A Day In the Life: Charles Mills, Manager, Quality Control
Welcome to A Day In The Life — a series dedicated to showcasing the ethos of an Indexer. This month, we sat down (virtually) with Charles Mills — Manager, Quality Control at Index Exchange and a sax player outside of the office — to discuss the ways in which he’s watched Index evolve and the parallels between jazz and quality control.
We’ll start at the top. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself? What’s your role at Index?
I’m a manager on the Quality Control (QC) Team, specifically working on audit and activation. We handle rejected campaigns (e.g. campaigns that have been rejected for being blank or functioning incorrectly), troubleshooting problems with creative, and running audits that revolve around accuracy, specialty subjects, and legal policy.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day always starts with a green tea, answering a few high priority email requests, then tending to our many lists. There’s a pretty large volume of ad campaigns that come across my team, so we funnel them into separate lists and work on them using excel sheets to stay organized.
In sum, my days involve a lot of water, green tea, tearing through large lists of campaigns, and responding to many troubleshooting requests from internal and external teams.
If you had to define Index in one or two words, what would they be?
Innovative growth. It always blows my mind how cutting edge Index is.
Speaking of, you’ve been at Index for more than six years now. Can you share a bit about how you’ve watched the company evolve, and how your own role has evolved, with time? What’s it been like to experience the company’s rapid growth first-hand?
Being at Index for more than six years has been an amazing experience — I’ve literally seen the company transform. A few months after I started, I remember Andrew Casale taking the mic at our holiday party and announcing that we’d grown to 100 people. From there, it was like a rocket ship. For years, I’d walk into the office each day to see someone new sitting on the couch, waiting to be interviewed.
I’ve always been on the same team, but so much about the company has changed and evolved, from the branding to the ways we communicate. It’s been wild.
That’s incredible. What made you first want to join?
To be honest, it’s a bit of a fairytale story. I was actually hired through a temp agency, and the way Index was described to me, I thought, ‘Man, this place sounds amazing. Sign me up.’
When I first started, it was great, it was just what I’d expected. But what’s kept me around for the long haul is the people. Even though the company’s grown so much, there’s always been this focus on respect and on building real-life connections with one another. That’s still at the core of Index; it’s definitely a place I’m glad to be.
In the theme of respect and connections, how important would you say collaboration is to your role at Index? What does it look like in practice?
Collaboration is everything for my role at Index — it keeps the day productive. Other teams have an external view of what’s going on for the company, while we’re on the internal side, making sure everything is running smoothly. It’s important to bring in different perspectives; to have someone on the frontlines and at the backend.
Now, we know you work in quality control by day, but you’re a musician outside of the office. Can you tell us a bit more about your musical career? How does it impact the way you approach work, if at all?
I’ve been playing saxophone for 20 years. I’d say maybe 10 years in people started telling me I wasn’t half bad. So I started to play for my friend’s bands, which turned into recording in studios with artists. Then that evolved into live shows, weddings, and recently, I put out my first instrumental album with a very good friend of mine, Resonate by Mills and Hunte.
When you’re playing music, you have to have a good blend of creativity and originality, but also theory and patterns. And I think that matches well with what I do. We go through a lot of lists, we’re looking at a lot of formulas, and we have to come up with creative solutions to get as many campaigns running as possible.
In music, you have scales, you have patterns, and it’s really rigid. But then finding creative ways and solutions to get those things working is how you get music. It’s how you get jazz.