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Alumni

Jodie Balmer

Career Path: Senior PR and Content Manager, McBryde & Co.
Location: Whitley Bay, UK

While travelling the world in 2008 (after taking sabbatical from my job in finance), I realised I wanted to do something more creative with my career and I knew I loved writing so it was between journalism or PR. At the time, journalism had a bad rep (News of the World saga), and not only seemed unethical but also extremely crowded so I opted for PR instead. I wrote my Uni application on a beach in Fiji then spoke to senior lecturer Chris Hall on the phone and that was that, I was in! My brother in law put me in touch with his PR manager, Raman Sehgal for work experience in my second year at Uni and from then I was immersed in the world of marketing and PR. Getting a freelance role while at Uni was a dream come true, I left the call centre and never looked back.

As a graduation treat I took myself to Bali and fell in love with the people and the place so decided to do everything I could to move there, the stars aligned and I became a copywriter at Gnossem.com which was based in Singapore but I could work from the office there or my home in Bali. This was in 2013... long before home working was mainstream. This opened up new career paths for me and I ended up buying for the womenswear website which was a different experience that I enjoyed but decided I wanted to stick with marketing. That contract came to its natural end after a year and I had had my fill with Bali to then jumped on a flight to Melbourne and worked with mega agencies, developing more line manager skills and social media skills along the way. Having Qatar Airways and Boost Juice on my CV has definitely helped my career options when I moved back to the UK.

I did a yoga teacher training course in 2017 in Greece and realised that I wanted a job that was flexible enough to teach classes so I was lucky enough to find a part time marketing manager role at Generator then a 4.5 day role at NGI Solutions and taught yoga on my days off. W Communications was the 'dream job', working between Newcastle and London with the likes of innocent, Disaronno and Moneysupermarket as well as known North East brands such as Tyne Bank Brewery, Banyan and Meat:Stack.

What are you doing now?

Working at McBryde & Co, a small consultancy that is growing fast. Clients include Northumberland County Council, SMD, and ORE Catapult.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

It was on my doorstep and courses seemed a lot more vocational than a red brick.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

Interesting. My course was extremely diverse and I studied a new language as well as music! Sad that it's no longer an option.

How connected was your course with industry?

Very. I didn't do a sandwich year but a lot of my peers did and one still works at Balfour Beatty to this day.

What was the best thing about your course?

The teaching and the practical experience in terms of pitching to real companies and writing robust communication plans.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

How to understand audiences and how to reach them effectively. But as it's marketing, a lot of this won't / can't be taught in a lecture theatre - I've learnt so much more from my work experience.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

Keep your head down and do the work!

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Hard work, inspiring, unique.

 

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