Founder, The Marketing Mentor Scotland
BA Hons Business Economics with Marketing
Year of Graduation 1984
Paisley College of Technology
Tell us about your time at the University
I wanted to study Economics and Marketing and very few universities offered Marketing at that time. I was attracted to this course because of the years’ work experience as I believed this would help me get a job following graduation and it did.
My memories are around the friendships made and the easy-going atmosphere. The economics and marketing lecturers were especially good most having come from industry with real work experiences to share. I also met one of my closest friends, Laura Simpson, and we are still friends.
Tell us about your experiences since leaving the University
I’m now a freelance marketing consultant, trainer and speaker specialising in digital marketing. I started off my career as Graduate Trainee in Marketing with Tennent Caledonian Breweries in Glasgow – the first female in Marketing. I then moved to HQ as a Brand Manager for Bass, living in Nottingham but got homesick and moved back to Scotland to work as a Brand Manager for whiskies at United Distillers. Living in Edinburgh I then worked for RBS as Market Development Manager for High Net Worth and as Advertising Manager. I moved to Scottish Widows in 1996 as Head of Brand and Advertising with a budget of £18 million covering TV, press, outdoor, radio and online; I managed a team of eight staff and external creative and media agencies.
I had always wanted to own my own business so in 2000 I took the plunge and set up MarketingWorks Recruitment a specialist marketing recruitment company employing four staff. In 2002, I had my son Lucas which made me re-evaluate my career so I wound back the recruitment company to spend more time with him. In 2005, I decided to go back to university and studied for a post graduate in journalism. From then I set up an online beauty business called yearsyounger.co.uk and discovered how difficult it was to make money online, without scale, so started doing some marketing consultancy, mainly PR. I was approached to work at Tesco Bank on a three-month contract on a special project and ended up staying with them for three years working mainly in digital marketing. I left them in 2013 but returned in 2016 as Interim Head of Marketing for six months.
I started training for Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce in 2015 and this is something I really enjoy and intend to do more of in the coming years. After 30 years in marketing I feel it’s now time to pass on my experience for the benefit of the next generation.
If you could offer one piece of advice or top tip to current students what would it be?
Be a lifelong learner. Marketing has changed considerably in the last 30 years and the reason I’m still doing it is have kept my skills up-to-date; this doesn’t stop after graduation.
What is that drives you on in your professional life?
Working with clever, interesting people and learning new skills. I’m an early adaptor of technology and excited to see what will be available to marketers in the next few years.