Be Inspired Series
Charity and Events Manager
Began as a marketing assistant for Laser Electrical and studied part-time for a degree in business and marketing before being appointed marketing manager for the firm
What does your job entail?
I co-ordinate communication for our customers, ensuring they are aware of all our campaigns and the work we are doing in the local community.
I also work with Ikea Belfast’s chosen charity every year to raise around £25,000 as well as helping other local charity projects and schools through product donations.
I’m involved in organising various events in-store as well as some external events.
Most recently, children from primary schools in Northern Ireland came to the store to help launch the annual Soft Toy campaign.
For every soft toy purchased at Ikea, we donate €1 (85p) to Save the Children and Unicef.
Is it 9am—5pm?
Working in a retail environment is rarely 9am—5pm! I currently work four days a week which includes late nights and some weekends. As a mum of a three-year-old, I have the flexibility to work hours to suit my childcare.
Working with local charities and seeing the difference we can make to children is heart-warming and satisfying.
How did you get into this line of work?
I have always been interested in marketing, brand management and public relations so studied related subjects.
What has been an added bonus in my role with Ikea has been working with fantastic charities and schools over the years. On an ongoing basis we work with charities including the Woodland Trust — which, for every time you swipe an Ikea Family card, we plant a foot of forest in local forest Carnmoney, and WWF, one of our global charities, to promote Earth Hour.
This year, Ikea Belfast’s chosen local charity is the NSPCC and the money raised will answer 6,250 calls to Childline and recruit 16 Childline volunteer counsellors helping over 300 children.
Outline your career to date?
My first full-time job was as marketing assistant for Laser Electrical where I took my degree at UUJ on a part-time basis. This gave me good experience and, after three years, I was appointed marketing manager for the firm.
Tell us about your qualifications / training.
I have a BTEC HND in Business and Marketing and a 2:1 BA honours degree in Business and Marketing from UUJ.
What qualities are required for your job — personal and professional?
Good organisation skills are essential as there is always a lot happening.
Multi-tasking and the ability to prioritise are other essential skills. I often work on several tasks at once.
Working in a retail environment is always going to be fast-moving and Ikea introduces new ranges four times a year which is always exciting and inspiring.
One of the many good things about Ikea is its commitment to quality as well as low price. I suppose one other trait required for working in Ikea is the ability to resist temptation!
What is the best advice you ever received?
‘You are the only person who can change your future’... in other words, if you want to make something of yourself you need to work hard and you will gain the respect and admiration of others and will be able to achieve whatever you put your mind to.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Since having our daughter, my weekends are spent with her and my husband. With a three-year-old there is no such thing as a lazy morning!
Saturdays are usually spent at the park or swimming pool — always something active. We also enjoy travelling, eating out and going for walks.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
I was a model in my younger days for a company which made underwear and pyjamas for major high street stores. My catwalk days are well and truly behind me!
Who has inspired you most in your life?
Without doubt, my lovely daughter Mya. Being a mum has made me try to be a better person and more compassionate towards people in need.