Life after brand management: Belinda Elworthy
In this careers feature, Liz Foster asks the question, with the number of corporate marketing roles shrinking as you climb the ladder, where do all the brand managers go?
When and where did you work in marketing?
Not including the small businesses I ran as a child (the ‘Blue Lagoon’ restaurant was probably the one with the most notoriety; housed within mum’s kitchen where I was fortunate to have my two sisters on staff at very low rates!)… I officially started my marketing career working with Telstra whilst still completing my degree. After graduation, I started with Kimberly-Clark on their graduate program and enjoyed almost 6 years working on brands like Huggies Nappies. From here, I joined Southcorp Wines as a Marketing Manager, looking after their Sparkling Wine portfolio and then onto Fosters where I managed the Rosemount brand as well as the WA and NZ wine portfolios.
Highest marketing level reached?
Group Marketing Manager
What do you do now?
I run a digital media business – My Life Media. We develop premium digital content and services including myinvites.com.au and lovefromsanta.com.au and we provide our clients (the marketing community) with tools and channels to communicate with our audience of social influencers within a space that fits into their social life.
Did you choose your path or did it choose you?
I chose it. There’s so much I love about marketing and so much I didn’t love about working within a big organisation. I chose to build a business that was in alignment with my personal goals for a family as well as my professional goals – one that enables me to fulfil my passion for creating things and making ideas reality.
What’s the most important skill that you’ve taken from your marketing days?
The ability to build a brand and a real relationship with a consumer.
If you had your time again, would you climb the corporate marketing ladder?
The lessons I learned and experience gained whilst in the corporate world provided me with a very solid foundation and also gave me the confidence to go for it on my own… so yes, I probably would, although I may jump off the ladder at a slightly earlier point!
What were the best and worst parts of your role as BM?
Best = Free lunches, big budgets, resources to support you, being the client.
Worst = Seeing a really insightful and clever concept completely changed by the time it finally reaches market 2 years after it could have.
What career tips would you offer an aspirant or current BM?
Brand Management is an excellent introduction into business because of the exposure you get across multiple business drivers. Learn as much as you can about how a business runs and build a great network of friends and colleagues.
Get clear on what makes you happy in life and make sure you create a role that is in alignment with this. You’re the only one in control!
Now that youve left the world of brand management, are you satisfied with your current role? If not, what are your future career aspirations?
I love what I do. I have honestly never worked harder than I currently am, but have also never felt so fulfilled and in control of where my career is going.