In her lunch hour, Charlotte Evans can easily go out of her office and feed Highland cattle or watch rare breed lambs being born - in fact it is encouraged by her managers.
Only four years after graduating from Lancaster with a First Class degree in Marketing, Charlotte has landed what she sees as her dream job as Marketing Executive at Adam Henson’s award-winning Cotswold Farm Park, Gloucestershire. She says: “The only thing I’d ever wanted was to work somewhere with an animal focus and to do something that was my passion.”
Her main responsibility is handling the Farm Park’s digital activities and working closely with farmer and BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson and his team, to bring in visitors. The attraction holds one of the the most extensive collections of rare and native farm animals in the UK. As part of a team of more than 50 people, she also has to support other areas of the business such as marketing the holidays and promoting popular events such as lambing, bottle feeding and the October Pumpkin Festival.
She says: “The culture is completely different from anything I’ve encountered before. It’s like a big family and it feels as if the managers are on the same level as you.”
Charlotte’s rapid climb up the career ladder is all the more remarkable, because she arrived at Lancaster without A levels, having done a vocational course leading to two diplomas in Animal Management and Business at Reaseheath College, Cheshire after her GCSEs.
As a self-avowed ‘driven person’, Charlotte realised that courses with animals gave her limited opportunities for career progression, even though she adored equestrian and country pursuits. She’d had a taster of studying business, so set her sights on doing a degree at the Management School, because of its reputation for excellence. The open day confirmed her hunch and she was offered a place.
Although she rapidly settled into Furness and threw herself into as many societies as possible to make friends, the academic set up was quite a shock to her system.
“I had never done exams during my diplomas and had no idea of the expectations,” she explains. “I ended up working very hard to achieve the grades I wanted.”
She found the Marketing Society a big help as students further down the line would hold sessions on how to approach subjects. The marketing school also had writing sessions to coach on the different styles expected as Charlotte says: “What was required was very different from what I was used to. I had to learn the best way to communicate in essays and to get my point across.”
Every opportunity she had at Lancaster, she used to her advantage: she honed her social media skills as Social Media Ambassador for the Management School, she developed networking skills as part of the Capital Connections Programme for under-represented groups of students, and she became a marketing ambassador for the Management School to boost undergraduate recruiting. She volunteered to show students around on open days and as President of the Project Management Society she was involved in two large collaborative events with Korean and Japanese students on campus.
Volunteering is still an important part of her life, as a member of Chester Zoo Youth Board, which involves supporting the zoo to develop its programmes to appeal to teenagers and young adults. She also manages the publicity for Chipping Norton’s Riding for the Disabled charity.
She had arrived at university unaware of what opportunities might be available after graduation. An internship in her second year gave her the chance to see marketing in a real-world context at a small agency in Cheshire called Gumpo, where she saw the power of online marketing activities.
Her first job after graduation was at an agency in Kendal called FlexMR, which taught her about agency culture, how to work with clients and about the commercial aspects essential to working with companies of all sizes up to the ‘big boys’ like Unilever.
Going to work for Charlotte is a joy, and she acknowledges the part that her years at Lancaster played in landing her her dream job. “It taught me always to try something new,” she explains. “Most of all, it helped me to turn my strengths into something saleable so that I can work at what I enjoy the most - as I am doing today.”Back to News