29 Aug Behind the scenes: interview with our Director of Sales and Marketing, Harriet
Harriet joined City Relay in February 2018 as a marketing manager. She was recently promoted Director of Sales and Marketing, taking control over both of those key departments. We were really looking forward to interviewing her and learning more about this exciting challenge!
Ariane: First of all, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us today! So how does it feel to become the Director of Sales and Marketing and how have you been in this new role?
Harriet: Marketing has always been my specialty. It has been my primary focus for many years and I’ve always loved it! However, my new position has been a really exciting challenge and I am really loving it. I am really enjoying adding sales and business development into my skillset and I have become extremely invested in both sides of the department. I am a strong believer that there is always a lot to learn. It’s very interesting to see the full pipeline and manage the whole process from acquiring leads to converting them into clients.
Ariane: What do you believe are the fundamental skills to work in sales and marketing?
Harriet: There is a phrase that always remains in the back of my mind from Gary Vaynerchuck, a very successful businessman, and in my view the king of marketing! He said: “The best marketing strategy ever: care”.
This sentence sums up everything: once you’re fully invested in what you do, that’s how you can develop great ideas and overcome obstacles because you truly care about your company’s success. In addition, by understanding that not everyone’s the same as you, you are able to really dig deep and understand your customers, care about them and consequently find the best ways to engage them.
Ariane: We’d like to know more about your story. How did you end up working in marketing in the first place?
Harriet: I don’t know where to start! To be honest, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to work in marketing from the very beginning! When I was 17, I decided that I was done with education. I wanted to enter the world of work. I was very attracted by the fashion industry and I was even accepted in the Central London Fashion Retail Academy. At the very last minute, I realised that I didn’t want to be stuck in one specific sector and I changed my mind. I decided to finish school, move to London, pass my A-Levels and get a degree in Business Management instead. After I finished my degree at Westminster Business School I had a very tough decision to make. Whilst I longed to stay in London close to my friends, I was very aware that London was a very expensive place to live- especially as a new graduate in a highly saturated market. I finally made the decision to bite the bullet and move home to Derbyshire, live with my parents and seek out employment there.
Once back home, I sat down with my parents and the inevitable question arose- “What do you want to do?” I thought long and hard about it and finally came to the conclusion that there were two parts of my degree i particularly enjoyed, Company Law and Digital Marketing. As you can see I pursued the latter!
I sat down one day, worked on my CV and researched all of the digital marketing companies in Derby. I then got in my car, drove to the city centre and literally went and knocked on the doors of businesses. I invited business owners out for a coffee in exchange for picking their mind on the industry and ultimately what came to be my favourite subject! One of the business owners that I met then invited me to come and join his team as a Digital Marketing Executive… and so my love affair with marketing began!
Ariane: How did you hear about City Relay and how did you make your decision to join the team?
Harriet: It was completely out of the blue! At that time, I wasn’t even looking for a job. I was freelancing, doing digital marketing for companies like Errol Douglas. I had forgotten that I left my resume on Hosco, the platform for hospitality jobs. As I was scrolling through my emails and deleting most of the junk I noticed that I had received a personal message through Hosco. Something inside said that I should take a look at this one and that it might be an interesting opportunity. It was actually a message from Anna, our HR manager! After meeting her and Maxime and learning more about the position, it wasn’t hard to make up my mind. I had always worked with hotels but the Airbnb model was massively growing and I was really interested in entering the vacation rental sector … and there I was, 3 weeks later!
Ariane: What do you enjoy the most about working at City Relay?
Harriet: There are a number of things that make every day very special when working at City Relay. The first thing is the team, it’s such an amazing opportunity to be surrounded with such great, hardworking and inspiring people who I not only consider as colleagues but also as friends. The other thing that I love about City Relay is the company vision and ethos. It’s such an exciting time for us and there is such growth potential for both City Relay and the industry as a whole!! It’s safe to say that no two days are ever the same at City Relay and this is one of the reasons I love coming to work every morning!
Ariane: How do you choose the people who are working in your team?
Harriet: I choose people who are passionate about what they do and who continuously seek to learn new skills. For me, determination and passion override all else. I especially love entrepreneurial mindsets, people who can think outside of the box. Finally, of course, creativity is also a key asset!
Ariane: What inspires you in your daily life?
Harriet: I have already mentioned him, but Gary Vaynerchuk is really one of my biggest inspirations. I follow him and his work very closely, I love his no nonsense and straightforward approach to things.
However, the person that has inspired me the most throughout my life is my dad. He is the one that I have always looked up to because he built so much from nothing! He started from a simple background, studied music at university and consequently became a concert pianist. One day his own dad told him he needed to get ‘a proper job’. Through sheer hard work and determination, he changed course and self-trained as an accountant and eventually became a partner at PWC. Many years later he became a very successful businessman with his own corporate restructuring company.
To me, he is really the existing proof that you create your own opportunities and that with hard work, you can achieve anything.
Ariane: As you’ve become a true Londoner now, do you have any favourite spots to recommend?
Harriet: First of all, let me stop you…. I am a Derbyshire girl through and through! But it is true that having lived here for almost 8 years I do know London very well! West London is definitely my favourite. One place that I enjoy going to is the V&A museum, it’s so peaceful and fascinating. I always try and go every few months and see the various exhibitions! I was at college in South Kensington so most of my lunchtimes were spent there too! Hampstead Heath is also one of my favourite places, I go there on Sunday with my other half and my dog Snoop. We can wander around for hours whilst Snoop tires himself running about- it’s wonderful!
Ariane: What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?
Harriet: Love Island… and I’m not even sorry! It is a full addiction. I even bought the water bottle!
Ariane: If there is one movie that would sum you up, what would it be?
Harriet: Legally Blonde, without a doubt! Elle Woods is amazing! It’s true proof that no matter what people think, a lot of hard work, passion, determination and some killer outfits can go a long way! In addition to that, just like Elle, I have my very own sidekick- my little puggle Snoop!
We hope that you enjoyed this interview with our Director of Sales and Marketing! Stay tuned for the next interview with another key member of the City Relay team!