Marketing Manager, Innospec
BSc Chemistry (1997), PhD Synthetic Organic Chemistry (2001)

You can be creative and innovative in EVERYTHING you do!

During the final year of my PhD I was fortunate to be offered a research job with what was then ICI Klea in the North West of England. ICI had sponsored my PhD and at one of the many presentations I gave at their offices in Runcorn they asked to interview me for a role in the New Ventures group. Whilst finishing my PhD and writing up my thesis ICI Klea divested and became INEOS Fluor and so in May 2001 I started work researching synthetic routes to small highly fluorinated molecules used as propellants and anaesthetics. During my time at INEOS I was approached by one of the Faraday Partnerships (now Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network) to run a network for Fluorine chemists in the UK, and that really marked the beginning of my passion for marketing. I was organising events, producing newsletters and growing the network all of which I really enjoyed and realised that I could combine the science I'd always loved with the world of promotion and marketing. Following a stint working for the public sector I joined Innospec in 2007 and have worked my up to Marketing Manager for Performance Chemicals where I am responsible for the promotion and marketing for a $100million business.

What is the best thing about what you are doing now?

I get to be creative every day! It's not all about images and taglines, sometimes being creative is just finding a new way of talking about a product or dreaming up new applications for ingredients! 

What was the best thing about your time as a student here?

I loved the freedom that being a student offered. Its the time in your life when you learn most about yourself but you're in the relative security of the university environment - you're never without someone to talk to if that's what you want! My dad passed away whilst I was in the second year of my undergraduate course and the support from both the School of Chemistry and my friends kept me studying – I really think I would have left and gone back home if they'd not been there for me!

In what way did living and studying in Birmingham live up to your expectations?

I'd come to Birmingham from a very small and isolated coastal town far from any big cities and I loved the fact that whilst on campus you felt part of your own little town but just 10 minutes down the road and you could be the bright lights and grit of a modern city!

How did you grow as a person by coming to University? Did it change your life in any way?

I learned to stand on my own two feet! There are so many things that happened during my time in Birmingham that I often think "if that had never happened, or if I didn’t meet that person or take that opportunity I wouldn’t be where I am today"! My whole time there lead me to the person I am today and set the path for me to have a job that I love!

What advice would you give to current students studying on your degree programme?

Get some industrial and commercial experience! Even if you remain the most academic of scientists having a basic knowledge of how businesses work is an advantage. Very little nowadays is done without some cost benefit analysis behind it and knowing how what you're doing impacts those around you can help you in your work. You can be creative and innovative in EVERYTHING you do!