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Chloe Gillard

Career Path: Inclusion & Belonging Manager, Version 1
Location: Dromore, Northern Ireland

After graduating from Northumbria, I was offered a hockey scholarship to continue my studies and play in the United States. Firstly, I gained a MSc in Instructional Leadership with Sports Management from Robert Morris University, Pittsburgh PA, and then I attended Central Michigan University in Michigan where I obtained a MSc in Administration with a focus of globalisation, business and sport. Upon graduating from Central Michigan, I worked for the University at Buffalo Athletics Department as a Sport Administration Assistant focusing on Diversity and Inclusion work within collegiate athletics.

I then moved to the University of Pittsburgh, and worked as the Career Consultant for the Swanson School of Engineering and leading on the Career Departments Diversity and Inclusion work. In 2018, I moved back to Northern Ireland, and took up a role as Lead Diversity and Insights Consultant for AMS working on the Morgan Stanley and Rolls-Royce Accounts. I also led the NI Diversity and Inclusion Network and sat on the UK-wide D&I Committee. After AMS, I took up the role of Diversity and Inclusion Specialist at Accent Housing, implementing a new D&I strategy for the organisation, and in Feb 2022 I took up my current role at Version 1 overseeing D&I globally.

What are you doing now?Chloe Dillard

I am currently Global Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Manager at Version 1.

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

Northumbria University actually came to my school to do a talk, and being honest I said right away it wasn't for me. That was until I attended the open day, I was drawn to the sense of community within the University. Everything was so accessible, and everyone I met had genuine love for the University. I attended some talks about my course, and the professors were all very real, and it made me feel at ease with the fact i'd be moving away from home. It caught me by surprise, but when I left I knew that was where I wanted to go.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

I had a mixture of lectures, seminars, and practical sessions. Every class was designed to take the theory and put it into practice. We simply weren't just being spoken at, we are actually told about the theoretical knowledge and then we used it in a practical sense - which really aided the learning.

How connected was your course with industry?

No placements or work on projects, but through our practical sessions and projects we got to experience the real world application.

What was the best thing about your course?

As cliche as it sounds, but the connection with my others students. I think because our course was built upon teamwork projects, and practical projects/classes, we really got to know each other. We built a great bond, and it helped with all the work we had to do. I absolutely loved the practical classes (even if some were 9am after a sports night out on a Wednesday), as they definitely helped make the theory "stick".

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

Moving away from home, and to a city that is buzzing all the time, absolutely helped me find myself and come out of my shell. Beyond my course, I had so many opportunities which led the foundation for my career - whether that was being president and captain of the hockey club, or a Sports Intern; it was these extracurricular activities that helped shape my understanding of the working world and gain skills that I still use to this day in my job.

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

For me, since I don't work in a field directly related to my degree, it is all about the transferrable skills. For anyone who has worked with me will know, I constantly harp on about the value of knowing your transferrable skills. I have worked in so many sectors, yet I gain apply these skills and attributes to be successful across them all. For me, the Sport and Exercise Science course taught me organisation, time management (needed when you're involved in a sport as well as a full time course!), public speaking and presenting (which I now use regularly as a Keynote and Conference Speaker), and delegation (something you definitely learn in group projects). But above all else, my course taught me the value of connections and working with others. The Sports Science degree is massively focused on that, and as someone whose job it is to make sure people are connected and included, I can't stress how vital a skill this is enough!

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

It won't come to any surprise to anyone who knows me but the hockey club. I found a family within the club and still keep in contact with many of them today! I genuinely look back at those days as the best of my life and loved every moment of being a part of the club and helping it grow and develop.

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

Don't hold back because you're scared of what others might think or because it's not what everyone is doing. There are so many opportunities to be involved in things outside of your course, and they will probably end up being the best part of your university life. Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to get involved in things, as everyone is in the same boat! Your time at university is about finding yourself, your passions and your skills - so go for it!

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

Best years ever.

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