Benchmark – Behind The Brand

Look deeper inside any business and you’ll uncover the personalities behind the brand. You’ll often be surprised or intrigued to hear people’s back story and when you invest this time in listening to their journey you’ll find unexpected connections.

The expression ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ may be old school but it still holds true, and all too often we pigeon-hole people based on their profession and age then package them up before we’ve looked beneath the surface. On paper I’m a 40 year old Marketing Manager at Benchmark married with two children – but there’s more to me than meets the eye and I’ve had a varied career path before I landed my role here.

The Conventional
I did the conventional school and uni bit, popped out the other side and landed a role as a Researcher for a growing PR firm in Manchester. I hit on the PR industry during the boom time (mid-90’s) when it was all very ‘Ab Fab’ – very much about playing hard and working hard. The nine years I had at this company saw me work my way up the ladder from Research to Account Exec and then to an Account Director. I think what drove me was the accounts I worked on and the buzz I got from successes in regional and national media.
During my time at the agency I worked on high street names including regional and national campaigns for Marks & Spencer Head Office and stores, PR strategies for Lurpak Butter, Cravendale and Calypso soft drinks. Working alongside household names with big budgets was a fantastic experience.

The Tick List
Life started to get too predictable and I think there was still an inner rebel in me that hadn’t ticked travelling’off the list and never wanted it to be a regret, so in 2004 I upped sticks with my partner, sold the house and headed off to Cuba, South America and Australasia for a year. Looking back it seems very self-indulgent, but when we came home nothing had changed and everyone else had been on the conveyor belt of life while we’d been out there getting a life. For me, this is something I would recommend to anyone – it’ll shift your perspective on work and life for the better.

Back to my Roots
Born and bred in Sheffield, when I came back from my travels I was keen to come back to my roots. I was shipped over the hills to Manchester when I was 9 and always yearned to live in Sheffield again. This was largely fuelled by my love for the outdoor life and mountain biking – why travel every weekend to the Peak District when you could pretty much live on it’s doorstep in Sheffield?! Plus all my family had also seen the light and migrated back to Sheffield so it was time for me to make that move too.

Career Break
After freelancing for a couple of years, I decided to invest some time into being a mum and spent the next couple of years fully focused on bringing up my two children. It’s time you never get back and I’ll never regret taking that time out to nurture these little souls – and when the time was right I turned my head back to the business world…

Inner Entrepreneur
Before landing a role at Benchmark I tried my hand at my own business ventures. This included starting my own maternity t shirt company and, for a very short period of time, I was dog walker (messy business but good for the soul!)
I then took on a role as Marketing Manager for my husband’s business and we partnered with England Footballer Michael Owen to launch a football-based stock exchange app. This was a unique opportunity and opened my eyes to alternative marketing techniques and a fuller understanding of the digital world. The App campaign involved a press launch, sustained social media campaign and video promotion – and with over 50,000 downloads it had initial success but due to investment ceased in 2013.

The Greener Grass

With my marketing skill set strengthened, I decided the grass was probably greener on the other side and was keen to explore a permanent position. To be truthful, I also missed the companionship of an office environment and the inspiring banter that goes with it. The team here at Benchmark certainly tick that box and it’s a fantastic working environment that oozes personality.
After initially registering with Benchmark as a candidate, I realised that there was more to this recruitment agency: they genuinely cared about your future and ambitions. It was after this first meet that I was invited back to interview for a position at Benchmark HQ and secured the role that I am now in as Marketing Manager. I have never looked back and remain fully focused on working with the inspiring team of consultants to further grow this business.

The Blog

I jumped at the chance to host a blog with Exposed and share my experience as Marketing Manager, plus give an insight from the career-driven industry of recruitment and the Sheffield business community. Over a series of blog posts I’ll be covering off topics on job markets, sector growth and a view from inside a Sheffield business from networking to charity work – and a bit more about me as we go along!

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