Businesses don’t do business with other businesses – people do business with people. Whether you’re the brand or you’re representing a brand, you need to know the ‘who’ behind the name.
So this is me – the main force behind DigitalJen. Why no ‘corporate’ headshot? Well, this is probably the most ‘me’ picture I have – I love being outside in the sunshine, I generally have a pair of glasses on and one on my head (so I know where they are) and the windswept look is one that I seem to adopt most of the time. The only things that are missing from this picture are me holding either my phone to keep on top of social media, my camera or a cup of tea.
Although I do the majority of the work myself, I have a team of friends/professionals around me who can help with the bits that I can’t do – be that design, advanced tech support or a particular piece of training. If I can’t help, I probably know someone who can.
Having graduated from the University of Hull with a BMus(Hons) in 1996 I headed back ‘down south’ and started a career in Arts Administration with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (the people who run the Graded music exams). True to form, the streets of London are not paved with well paid Arts Admin jobs and I found being a data entry clerk pretty boring – so headed back out to suburbia and settled back in St Albans – where I’d grown up.
I took a sales support post at a company who, at the time, were the biggest competitor to BT when it came to payphones (remember those..?) and enjoyed several years there working in all sorts of departments including sales administration, fraud investigation, operational liaison with sub-contractors, IT management systems, service management and pretty much anything else that got thrown at me. Then mobile phones arrived on the scene – it was time to move on.
The next few years were spent within the domestic lighting manufacturing industry – as key account service manager looking after customers including BHS, Homebase, Toys R Us, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer. More varied work including delivering in-store training sessions to John Lewis staff, supply chain logistics, electronic order management and everything else that goes with looking after large accounts like this.
Seriously considering a career change, I briefly moved to the ‘other side of the fence’ and became a buyer of giftware and cards for an independent garden centre before returning to service management – working for the Institute of Sales & Marketing Management running the operations side of their Awarding Body who offered vocational qualifications in sales and marketing.
This role was most definitely varied and saw me lecturing University students on the benefits of working in sales, sitting on the Marketing & Sales Standards Setting Body for England & Wales, working on advisory panels for QCA, assessing sales training and writing qualifications – as well as looking after the practical side of colleges and companies delivering the qualifications and exams. I left there in 2005 to go on maternity leave during which I completed my Level 5 Diploma in Strategic Sales – specialising in Key Account Management – passing with Distinction.
Two children later and I went back to work – joining the British Band Instrument Company working in export sales. Back to my musical roots, here I honed my skills in shipping musical instruments of every shape and size to every possible corner of the world. Through UKTI, I got to study Export Sales & Marketing at Cass Business School (University of London) and specialised further in business ethics and digital marketing – especially those elements that relate to international trade.
I also started a blog (which necessitated a steep and thrilling learning curve relating to social media) and discovered my love of writing and photography – started developing WordPress websites, taking more photographs and working with a few local businesses to help them get online.
Now here I am – Digital Jen – out there on my own working with small businesses in and around St Albans – mixing all those skills together and doing what I love.