Ever Wondered with Ellie Norman, Formula 1

Ever wondered what a normal working day looks like for Formula 1's Marketing Director of Communications, Ellie Norman? We find out this and plenty more from her favourite lunch spot to the best piece of advice she's ever received.

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Ellie's background

Ellie has spent 20 years in marketing working across Automotive and Media Entertainment industries at global, regional and local levels.

In 2004 Ellie joined Honda Motor Europe as Communications Manager from agency-side. Accolades include winning ‘Advertiser of the Decade’ 2012 The Arrows. 

In 2012 she joined Virgin Media as Head of Advertising & Sponsorship leading Brand campaigns and the strategy and implementation of Sponsorship. This resulted in the most effective brand communications and creatively the first Gold Arrow for the Bolt 9.58 sec ad. 

Following the change in ownership at F1, Ellie joined the management team as the company's first ever Director of Marketing & Communications to lead the sport as it grows its fan base and attracts a new younger audience. This included a new identity for the sport after 24 years and a focus on fan engagement. 

Ellie is a Business Leader member of the Marketing Society and has a passion for Reformer Pilates, Barry’s Bootcamp and classic Porsches so we couldn't wait to find out more about her.

What does your morning routine look like?  

I love mornings as it's the time in the day that's all mine and I feel in control. Our alarm goes off at 04.45 and I’m one to wake immediately with no snoozing – generally a quick look at the mobile to see what’s happened overnight, which generally consists of emails from our promoters who host F1 races around the world for us who operate on different time zones. 

I am then up and out of the house by 05.30 with a flask of coffee to fire me up. We choose to live in the countryside and be surrounded by space and greenery, so I commute in each day I’m in the UK. A 20 minute drive to the train station generally sees me pulling into London Victoria, subject to Southern Trains running on time, at 06.35am.

Mondays start with Reformer Pilates and Tuesdays and Thursdays is a 'Barry’s Bootcamp', getting me to my desk for 08.30am with coffee number 2. I love a morning exercise session and try to stick to this routine when I’m not travelling. Wednesdays and Fridays are straight into the office for 07.00am.

Where is your favourite place to grab breakfast on your way into the office? 

Having cut carbs and reduced my sugar intake for a more stable energy curve through the day, breakfast generally consists of three hard boiled eggs and a handful of nuts. If I’m super prepared, I do them the night before and bring them in, or it’s a multitask job in the morning before leaving home.

What’s your favourite lunch spot at work?

As someone who suffers from being 'hangry', I fear most not getting away from meetings and my desk for lunch, so will bring in a salad from home.

If it’s a lunch out of the office, a firm favourite is Scully, thankfully only a stone’s throw from the office.

What does an average working day have in store for you?

I’m very fortunate in that there is no average day for me and it is one of the amazing things about being part of Formula 1. It could range from being in meetings with the Mayor of Miami & Commissioners, to being on the grid at a race with Will Smith, to being in the office looking at the branding on the kitchen mugs to spending the day on a plane. No two days are ever the same, and it’s generally always spent with a great team of people.

What is the most random thing on your desk? 

I have a kitsch collection of items in my office, and some favourites would have to be my BAPE Barbie Doll – reimaging Barbie for today and the future, a Trống cái – the traditional Vietnamese drum and an Inukshuk from Canada - it signifies safety, hope and friendship (known as a symbol of hope and friendship that transcends borders to reach people all over the world).

What’s the best thing about your job? 

The varied, smart people I get to meet each and every day.

Who was your last email from? 

A colleague out of office!

What is the best piece of advice you have received? 

At Honda I had a President called Ken Keir, and the only question he would ever ask when presenting new creative campaigns was ‘does the work make you feel scared?’. This was brilliant advice as it gave us the permission to be bold, brave and uncomfortable with pushing the work, so it cut through in the marketplace and resonated with the audience.  

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?

A vet at a very young age, and then a racing driver at age 10.

What’s your current favourite campaign and why? 

I love the Wall Street Journal ‘Read yourself better’ campaign. The world is becoming smaller, with similar stories either side of the pond, people are disenfranchised, digital life blurring with real life, the talk of fake news, and media being the enemy of the people. Here we have a big, beautifully shot film that encourages viewers to read past all that and seek out the truth.

Do you have any advice for someone just starting out in the industry?

Be curious. Be bold. Be Brave. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

And a light hearted one to finish on – If you could have any super power?

Time travel with no jet lag would be a brilliant super power!


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