Ally Dowsing-Reynolds | Head of Digital Strategy & Social Media at BrassSunday, 7 February 2016
I meet a lot of amazing people through attending blogging events, Ally is one of them. I knew I had to ask her to take part in #KickAssCareers.
Introduce yourself and what you do...
Hi I'm Ally, I'm Head of Digital Strategy & Social Media at Brass (an advertising agency in Leeds). I basically work with a fab team at Brass Alt to steer the digital strategy for brands like Haribo, Ribena, Sensodyne and L'Oreal.
I'm also Marketing Director for my husband's business, Dowsing & Reynolds, an online lighting and home décor retailer. I coordinate all the marketing activity for the brand.
Just in case that all leaves a spare few minutes in the day (!), I also blog at Digital Diva about fashion, travel and eating out.
What steps did you take to secure your dream career?
My journey wasn't about qualifications. I did get a scholarship through my Mensa IQ score to a prestigious private school, however I was bullied by a horrid girl there and had to leave before taking my A Levels.
I've always been a very determined person and I didn't let it get the better of me. I knew I liked marketing and I had a knack for computers…the Internet was just coming to the mass population, so that's where I went! The Internet was to be my future.
I got a job at an agency called Brand New Media and I taught myself everything by trial and error and inhaling marketing text books. It was the heady days of the start of 'new media' and I was quickly being quoted in trade magazines and working with amazing brands like Heinz and Hula Hoops.
I've been working in digital marketing for nineteen years now, working my way up from being an account exec to being part of the start of an agency to growing an award-wining online media team….to bagging my perfect role, which is the one I have now. I look after a team of social media and digital insight experts, some of the best in their field and I'm very proud of them.
I completed a Masters Degree in Digital Marketing in my spare time a few years ago, mainly because I wanted to finally complete my education! I'm really glad I did it, it was hard work but it felt good to finally graduate.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue the same career?
You need to love digital…I mean REALLY love digital. I'm naturally very curious about new digital channels and spend a lot of my time keeping up to date with how consumers are using channels like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. If you're not that bothered about keeping up with the latest digital trends then this wouldn't be the job for you.
The role calls on a variety of skills, from being very analytical to using the other side of your brain and thinking creatively. Feed both sides of your brain. Read as much as you can, experience life and work hard.
What has been your proudest moment at work to date? (It could be past or present job)
I've had a lot of great moments, I've been lucky to work with a very supportive team of talented people and I think my proudest moments are when we've all achieved things together…winning important pitches that we've all worked hard for.
I was voted one of the top fifty social media professionals in the UK which was pretty cool, but it's always a team effort. Always.
The team at Dowsing & Reynolds are fantastic too…we've achieved a hell of a lot in the past couple of years and we've got a great journey ahead.
Who or what inspires you?
My two bosses at Brass Alt, Paul Mallett and Gill Ball. I've worked with Paul for all nineteen years…he's been an excellent mentor and friend. He's a great lateral thinker. Gill is a fiercely talented #girlboss who works incredibly hard, she's an inspiring lady for sure.
My husband James is also pretty damn inspiring if I'm honest, he is a real go-getter and doesn't let anything stop him from achieving what he wants. I love that.
Last book you read...
Girl On The Train. It was ok, a bit annoying at points (I found the protagonist, Rachel, to be pretty frustrating) but a page turner all the same.
I'm currently reading H For Hawk and finding it slow going, it's got great reviews but I'm struggling a bit with it. I'm looking forward to getting to the end so I can start reading the new David Mitchell (the author, not the comedian). He's my favourite author…Ghostwritten is probably my most loved book ever.
Last album you listened to..
Haim - Days Are Gone. It's my go-to album in the car…a perfect combo of pop, a little bit of rock and great bass lines. I'm also loving the Whiplash soundtrack at home… Crazy jazz drumming.
Mantra in life…
Be passionate about what you do, enjoy the journey and never ever give up.