Year of graduation: 1994
Current employer: Plymouth Raiders Ltd
Current job title: Chief Executive
Current location: Plymouth
“Work as hard as you can, and take every opportunity to get as much experience in your chosen field as you can. Employers are looking for qualifications as well as experience.”Tell us about your career path since graduation.
Following graduation, I started working on a six month placement project with an inward investment agency called Devon and Cornwall Development International. We were tasked with promoting the two counties all over the world to stimulate interest and demand in companies opening offices and factories in the region.
After the six month placement I was taken on as a Marketing Assistant and within six months became the Marketing Manager. DCDI was one of the bodies that were initially merged to create the South West of England Regional Development Agency, and at the same time as this happened, I was offered the job of running the Graduates Association at the University of Plymouth. It was a really interesting opportunity and I took it with both hands. I enjoyed my time at the University, and over the five years I was working there, I developed the Association and the position quite a lot!
I left the University when my “perfect” job was offered to me. I started working with the Seafood Industry Authority – the governing body for seafood in the UK. The best part of the job was the international travel – I got to visit some unbelievable places, helping British seafood companies sell more of their products overseas, and sourcing products for the domestic market here in the UK. My primary job function was working with Seafood companies across the South of England, and giving them a business resource (marketing assistance, market research etc.). I was also responsible for stimulating a lot of new product development in seafood producers around the country and running seafood promotions around the British coast.
After five years of working with Seafish, and driving horrendous amounts of miles every year, I took the decision to leave Seafish and was offered the chance to take up the position of Chief Executive with the Plymouth Raiders basketball team. I had always had a passion for basketball, having formerly played for the team when I was a student at Plymouth University, and then set up, run, and coached the national league development programme for the club. My job now is very varied: no two days are the same! I’m responsible for negotiating player contracts, running the community side of the club through the Plymouth Raiders Foundation, regular liaison with key sponsors and partners, marketing and public relations, and ensuring that the coach and players have everything they need in order to be competitive. We play in the British Basketball League (BBL) – the UK’s premier basketball league – and after a tough couple of years, have turned things around on court and are looking a lot more competitive. I’ve been here for eight and a half years now, and I look forward to an exciting future for the club as we look to take advantage of a couple of very big opportunities that have presented themselves recently.
Has your career path changed since graduation?
I left university not really knowing what I wanted to do, but throughout each of my jobs the one thing that has remained constant is marketing. This has been an integral part of each of the jobs that I have done.
What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?
I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the international travel that I enjoyed with Seafish. I was very lucky to get to see places I had never even dreamed of going, such as Moscow, China, Vietnam, and Hong Kong.
I also enjoy the relationships that I have built within basketball – with players and coaches, sponsors who have become good friends, and people I coached in the USA 25 years ago who I still count as friends now.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the same line of work?
Work as hard as you can, and take every opportunity to get as much experience in your chosen field as you can. Employers are looking for qualifications as well as experience, so if you’re able to prove your worth to them by studying and undertaking work experience opportunities then you’ll impress a lot of people.
How did studying at Plymouth help you?
I loved my time at University of Plymouth, but because I was so involved with basketball – playing and coaching – I probably didn’t live a typical student life. I spent as much time as possible during the summers coaching and playing in the USA, and then played with the Raiders when I returned for the academic year here in Plymouth. I was lucky enough to have some great professors and lecturers at Plymouth who made the courses I studied a lot easier to understand. My family lived here in Plymouth, and getting to study here was a great way of getting to spend more time with them and my friends as well.
How has a degree from the University of Plymouth influenced your career?
Studying here at the University of Plymouth enabled me to stay in the area, but still get a great education. I have never really wanted to move away from the area; my career has given me ample opportunity to travel and see other places, and though it’s great to go away, it’s always fantastic to come back home again! University of Plymouth gave me a lot of opportunities to develop my career and though I may not be in the same line of work as my degree, I studied a lot of business modules as part of my course and marketing always grabbed my attention more than the others!