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      By industry club     

      The people behind Marketing Debuts – Jo Petroccia, Operations Director, The Industry School

      A resource management consultant, trainer and mentor, Jo led the development of the Marketing Debuts Social Media and Community Management programme. Jo also presents the resource management module on the Creative Project Management programme.

      Your route into marketing wasn’t exactly typical, was it, Jo?

      No. I was working in the rag trade as a production merchandiser when a friend of mine suggested I apply to work at the marketing agency she worked at. I had no relevant experience – or a degree – but I did have a ton of transferable skills. I had an interview with the CEO, who offered me a role with job title ‘tbc’ there and then.

      What did that involve?

      I worked alongside the CEO and no two days were the same. I managed recruitment for the agency when it was going through a period of rapid growth. I wasn’t too concerned about industry experience, educational achievement or background. If someone was right for our business, I was authorised to make them an offer on the spot and find a role for them. Many of these hires are now leaders in our industry with some running their own successful agencies.

      Sounds like diversity and inclusion were driving forces here then?

      Absolutely. Amazing things happen when you hire people from all backgrounds and all abilities, but that’s just the beginning.

      Diversity and inclusion is far far more than a box ticking exercise. It’s about creating the environment and providing the support and training that every individual needs to help them realise their potential and really flourish. To do this, we need to understand people’s personal and professional goals and home in on where they intersect with the organisation’s goals.

      How have you’ve benefitted from this approach personally?

      I grew up with a stutter, which made school and interviewing for jobs tough for me. Most people – but certainly not all – saw past it. However, if you’d told me back then that I’d write a workshop and stand in front of a room and present it, or that I’d become a consultant and present to big clients, I’d have laughed at you. I chose my first job because it was one where I could keep my head down and not have to say too much.

      That all changed, partly due to my own determination and because I benefitted from the approach outlined above. I want to help young people entering our industry get a similar platform to build their careers on.

      What’s your role in Marketing Debuts?

      I pulled the Social Media and Community Management programme together and assembled a great line up of trainers from my network and beyond. I work closely with Blaise Grimes-Viort and Jamie Maple on the content and it far exceeds government standards to give our learners the best training and experience possible. I’m hugely proud of what we’ve created together. Trust me, this programme is the dog’s bollocks.

      I also had input into the Creative Project Management programme and run the module on resource management. This is such a crucial discipline in our industry, so I really want to impress on our learners that ‘resources’ invariably means hugely talented people who we should treat, first and foremost, as individuals. In other works, putting the human into resource management.

      Employers can register their interest in Marketing Debuts by contacting Melissa.

      Candidates can apply to the Marketing Debuts scheme here.