Youngest Trustee in SportsAid history (other alumni of the charity have included Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Bradley Wiggins), and award winning Marketing Manager. Read how Bucks graduate Steve Perry secured and combines these roles.
Name: Steve Perry
Job Titles: Digital Marketing Manager, Development Manager, Charity Trustee
Studied: BA (Hons) Sports Industry Management and Football Studies
(Following year worked as Vice President for Student Activities – elected officer for the Students’ Union)
Who do you work for, and what are your roles?
Digital Marketing Manager – B P Collins Solicitors. I am responsible for implementing the firm’s digital marketing and business development strategy – as well as being a general supporting marketeer for the rest of the team.
Development Manager for the Bucks Sporting Lunch Club network – 150 senior business decision makers all coming together to raise money for SportsAid. The group is designed to help aspiring local Olympic / Paralympians achieve their sporting dreams. It was great that Bucks New University were a sponsor as it allowed me to make contact with previous lecturers.
Trustee for SportsAid (National charity for sport) – I am currently the youngest ever trustee at 35 years old. SportsAid alumni include Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Tom Daley, Greg Rutherford and so on….
What is involved in your day-to-day work?
Website management, social media, email campaigns, digital brand management, advertising and content, strategy, competitor research, SEO.
What have been your main career achievements to date?
Becoming CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) qualified at Diploma level – a qualification taken at the same time as working – which took a year.
It has taken 8.5 years to go from Marketing Assistant, to Digital Marketing specialist for a large regional law firm.
Personally, I am also very proud of being a London 2012 GamesMaker, and extremely proud to have been approached to become a trustee and to shape the future of SportsAid as a charity, both locally and nationally.
How has your qualification from Bucks helped your career?
It provided me with the stepping stone to bypass the CIM Certificate course and complete a more challenging course aimed at management. My law firm paid for this, a clear example of investing in me longer-term, which I have repaid with my continued career with them.
In the first year of my degree I was extremely thankful for the university for allowing me to do the Level 2 Coaching badge in Football. It allowed me to work for Wycombe Wanderers FC and abroad for a sports travel company. I did get a job offer in Boston, USA to become a football coach out there, but for personal and career reasons I chose to go another direction.
My degree is also vital now in understanding SportsAid and its connections with Sport England National Governing Bodies for each sport.
The IT elements of the course were also essential. Knowing Microsoft packages and design software made me an IT expert in the law firm.
Upon reflection, what skills did your qualification give you that help in your job?
Despite the qualification being football related, there was still a good variety of modules which included learning about businesses in general. We also completed modules on marketing, receiving excellent tutoring. All of these additional elements of the curriculum ensured that I received a wide ranging exposure to how businesses operate. Skills that would prove valuable once my first career choice opportunities were reassessed.
What advice would you give to a student who is about to graduate into your role/industry?
Have your dream job in mind, but make sure you do the steps during your study to ensure you get it. Due to the amount of graduate competition you need to be prepared to think laterally and get your dream job in future years. Think long-term in how a side step can get you where you want to be. When I took the job in the law, I did not envisage sport becoming such a huge part of my role and open doors to things like becoming a trustee. Sport and Business are intrinsically linked and often a great place to have business development conversations. It started by getting our staff more active, then an approach to become sponsors of the network for SportsAid. I also organise football, cricket and golf matches between relevant organisations to help build long-term relationships and referrals.
Are there any misconceptions about your role/industry that you would like to address?
Not every level of sport related work is well-paid enough to pay off your student loan and debts, so ensure you do your research first and network in circles where your own “personal brand” can be enhanced. Likewise, marketing is going through a transition of become “chartered” and vital to business growth. The more qualified marketeers that reach high areas of a business organisation, the better the culture is likely to be. Lots of people still think marketing is a cost, but with analytics and return on investment (ROI), we have to find a way to justify our spend. Be prepared to have to think long-term in helping to change culture.
What advice would you pass on to your first year self?
I would have ensured I did more work experience in the sports industry to allow me to seamlessly move from university to full time employment. I should have approached the Bucks County Council and neighbouring councils and worked for them during the summer.
I would also tell myself to not assume life will provide you with amazing opportunities. Make it happen and allows others to see the value in you. Senior people can then invest in you and open doors you may not have even considered.
My mantra is to always learn – do not get into a position where you are comfortable and can’t make a difference – push your boundaries.
Please tell us anything else about you, your time at Bucks, your industry or role that will be of interest.
In 2012 I was a GamesMaker at the Paralympics. Certainly my sport and business background helped me secure that role. I knew when London won the bid that I needed to be there and applied early enough to make it happen. Some of the best weeks of my life involved being positioned in the athletes village and going to the opening and closing ceremony due to working for the IPC (International Paralympic Committee). I wrote a blog of my experiences.
B P Collins Solicitors became the 6th most influential law firm on Twitter. I introduced social media to the firm strategically back in 2009, due to my keen interests in technology. More can be seen here.
I’ve also mentored a student team at Bucks New University which won an apprentice challenge. I volunteered my business coaching and mentoring skills, as well as the firm providing sponsorship to the university.