Life after brand management: Jenny Celebrin
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?
Jenny Celebrin, co-owner of Yunginz.
When and where did you work in marketing?
Between 1998 and 2007 I had several marketing roles in organisations that were trade orientated and tended towards business to business.
Highest marketing level reached?
My official title was marketing coordinator but in the latter stages of my marketing career the responsibilities in these roles were more of a marketing manager position.
What do you do now?
I’m co-owner of www.yunginz.com.au, a new Australian kids footwear label. My business partner and I design all the styles, and we are currently the heart and sole (pun intended!) of the business – designers, sales, marketing, pickers and packers – you name it and we do it.
Did you choose your path or did it choose you?
I guess in the early stages of my career you could say that it chose me – I came to Sydney from New Zealand with a two-year-old boy, so picked up what work I could and started out in secretarial/PA positions. My role grew to incorporate more marketing responsibilities once management became aware of my capabilities and interest in this area.
I had always wanted to start my own business but never knew what that business could be, until I went out to buy a pair of shoes for my daughter to find there was nothing that I liked – hence discovering the gap in the market and launching Yunginz to fill it.
What’s the most important skill that you’ve taken from your marketing days?
Not really specific to marketing only, but relevant to everything is attention to detail! Whether that’s in communication with others, design elements or creating marketing collateral – whatever it is – attention to detail is a must.
If you had your time again, would you climb the corporate marketing ladder?
No, there is no flexibility (or if it’s there it’s very rare) in the corporate world for the woman who has to juggle work and parenting. If a lot of executives realised that they’d get loyalty and strong work ethics by providing flexible arrangements in the workplace then they’d have less staff turnover and much greater productivity. I was lucky in one role where I had flexibility for a while, but there was no room for future growth in that particular business.
What were the best and worst parts of your role as BM?
Best – I love the strategic side of marketing.
Worst – the number crunching, marketing budgets etc – they are always the first to get cut (very frustrating).
What career tips would you offer an aspirant or current BM?
For an aspirant – get the education that you need if you can, but if you’re a late starter like I was who didn’t realise what they wanted in the early stages, then as long as you roll your sleeves up and do the hard work, believe in yourself, put the dedication and persistence in and have a genuine passion for it then it will happen!
Now that youve left the world of brand management, are you satisfied with your current role? If not, what are your future career aspirations?
Absolutely satisfied. It’s a hard slog and we have a long road ahead of us but I just love seeing our shoe creations on little feet!