Interview with Bethanie Mardon, Senior Creative Strategist, influencer and stylist
We’ve interviewed hundreds of talented women (and men) in our time. But few wear as many hats as Bethanie Mardon, Senior Creative Strategist at RocketMill, influencer, former PR business owner, author, ecommerce business owner, stylist and mum. We decided to find out exactly what Bethanie does – and why!
What’s your career background?
OK, are you ready?
I started in journalism as Beauty Editor for a regional lifestyle magazine. There, I honed my skills in fashion styling and promotions too. Since it was a small business, a multi-faceted skillset and approach was essential.
I moved into PR, working in the press office for Boots Ltd. where I got all my communications training. However, not enjoying the corporate limitations as I then saw them, I branched out to set up my own PR Company at the age of 23. There were so many skeptics asking, ‘are you sure you’re ready?’ ‘what if you fail?’ I just told them that I’m not afraid of failing and was going to give it my best shot.
I started the firm from my spare bedroom, moving into offices in Covent Garden two years later. I ran it for five years before returning to my first love of writing.
Loooooong story short, I realised my dream of becoming an author with the release of my book, The Modern Girl’s Guide to Fabulousness, curated content for a number of print and digital publications and brands, merged my skills in content, promotion and styling and consulted for brands across the globe.
Today, you can find me working at the multi-award winning digital marketing agency, RocketMill. I’m the Senior Creative Strategist, shaping clients UK brand and communication strategies and working to develop the propositions for influencer marketing and Digital PR. You can see what a great fit this is for me.
Because I must be addicted to work, I also style women, write a blog, make videos for my YouTube channel and run a cheeky ecommerce side business, Cafe of Curiosities, selling sweary and uplifting slogan mugs and tote bags. Phew, no wonder I love merlot so much.
How did your career change after having children?
It changed in every way. This is my personal take of course, but when you become a parent, everything changes. Everything. I experienced an identity crisis after having both of my children. Who am I? What do I want now? What is best for them? Should I work at all? I feel so guilty. What has happened to my boobs?
I worked for myself for around 15 years so I had the beauty of flexibility and freedom to a degree, which worked well with motherhood, and personally – I will always want to work. I have a career I’ve worked hard to build and I don’t want to let that go.
My parents have always had a high work ethic and I was raised with parents who worked full time. To me, that is the norm. It inspired me to work hard for what you want in life. Through them, I saw that life can be hard but if you want something enough, you have to go out and get it, opportunity doesn’t fall into your lap. This is what I want to pass onto my children.
Luckily, RocketMill offers flexible working giving you a number of time options to start and finish, plus they always consider your personal needs. This is companywide and for me, placing my family as my number one priority has never been questioned, it has been respected and even applauded. Besides, no one focuses, prioritises and performs like a parent right? With flexible working, you don’t feel like you’re playing catch up on life, you can design your work around it and in tandem instead.
One of the reasons I feel so at home there is because they realise you are a person, not a robot. They promote a bullshit-free healthy work-life balance; leading from the top. The CEO, Sam Garrity leaves at a fixed time every day while proudly declaring, ‘bye everyone, I’m going home to see my family’, encouraging us to also.
With stats such as 81% of senior managers believing flexible working improves productivity, I find it hard to understand why other employers don’t offer this more readily, especially with an increasing demand. Initiatives such as Flex Appeal by Anna Whitehouse and Working Forward are looking to change this which I fully support.
It is highly refreshing and for me as a working mum, incredibly helpful. I can play a bigger part in my kids daily lives and actually have an evening or afternoon with my family or just by myself, or you know – just catch up on life – as opposed to being a slave to my job. I actually work harder and with more passion because of it.
What has been your biggest achievement at RocketMill so far?
My highlight has to be the talk I did at Google HQ recently to 250 people.
I’ll level with you, I jumped at the chance and grabbed the opportunity with both hands but my reality is rather different to the dream of standing on a stage, presenting to an audience of marketeers and representing an agency I truly believe in.
As a parent of two young children, my day starts with cleaning bottoms, yelling ‘be careful’ too many times and bopping to unique renditions of Baby Shark while applying my makeup. Then one morning, I proceeded to Google HQ to stand before a large audience and share my knowledge on strategic thinking.
I felt very humbled by the opportunity and, although many people commented that I didn’t seem nervous when giving my talk, of course I bl**dy was. But I’m adamant on never letting a great opportunity pass you by, especially if it takes you a step closer to what you’ve always dreamed of. Besides, diving in, standing out and being bold is not only fun; it gets you noticed.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think I have just one! I feel balancing a career with parenthood is a constant obstacle. On a daily basis, there is a new challenge, emotion, demand or thought process to contend with. How do I cope with that? I work hard, be kind, drink coffee and look at life through a lens of hope and optimism.
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
- Just do YOU – don’t imitate, innovate. Your tone of voice, your style, your way is what will get you noticed and eventually, be in demand for.
- If you don’t ask, you don’t get – you don’t have to be an extrovert to get noticed or to get what you want but be sure to voice your opinion and ask questions. It will help you to progress. Count to three, take a deep breath and dive in.
- Just have fun okay – don’t forget to have fun. The sad truth is, it’s all too easy to do so, so schedule fun in if you have to, but always make time for it. It will keep you sane, keep your relationships on track and balance out all that hard work, making you more productive in the long run.
As you can imagine, Bethanie has a few links to her name! So we thought it would be easier to list them for you: