Grace Child joined Advanced 6 years ago with the hopes of kickstarting her career after graduating with a degree in English literature & language. With an excellent proficiency in both written and verbal language, and a high potential to succeed, she was identified as the perfect fit to come and join Advanced’s Product Marketing (PM) team in 2016.
Since then, she’s experienced an impressive career journey, propelling herself through the PM team; joining as an executive through the HEPL scheme – to becoming the Head of PM earlier this year.
Read this blog to hear from Grace about her career at Advanced so far:
So, I guess my story begins after graduating with an English degree from Coventry University. Like most graduates I didn’t really know what specific career path I wanted to embark on, meaning that I was applying for a variety of roles in communications and marketing that were similar to the experience I’d gained during my placement year at uni.
My strengths have always gone hand-in-hand with both written and verbal communications, so that’s why when the opportunity came along to join Advanced’s PM team - on their High Potential Entry Level (HEPL) scheme – I applied straight away and was successful in getting the role.
I joined Advanced in 2016, and it was an incredibly exciting time to be with the business. They had just opened their brand-new Mailbox office that was filled with other HEPLs like me - who were all of a similar age, and I think that helped me settle into my role and the business pretty much straight away.
Looking back, I’d say that I was very lucky to stumble across a company like Advanced which has helped me to develop and progress into the person and the position that I’m in today – I guess that’s why I’m still here 6 years later as I haven’t stopped learning and developing since my first day here.
I feel like when I go into the Mailbox now, it still feels the same that it did back when I first joined; there’s still a great buzz and a nice atmosphere around the office, which is exactly what you want when you come into your workplace.
Advanced have given me the starting point to go on to accomplish great things in my career, and they invest the same amount of time and energy into every person who walks through the front door.
What attracted you to Advanced specifically?
To be completely honest, after graduating; it came to the point where I was basically just applying for everything and anything from a job perspective. However, one of the things that stood out to me from Advanced was the CCAT test, and then once I’d gotten past that I started to get more and more excited as I started to learn more about the company and its values.
It was so refreshing when I came in for my assessment days that it wasn’t just a tick-box exercise that you tend to get with other graduate schemes. On the contrary Advanced seemed quite the opposite by being genuinely interested in what I was interested in and am passionate about – instead of focusing more on my experience and qualifications - they were interested in what I was like as a person, and the potential I had to succeed at the business.
On the assessment day, I was given the opportunity to meet some of the team, the marketing leadership team, and people from HR; and one of the things that really stood out to me was that everyone was super friendly and approachable. It was nice to be surrounded by a vibrant atmosphere, one that you could picture yourself being in when you’re in the office; full of friendly, open, and welcoming colleagues.
After taking part in some of the group tasks and assessments they recommended to me that I’d be a suitable fit for a role in Product Marketing. At the time I was quite open to the opportunity of trying something new and exciting, and fortunately, it turned out to be a great fit for me.
What is it you like about Product Marketing?
So there are lots of different things that I enjoy in my department. One great thing about product marketing is that you get to work with so many different departments internally, as PM kind of sits in between product management, sales, and marketing – so you get to experience a well-rounded view of the business.
I’d say that the best way to describe PM is that we are the voice of the customer. That means the role is very much customer-centric, and that’s something that I relish as I get to interact and engage with customers on a daily basis.
So essentially, it’s quite a varied role as no two days are ever the same, and that’s why I’ve decided to pursue a career within it. There are always different things to do, and new things to learn with various projects, and initiatives to sink your teeth into – so it never gets boring.
What do you put your success in PM down to?
From a progression and development perspective, I couldn’t really have asked for more in the way that I’ve been managed and moulded to become the Head of PM, in just six years. I’ve always been a very driven individual, and I’ve always been curious; constantly wanting to learn more to become better and improve. So, I think having those attributes have helped in setting me up to succeed.
However, having a team around me who’s always been super supportive of my development here at Advanced has also helped me massively. Working alongside the leadership team and various managers has allowed me to gain some invaluable knowledge and experience.
Therefore, I’d say that I’ve had a nice balance of having the drive and the determination to succeed, whilst also having people around me giving me the help and support that I’ve needed to elevate me into this position, which is something that I can’t thank my colleagues – both current and former – and the business enough for.
How would you describe the company culture?
The main two words that best describe the culture at Advanced are welcoming and inclusive. Even though I came into my role and the business with pretty much no experience; I’ve always been encouraged to get stuck in by getting involved in different projects and trying out new things.
I’d say that in that respect the company is really good at letting people try to develop themselves in all aspects, enabling them to have a successful career. It’s the perfect place for somebody who’s just graduated from university who are looking to take the next step.
Everyone who joins the business is encouraged to embody the company values such as ‘Execute at Pace’, and ‘Different Together’ and I think they play a very important part in instilling that culture in people from the moment they join the business.
What are your future career aspirations?
I guess at the moment, I’m only two months into my new role, so I still see a lot of learning to do before I can look too far ahead. My kind of more immediate priorities over the next 12 months is around becoming a really good manager and leader, therefore, I’m looking at how I can continue to improve and develop my leadership skills.
I genuinely haven’t given that much thought to anything beyond that. I’m not the type of person who’s got their long-term career plan all laid out in front of them – but my main aspirations are to continue working hard, to take the opportunities that come to me, to continue staying curious, and to make sure that I’m enjoying my work as well.
I have set my sights on one day becoming a Chief Marketing Officer somewhere, but for now, I’m happy to keep pursuing my passion, keep on gaining valuable experience, and to keep learning and developing in my new role – that’s kind of where my direction is headed at the moment.