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How I got here - Georgina Whalley

Internaçionale’s head of marketing says hard work, focus and offering solutions are essential attributes.

What does your diary look like today?

A strategy follow-up with my managing director, briefings with external suppliers for window plans and a meeting with the head of ecommerce.

What task are you most looking forward to today?

Organising the photo shoot for our mainline, which is a favourite part of my job – it’s fun and creative.

What task do you wish you could postpone?

Signing off all the invoices I’m being chased on. I’m trying to sneak in to do them before my meetings.

How did you get to where you are today?

My career has been quite focused. I did a fashion and marketing degree, so it was completely relevant to my chosen career path. My first job was as a buyer’s admin assistant at Dorothy Perkins rather than marketing.

But I realised the job wasn’t quite right for me and I was much more suited to marketing than selecting the product. I then went to work for a marketing agency in an account manager role, followed by positions at Marks & Spencer, Sweaty Betty, Austin Reed, Laura Ashley and now to Internaçionale.

What has been your career highlight?

It was great to be headhunted for this role – though that is generally the case at this level. It’s been really nice to have sole responsibility for setting up the PR and marketing department in London, building the team and setting the strategy. I started only in January so it’s still growing and developing, but going from having an empty bank of desks to a thriving team is exciting.

Who is your mentor?

There have been a few. They’ve all been women, working mums, and they’ve all been fiercely strong, powerful and successful. One is Miss Selfridge creative director Yasmin Yusuf. I worked with her at a couple of different companies and she’s a force to be reckoned with. She’s amazing at what she does and you can learn so much from her. Also Austin Reed Group brand director Ros Giles, who is another strong-willed woman, and Tamara Hill-Norton, the founder of Sweaty Betty.

What was the best piece of advice they ever gave you?

The further up the ladder you get you have to accept that not everyone is going to like you any more. They’re not there to be your friends, and you’re there to deliver a job.

How do you see your career progressing?

I’m ambitious and I would like to be involved in a really strong multichannel campaign, something really big that could put me on the map. Internaçionale is an ambitious company with plans ahead, so I’d like to grow with it and further down the line I’d love to have a director role.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

You have to be focused, know where you want to get to and what your end career goal is, and make sure you take the right roles to get there. Work really hard and don’t take things personally. Offer solutions rather than problems – if you always have a solution, people will always think you’re good at what you do.

Salaries for this position range from £65,000 to £85,000 (estimate by Freedom Recruitment)

CV

2012 Head of marketing, Internaçionale

2008 Head of marketing, Austin Reed Group

2006 Marketing manager, Sweaty Betty

2004 Marketing co-ordinator, womenswear, Marks & Spencer

2001 Account manager, A Plus Marketing

2000 Buyer’s admin assistant, Dorothy Perkins

2000 Graduated – BA Hons, Fashion and Marketing Management, University of Gloucester

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