Busy diaries: Bibi Hilton, MD, Golin

Bibi Hilton is a managing director of Golin. She’s responsible for the staff of 150 people in the London office. She ensures that the Holborn-headquartered agency delivers the best creative work possible. Bibi’s also listed in the Power Part Time List. With the busy diaries series, I’m looking at some of the habits, routines, and time management techniques of the most occupied people in the comms industry.

The first question I ask is about the time Bibi gets up. “Very early, because I have a three-year-old,” tells me Golin’s MD. “Usually about 6AM.” The first thing she does in the morning is checking her phone. She checks news, email, and social feeds to get up to speed before the upcoming (busy!) day.

Today programme to kick the day off

I then ask about her favourite news medium. Her answer doesn’t surprise me. It’s Radio 4’s Today programme. “I have a very strong emotional connection to Radio 4,” admits Bibi. I’m told she finds it comforting in the morning and has it on in every room in the house, when she’s getting ready. “I’ve managed to develop the ability to talk to my daughter, have breakfast with my family, and still somehow manage to listen to radio.” We chat about the departure of Jim Naughtie from the flagship R4 programme. Bibi really likes Sarah Montague and approves the gender balance in the presenting team. Apart from radio, Bibi also follows different social channels and breaking news alerts. Golin’s also known from having the connected newsrooms, called the Bridge, across their global network.

Asked about her favourite websites, Bibi mentions BBC News, Holmes Report, PRWeek. She also uses PRWeek’s newsletter of top stories of the day. She mentions she’s a brand-person at heart and she’s really fond of the Pool — lifestyle magazine for women with a clever design that provides snappy content. She likes the way of delivering content and the stories being published on the site.

“My PA is my second brain.”

How does Bibi keep things organised? Her PA, Carly, manages her diary. Carly is “meticulously organised.” Bibi compares Carly to her “second brain.” Complete trust plays a great significance here, as Carly has an access to all Bibi’s emails and the diary. Hilton also mentions that her PA is an ambassador — Carly speaks with prospects, clients, organises meetings, coordinates members of team. “I get into trouble when I move stuff in the diary,” laughs Bibi. She also emphasises the importance of technology — Bibi uses the diary in her phone. “I send Outlook invites for everything,” Golin’s head admits. “I even do my personal life like that! When it’s my husband’s turn to the pickup, I send him invite, and tell him to pick up our daughter.”

Junior agency staff and time management

Time management is paramount in the agency life. I ask Bibi about her tips for junior practitioners in terms of dealing with the big volume of tasks. She mentions that she used her techniques throughout the years.

“You’ve got to find a system that works for you. Pick one technology and stick to it. I’ve always liked Outlook and that’s how I do it. And the system I have with invites is a really good system. I’ve actually had it since I was a junior account executive. I was always making sure that I sent invites to clients, so they knew when the meeting was booked in.”

If you tell people you’ve got an hour, they’ll use an hour of time. And actually you can be a lot more effective.

Bibi also makes a brilliant point that “you don’t always need an hour,” when talking about meetings. “If you tell people you’ve got an hour, they’ll use an hour of time. And actually you can be a lot more effective. Equally, there are some things you cannot solve in an hour.” She also adds that it’s all about being “realistic around what you’re trying to achieve.” Bibi is a big list-maker, as she remarks.

What’s on the phone of Bibi Hilton? To get around, and figure out the quickest journey to meetings, Bibi uses Citymapper. On her list of top apps, she also has Messenger and Workplace, that Golin uses to communicate internally. She listens to music on Spotify. She also often uses Net-A-Porter.

Make sure you follow Golin on Twitter. You can also check agency’s work on their website.

Notwithstanding high volume of workload, Bibi still manages to read books. She mentions she does it before going to bed. I ask about the last book she’s read. “Matt Neale’s gonna love, when he hears this!” She says she really likes women’s literature from the 20th century. Her last book was The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Golin’s MD mentions she’s a massive Fleetwood Mac fan. “The team always laughs at me, because I religiously listen to them.” Bibi also likes Joan As Police Woman.

Is work-life balance possible?

The last question I ask is about work/life balance: is it possible to achieve? Bibi nods and tells me about her four-day week arrangement. (Bibi has also made it to The Power Part Time List!) She says that the right balance is possible, even in the client-facing role. “You do just have to be really organised and you have to be very assertive, and very disciplined.” Bibi doesn’t work on Fridays, and as she tells me, she’s protective about this time. I’m also told that 15% of Golin’s team works flexibly. Bibi says she tries not to check emails on her day off, as this wouldn’t be setting a good example. She also encourages her team to do the same. However, the nature of the business requires to make some exceptions, as she highlights.

To conclude, the main aim of busy diaries is to inspire young practitioners and make them time management masters. With the brilliant advice from Bibi Hilton, many juniors can now take control of their own diary. The main takeout from my meeting with Bibi is to find your own way of managing time and start using it early on.


If you have any suggestions, would like to feature in the Busy Diaries, or give me a feedback, feel free to email me at kl.marcel [at] gmail.com, tweet me @marcelkl or see my LinkedIn. Thanks for stopping by, have a splendid day!