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Lauren looks back on getting started

It’s taken two months for the dust to settle, two months for the enormity of being involved in The Marketing Academy to finally hit home. At first, it’s difficult to comprehend that you will get to meet some of the most respected and exciting marketing minds in the country, let alone learn from them. You’d think this would be enough to be getting on with, but then there are the numerous opportunities to experience and develop across the full spectrum of marketing disciplines to contend with, learning from some of the most talented people in the industry, as well as having access to a lovely coach to work alongside you and make sure you are getting the most out of your experience. Oh, and the small matter of being developed into one of the leaders of tomorrow.

Not much to wrap your mind around, and not something I managed to overcome on my introduction to The Marketing Academy on its opening night. Only a few days after finding out I was one of the lucky 28 to be selected to spend a year in marketing heaven, I was shepherded into a room with my fellow scholars, where we all smiled nervously and asked one other what to expect. Being part of the inaugural year, none of us knew, but we soon found out. Introduced to a room full of marketing legends and professional coaches, the excitement in the room was palpable. Never have I seen so much passion in one room, with everybody involved coming together and giving their time and expertise to develop the ‘young marketing talent’ we were offering up. Mind blowing stuff.

I was hoping that boot camp would provide a bit more of a grounding. Three days with the fantastic people who dreamt up The Marketing Academy finding out exactly what was in store for all involved, and three days with my fellow scholars, the only people on earth who had any idea what I was feeling. The first day, all sat assembly style in a room overlooking the beautiful green lawns of the CIM, we found out exactly what we were in for.

With a bucketful more charisma than any head teacher I’ve ever seen, the founder of the academy, Sherilyn Shackell introduced us to Andy Knowles from JKR, one of the faculty partners with great insights into package design (who also do a wicked design blog here); Katherine Tulpa from Wisdom8 who explained how our coaching sessions would benefit us and acquainted us with our personal coaches; and Amanda Mackenzie from Aviva, an engaging and inspirational woman, who sat and shared her experiences with us on everything from dressing at work to building relationships with agencies or clients, all with a lovely smile and a great deal of wit.

A great start to boot camp, but what came over the following two days made an incredible impact, and provided the best base from which to make the most of all the amazing experiences and learning opportunities I will be exposed to. The Personal Leadership Programme, developed by Penny Ferguson, brought to light the importance of taking responsibility, communicating and listening, developing your self-awareness and most importantly being yourself in order to be a great leader, and it’s the lessons learnt here that I keep on coming back to in all my experiences, not only with The Marketing Academy, but at work and in my personal life as well.

 So, two months down the line, the lessons have begun to sink in a little, and I am starting to find my feet. No less nervous perhaps, but a lot more prepared, and increasingly excited and eager to make as much of this opportunity as I can. And give back, of course.

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The Scholarship – a 9 month, free, part time program for 30 of the UK’s fastest rising stars in Marketing, Advertising, Media and Communications.

The Fellowship – Equips CMOs and Marketing Directors with the tools, knowledge and insight to make the move onto Boards and into General Management / MD / CEO roles.

12 month full paid Marketing Apprenticeship for young adults who because of challenging backgrounds, lack qualifications or poor life choices are normally overlooked for this kind of work experience