Where are you working currently, and what do you do there?
I work for Rogers Media as the National Digital Sales and OOH Manager for Western Canada.
Can you tell us a bit about your education and career background?
I graduated from Havering Six Form College with qualifications in Psychology, Media Studies and English Language and Literature. I decided against university as I wanted to experiment working in the job market first, to see if I could narrow down what the right next steps would be in my education. I found my first role in advertising and haven’t looked back since.
In terms of my career path, I started out at a small environmental publisher called Think Publishing, then moved on to working in the world of men’s lifestyle magazines in the early 2000s when they were at their pinnacle. I worked for Front Magazine at Highbury House Publishing, which at the time was the eighth largest circulating publisher globally. Highbury went into administration, and some titles were bought by a small start-up called SMD Publishing. I went onto be the Group Ad Manager at SMD Publishing, managing twelve magazines and a large sales department. From there, I moved to Future Media as a Client Sales Manager, working across their video games estate consisting of twelve magazines and three leading gaming websites: Gamesradar.com, Edgeonline and CVG.COM. My commercial Director at Future Media left for Haymarket Media, and recruited me, offering me the opportunity to be the Head of Business Development working across the FOURFOURTWO Magazine and the FOURFOURTWO digital brand, which at the time was the leading soccer multi-platform offering globally. After nearly two years at Haymarket I decided to take some time off to travel, and then made the decision to move to Canada. I have been working with Rogers Media for just over nine years!
Why did you choose to study at BrainStation?
I was living near your campus in Yaletown, Vancouver years ago and I had heard great things about the training being offered. I wanted to learn more about digital tactics and strategies to broaden my understanding of digital marketing, so I decided to take the digital marketing course. I took a lot away from the course, and it enhanced my understanding of the fundamental digital tactics that companies deploy day-to-day.
What motivated you to start digital skills training?
I wanted to make sure that I fully understood the digital ecosystem in order to provide my clients with the best possible solutions. I felt it was important for me to understand fundamental digital marketing tactics such as SEM, SEO, social media marketing, influencer marketing, growth hacking and more. It has allowed me to think more strategically about the solutions that I can provide to help my clients achieve their goals / objectives.
What was the highlight of your learning experience?
Having taken four courses now, it’s hard to narrow it down to one highlight. I think overall, having a deep understanding of the various disciplines has allowed me to take my career to the next level. I took a huge amount of value from the Social Media Marketing course. We amplify all of our content sponsorships on social media, and having an intimate knowledge of the targeting options across all social media platforms has helped me put together stronger targeting recommendations. Also, I adapted some of the things I learnt from other classes, such as the SCRUM framework from the Product Management Certificate Course, and have been able to introduce that to big projects we are working on in order to keep all team members on course and accountable.
Can you describe the impact your Instructor had on your learning experience?
The Instructors were fantastic. They made the experience very interactive and encouraged us to ask important questions. My learning style is to ask a lot of questions until I fully understand a concept, and they were very accommodating.
Was this your first online learning experience? If so, what were your thoughts? Did it meet your expectations?
As previously mentioned, my first BrainStation experience was in-person many years ago. However, my first online experience was the Social Media Marketing Certificate Course. I love the in-person experience, but I have to say I was blown away by how good the online experience was - I actually think I prefer the on-line classes. The technology is first class, and I really felt the experience was just as good (if not better) than the in-person experience. The breakout rooms provided a great space to work on projects with your fellow Learners, and gave us a chance to brainstorm ideas with the Instructor around our course project.
How has your BrainStation experience impacted your career?
BrainStation has made me much more rounded in terms of my digital expertise, and it has allowed me to be more entrepreneurial in my role. I am constantly implementing my learnings from each course I took. The most recent course I took was the Digital Innovation and Leadership course, and I really enjoyed hearing how some of the biggest companies are constantly improving their processes and way of working. Whether that be the UPS “No Left Turn” strategy that saved them millions of dollars, or Amazon's Two Pizza Rule for meetings – it gets you thinking in a unique way, rather than following some of the old school ways of thinking.
BrainStation has made me much more rounded in terms of my digital expertise, and it has allowed me to be more entrepreneurial in my role. I am constantly implementing my learnings from each course I took - it gets you thinking in a unique way, rather than following some of the old school ways of thinking.
What impact did your final project have in your professional development?
It has made me think much more cerebrally about the digital strategies we put forth to our clients and the way we present the information. I believe it enhanced my storytelling and improved my ability to show clients exactly how we would meet their objectives. Understanding social media platforms, influencer marketing, the way Google functions, in addition to customer journeys and user personas, has allowed me to better map our clients’ journey. I'm now able to think a lot deeper about the best possible solution for our clients. I feel like I’m gradually earning a PHD in Digital Skills at BrainStation!
What were some of the most valuable skills you learned? How have you incorporated those skills into your current role?
There are many skills I have learnt across the four courses I have taken. For the sponsored content campaigns we run for clients for example, we now show suggested targeting across the social media platforms for amplification, and we have also incorporated customer journeys, amongst other learnings into our daily operations.
Would you take another digital skills training course at BrainStation?
Yes! I’m looking to take the search engine marketing course next, and then Data Analytics after that.
Would you take a course with your teammates?
I already have actually! I took both the product management and social media marketing courses with colleagues of mine.
Would you take another course if your employer used it as professional development?
Yes - I think the ROI for the company is huge. To have such a well-rounded understanding of all things digital really helps you provide your clients with the best possible solutions and allows us to deliver best-in-class programs. From the company’s perspective, the level up in knowledge will only help the company generate more revenue and have continued sustainable revenue growth.
What advice would you give to professionals considering a BrainStation course?
Future proof yourself! Investing in your education will show amazing returns and will pay for itself in the long-run (and even in the short-term). I think it feels daunting at first, but remember, all journeys start with humble beginnings.
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