Stacie Bradford joined us as employee number six 16 years ago. Today, she is our longest serving team member and an iconic part of the mdgroup family.
If there’s one person who knows our business inside and out, it’s Stacie. She’s been with us from our bright eyed and bushy tailed start-up days, and has supported our growth and expansion in so many ways. Today she holds the position of Manager, Quality and Compliance, and her focus is on helping us uphold our high standards across every part of the organisation.
Over the years, Stacie’s been privy to all kinds of company antics – from explosive fax ink to a cardboard cut-out operations manager to an Irish ditty on a bus. We caught up with her to get the scoop on life at mdgroup.
Hi Stacie! Wow, 16 years is quite some time to be flying the mdgroup flag. How has the business transformed in the time you’ve been here?
It really is! I’m trying to think back over that time at all the many many things that have happened.
The business has transformed in so many ways. I was employee number six when I started and we only had one office in Bracknell, with events as our main service. Now, we have over 140 people with offices around the world, and a hugely expanded range of services. Instead of events, mdgroup focuses on the patient experience and creating remarkable at every stage of the clinical journey. It’s almost like a totally different business but with the same heart and ethos!
What’s it been like to work in the company as it’s evolved in such a monumental way?
It’s been amazing to watch how the company has changed, and it’s lovely to see the effort put into maintaining the ‘family’ ethos, despite the growth.
Before the obvious limitations of the pandemic, we still did all we could to engage our teams around the world and to make everyone feel like one big family.
We would have bake offs and sports days, and once we went paddleboarding after work because we’ve got a water centre near us. I was one of the first ones to fall in.
I love how the teams around the world join in and bring their own sense of fun and humour. One day the US team turned up to a meeting all wearing fascinators, they looked like they were ready for a day at the Royal Ascot.
Obviously these days we’re a lot bigger and a lot busier, but we’ve always tried to keep that same sense of fun over time.
Can you give us some inside scoop into what’s it been like working with our founder, Miriam? Any funny stories to share?
Miriam is one of the most approachable, personable people I’ve ever known. She is truly one of the main reasons I’ve stayed with the company so long. Her heart and passion come into everything we do, and always has. Did you know she started the business by herself? Just incredible to think how much it’s grown and the impact it’s had.
So, stories about Miriam. She used to serenade delegates on the bus. She used to sing us a little Irish ditty and get the whole bus singing along. That always makes me smile to think about.
What’s your favourite mdgroup story?
Well, I have 16 years’ worth of memories. And honestly, there are so many that bring a big smile to my face.
In the early days, we sent out all our invitations via fax. We spent hours faxing individual invites to the sites, the fax machine was a key member of our team. And one time the fax machine ink was running out. And so I just treated it like our printer, not realising there was a difference in the ink treatment. I went over, got the ink cartridge out, gave it a good old shake… and ended up completely covering myself in fax ink. Turns out, you don’t shake fax ink.
Tarquin and Miriam really do form the basis of our culture and family experience. It really matters to them and we love them for it – I wouldn’t still be here if that wasn’t the case.
We joke and call them mum and dad because Miriam will always come in with big bags of treats whenever she visits, and Tarquin hides them on top of the cupboards and rations them out so we don’t eat them all at once. We’re like little kids going around, finding step ladders to get on top of the cupboards. That’s been an ongoing joke for many many years now.
What’s it like going from a team of six in Bracknell, UK to a team of over 140 people globally?
Like anything, it has its challenges. Getting together as a whole company is very difficult now we have people all over the world. It’s really hard for us to do something globally because of the size of the business, but we find other ways to connect like virtual fireside chats and online team building.
Obviously we’re a lot busier these days and the business structure has changed. We’ve always had incredible talent on the team, now we just have much more of it. There’s a lot of really lovely people within the company, you know, people that would go above and beyond – this was always a strapline for us as a business and a team. That hasn’t changed. We look after each other.
If mdgroup was a person, what would they be like?
I want to say like a big, lovable teddy bear. Because we’ve always done our utmost to make sure that we build good rapport with everyone we work with – clients, delegates, patients and each other. We’re open and approachable, like you would expect a teddy bear to be.
As much as we have expanded, we always put our clients’ and their patients’ needs first. This is the reason we have expanded so successfully – because we’ve seen the challenges our clients have and we’ve moved forward to help them. Our services are all designed to make life better for them. So, that’s why I like the idea of mdgroup being like a teddy bear.