"No two days are the same"
Published: 02 Mar 2016
Name: David Smillie
Job Title: Fundraising and marketing manager
Works At: Mental Health Aberdeen (MHA)
Qualifications: MSc International Marketing and Management; BA (Hons) Publishing with Journalism
WHAT DOES YOUR JOB INVOLVE?
I am based at Mental Health Aberdeen’s central office and form part of a small and close knit team. This means we all get stuck in with whatever is going on around the office on any given day if and when needed. On a normal day my daily duties involve managing and overseeing fundraising, marketing and public facing activities for the charity.
The great thing about my job is that I’m never doing the same thing two days in a row. One day I might be writing annual reports and liaising with members of the public about fundraising activities, the next I might be meeting with companies to discuss mental health challenges, or working with print and TV journalists on a topic connected to mental health issues in the north-east of Scotland.
WHAT IS YOUR JOBS BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
My biggest challenges at MHA are also some of the most exciting aspects of my job. The marketing and fundraising manager role is a varied one which requires me to wear many different hats over the course of a day. Working with companies, members of the public and professionals from a range of sectors each requires a different approach.
Over the course of an hour, I might go from updating our social media pages to working on a redesign of our marketing materials and then onto a meeting with a local business. Although I enjoy these aspects of the role, they all have to be approached with a different voice and target audience in mind. Juggling this many varied tasks at the same time can be very challenging but it is rewarding.
BEST THING ABOUT YOUR ROLE?
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the best thing about my role is being able to get a first-hand view of the work the charity does for those struggling with mental health issues and knowing that I am a part of that. Being relatively new in post here at MHA, my first few months have been extremely educational in terms of learning about the struggles those suffering from mental ill health face on a daily basis.
Although the subject of mental health is receiving a growing amount of attention in the media, we still have a long way to go in terms of dispelling stereotypes and stigmas connected to the illness. I get to be a part of that, which is really exciting.
BEST CAREER ADVICE?
When it comes to getting a job, graduates will find themselves up against a lot of qualified and experienced individuals. More than ever, it is really tough to stand out from the crowd. It is up to you to show employers that you are worth taking a chance on.
Getting a degree is fantastic but employers are often looking for more than that, so find something you are passionate about and go and do it. In the marketing and communication sector that could mean starting a blog, freelance writing or creating podcasts, scripts and videos. You will enjoy doing it and learn a great deal at the same time. By doing that, when someone offers you the chance you need, you are there and ready to smash it out of the park.
WHAT’S YOUR DREAM?
I suppose at 28, the dream of playing for Aberdeen or Manchester United has now passed me by. From a professional standpoint though, when the time comes to leave a position or task, I want to be able to take a look at it and say that it is in a better place because of my connection to it.
When my working life comes to an end, if I can look back at my career and be able to honestly say that an organisation is in a better place as a result of having me on board, as well as having had the opportunity to live and work abroad, I will be very happy.