with work colleagues?
    For sure – really important to have fun with colleagues.
  16. Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?
    Organizing diary slots, help with that has been particularly welcome.
  17. What is your last task of your day?
    Forcing myself to shut my laptop down, then telling myself off for not having switched off sooner.
  18. How do you like to relax after work?
    I don’t get too much of that, but reading with my daughter, and when it’s sunny and light pottering round the garden,
  19. Do you keep checking email through the evening?
    Yes, but I don’t think it’s a very good thing.
  20. Do you take work projects home with you?
    Work is wherever I am, so yes.
  21. What would you say to your 20-year old self?
    You’re 20, please have a bit more fun!
  22. If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?
    Great question! So many options: Lego designer would be huge fun.
  23. What device did you use to answer these questions?
    MacBook Pro.
  24. Do you use your own personal device for work?
    I only have work devices.