In this article series I Want That Job! I'll be interviewing people from various professions within the climbing world. If you think your job is a dream come true (it has to be climbing related) and if you're willing to be interviewed - then drop me a line. Likewise if you can think of a job that you'd like to have - suggest it in the forums and I'll try and track someone down.
It's the turn of Pauline Sanderson, Marketing Manager at Glenmore Lodge who is known equally for her infectious laughter and enthusiasm as well as for her adventure cycling from the Dead Sea in Jordan through Syria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Nepal and finally to Everest Base Camp in Tibet, where Pauline and her husband Phil exchanged bikes for crampons and climbed the great mountain itself. (You can read more about the EverestMax Expedition at www.everestmax.com ). Pauline is a testament to the philosophy that passion, enthusiasm and experience are as important, if not more so, than relevant qualifications; and her attitude of "If you can't take constructive criticism, you won't be opening the door to new ideas" has most certainly contributed to her living the dream.
Name: Pauline Sanderson
Job Title: Marketing Manager at Glenmore Lodge, Scotland's National Outdoor Training Centre
Relevant Qualifications: Not a marketing certificate to my name. In fact I qualified as a barrister in London, but had a change of career at 30, which has given me 13 years of relevant work experience in different areas of the outdoor industry. So a better question for me is 'relevant experience'. Firstly, I re-trained to be an instructor and work as a general kids instructor for a year in Llanberis (I love Pete's Eats!). I lived in Nepal for 4 years working with Equator Expeditions. I started as the shop girl and became a partner doing the sales and marketing and starting up the mountaineering and trekking side of the company with my partners. Initially, my marketing started with handing out flyers in the streets of Kathmandu to come to free slide shows with rum and coke to entice people off the street to go rafting – I miss the old days of raw sales. This is where I got to learn most about running a business and marketing the adventure industry. Then I returned to the UK and worked with a corporate team building company in the Lakes for 4 years doing sales and development training. This is where I got a better insight into more sophisticated forms of marketing, western style .......we have wine instead of rum. So in a nutshell, my qualifications come from my experiences of meeting and working with amazing people and projects in all areas of the industry. Glenmore lodge valued this as much as any marketing qualifications....phew!
Perks and holidays/time off: I work 130 days a year. I can pick and choose when I work as I create my own projects. How fantastic is that?! I can work for a month and go away for a month as long as I get the job done. We also have access to all the kit in stores, which includes kayaks and climbing kit a long as it is not out on a course. If I have forgotten something or just can't afford a piece of kit, I can borrow it as long as it isn't seen as a 'long term loan'. Jim keeps his eye on us. I got to go away on a 6 month expedition after having worked here for only 6 months because Tim could see that my expedition would 'inspire adventure' – our strap line. What a great criteria to have to allow for time away.
Describe your job: I am responsible for all the obvious marketing jobs like the annual brochure, the website and promotional literature and dvds. I work with our sponsors to make sure they are well represented at the Lodge and feel part of our team. Most of them are more like friends now so working with sponsors, sometimes consists of dinner, bike rides or going climbing. I also enjoy event management. I am now coordinating proposals for a Scottish Dry Tooling Series with another 6 venues for November and December 08. Last but not least I promote our venue and consultation services to the outdoor industry i.e. everybody from a freelance instructor to the Governing Bodies, commercial centres and volunteer sector.
How did you get this job? Right time right place. My husband Phil had just got a full time position as an instructor and we had to move from the Lakes. The bosses knew I had some commercial background and asked me to send in a CV if I was interested in a part-time position in marketing. It all happened so quickly that I hadn't even thought about what I was going to do, so I jumped at it because I wanted to stay in touch with the outdoor industry.
How long did it take? I came up on a Tuesday night, saw Tim (boss 1) and Nigel (boss 2) for a chat on the Wednesday morning and started on the Friday. Now that is efficient. It was fast because I started as a freelancer rather than on a contract.
Any hardships? Having to resist the cake everyday at teatime......it is tough on a girl with a sweet tooth and low metabolism!
Did you always want it or did it just happen? Since getting into the outdoor world, I have never planned the next job, they have always just happened and this was no exception.
What attracted you to the job in the first place? I had been on a course at Glenmore Lodge and loved it. Phil would be working there, the location was amazing and I loved the idea of a new challenge in the industry I had grown so passionate about.
How long have you been in the job now? 3 years.
How long do you see yourself continuing? Until I stop wanting to go into work or an opportunity that I can't resist comes along. At the moment neither of them are on the horizon. Maybe I am getting old and settling down.......no!!!!!!!
Describe your average day at work? And the average week? A summer day would mean cycling into work over the Ryvoan Pass from Aviemore (probably the most beautiful commute in the world) and getting to my desk for about 10am. A short cycle in along the Cairngorm road gets me in for work by 9am. Then I do the email thing until coffee break at 11am with the team. Then I will have my projects list and deadlines with different urgent levels to tackle like advertising, articles, image banks events. I inevitably go into the instructors office to ask an opinion about something like developing some of their ideas, to Dave (finance) to ask about how much more I can sponge for marketing, to the office to ask about bookings and to Tim....just to wind him up. Lunchtime tends to be a sociable affair either inside or outside or sometimes I go out for a ride on the bike with some of the gang. The afternoon is more of the same with meetings or phone chats with dvd producers, designers and sponsors. Then all tools down at 4:30 for tea and cake, recharge by listening to what a good day everybody has had on their courses and finish between 5- 6pm. Then if it is dry a bunch of us or just Phil and I will go off cragging or for a bike ride. I am getting back into paddling so I may have to start using the rivers more now.
A week is a repeat of the day apart from the management team meeting on Fridays where all the heads of each department catch up on news gossip and compare notes...then we talk about work.
Is it how you/other people imagine it to be? I think people are not surprised at the relaxed approach in the office as it is an inherent part of the Lodge atmosphere. Everybody works hard and does more than there hours but not at the expense of the banter.
The best day? The Bike Fest Day 2007 was a perfect day. The sun was shining, we had over 500 people of all ages on bikes either doing the competition, workshops or just playing on the mini obstacle course. There were ice creams and bouncy castles, music and the whole of the Lodge team just pulled it all together. Each department had been asked to go the extra mile as we had never hosted an event like this and it was brilliant! I had a loud speaker too, what more could I have wanted?
The worst day? Can't think of one off the top of my head. I have had the odd frustrating day but nothing worth writing about.
Why is it great being a Marketing Manager and why is it rubbish? It is great because you can see if you are making a difference. It can be quantifiable in terms of bookings and seeing events taking place and ideas come to life. Your own team notice when you have taken their ideas and make them happen. They feel good, you feel good. We have the privileged position of being able to fulfil our role as a national resource to the outdoor industry rather than being financially driven. For me that means I can prioritise projects. For example making a 'not for profit' instructional dvd, or hosting a half price week at the Lodge for volunteers to get training or assessments. The list goes on. It feels worthwhile. It also means you work with absolutely every department and every area of the industry as marketing effects everybody. No, I do not just sit in my office drawing pictures.
It is rubbish because you will never please everybody in marketing. It is almost impossible and because everybody sees your work, you will always have lots of opinions. Having said that, I thrive off it and as long as my ego isn't too battered, I tend to take on a lot of 'next time' comments. If you can't take constructive criticism, you won't be opening the door to new ideas .
Do you 'love' your job? Why? Why not? Yes I love my job for all the reasons above and the fact Tim gives me such freedom as long as I get the job done.
If a teenager said to you 'I want to be a Marketing Manager, like you' – what would you say? Recommend it? Warn them off? Laugh?!
Probably feel a tad intimidated if they were using me as a role model! I would recommend it but with a qualification that they need to market something they are passionate about. If you love the subject, the job can feel like a hobby. If you don't it may just be a job and no more. You also have to thrive on deadlines, as there are lots of them.
Any tips and advice on how to get to where you've got to? Try different opportunities before fixing on one area. Marketing touches every area of a business, so time doing different things all counts towards it. I do not see it as a career you need to be in for years before you are any good, it is probably the other way round. Know life outside marketing and you may have a more rounded approach to it.
Any friends through work? Nearly all of our friends have come through work since moving to the Cairngorms. We all go out and play together. It is kind of predictable, as we all love the outdoors and about 40 + people work here. Through them and the odd social at Tesco (social nucleus of Aviemore) we have met loads of others too......even people that do not own a fleece, Can you imagine?
Any amazing stories? I think the fact the Lodge has been here for 60 years and seems to be going through another Golden era is pretty amazing. It would be easy to do the same things for year after year but there always seems to be new things to do in the adventure world . We are an ever evolving beast!
And finally - What's your dream job? Why? I think I am in it for now. I have had a few dream jobs where I don't need the alarm to get me up in the morning and each one was right for that time in my life. I couldn't do what I did in Nepal now with the same energy. I would not have been ready for this job 10 years ago. So, who knows what the dream job is next but for now, marketing at the Lodge is perfect. I love the whole reason we exist, the team is great, the facilities are superb which automatically makes my job easy to do. Along with that, I get loads of freedom and time off to play and I work with my husband .....I am living the dream!
Pauline's website: www.paulinesanderson.co.uk