Making the move from marketing to education and now into healthcare may look like some hefty career jumps to the outside world. But those who know me well know that I am someone who follows their heart, listens to their emotions, and chooses to work for people and organisations where there is a mutual connection and a drive to make positive change. So, in my way, I have always been decisive, and my career path has taken a natural journey.
During my Marketing BSc I was always looking for work in the holidays and working in a bar never appealed (I actually tried it once and I was awful!), so I called every marketing agency in the Yellow Pages (yes, it was that long ago!). One company took the time to talk to me, invited me in for an interview - well, a chat over a coffee - and it went from there. I gained invaluable experience working with some high-profile clients in what was a very small company of just 4 people. After I graduated I was offered a full-time role there and 5 years later we had grown to 25 people, I was a member of the management team and was managing incredible projects for brands such as Unilever. Unilever is a brand I admire to this day, for their CSR responsibility and leading the way when it comes to a better way of doing business.
After this brilliant time I experienced an internal pull to make a difference in a more direct way, so I took the leap into education, something I had always been passionate about. I completed a PGCE, worked as a teacher here in the UK and in India and went on to complete a Master's in Education.
The needs of the children I taught were my priority and I tried to customise and differentiate as much as I could to support their individual needs - educationally, but also emotionally. I hadn't realised then, but as well as teaching the curriculum I was teaching them to develop their emotional intelligence. We named our emotions, we decided together how to respond to them and identified what triggered them, we rewarded kindness and we practised simple mindfulness to help listen to our emotions and learn how to read and respond to those of others in the school.
Having worked previously in a commercial setting, I was constantly amazed at the parallels with the education sector and was curious to explore how my experiences in the classroom could be applied in commercial settings to potentially make an even wider impact. At about the same time, I was offered an opportunity to work for a cooking social media brand with great influence amongst young people. In this role, I managed a major partnership with Co-op, an organisation deeply passionate about building communities. Following a research study with Co-op we identified a challenge, which was to create a complete online educational resource for young people, providing them with the skills to cook and benefit the social, health and financial aspects of their lives.
Throughout my career, I had always been fascinated by health and wellbeing in the background. In the past, I have attended courses, read extensively on nutrition and even trained to be a yoga teacher and mindfulness practitioner. My interest in health became even stronger when my best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, aged 29. That was nearly 8 years ago now. Her diagnosis still gives me goose bumps to this day. Throughout her journey that sadly ended in 2015, she remained hugely positive, took every twist and turn head on and also always sought to support those around her. Seeing her challenges and experiences further fuelled my desire to work in healthcare.
Now at C+C I am privileged to work with a team of healthcare experts and I am able to contribute my communications and education experience to a range of patient engagement projects and emotional intelligence training programmes, and no doubt I will be working on many future projects that hold people at the centre.
The essence of 'Where People Matter' at C+C really shines through. One month into my new role I have been blown away by how I have been welcomed into the team, the strength of the culture here and of course, the genuine people-centric nature of the agency.