#GETINSPIRED - SPOTLIGHT ON SPOUSES
Sheralyn Wade - Head of Sales & Marketing at Thirsk Racecourse.
Where are you based and with who (spouse/ family):
I am based in Catterick Garrison along with my husband Tom (Army) and our two dobermans Boogie and Dotty.
What is your career background?
I began in the Horse Racing industry and continued for 12 years. However, I did not see this as a long term career so as difficult a decision it was, I moved into the corporate world of finance. Within this industry I began getting involved in event planning, where I realised a passion for the marketing side and meeting people (not dissimilar to racing, which is incredibly social) and that is where my journey to where I am today began.
Tell us more about your current role; “a day in the life of” :
It is a bit of a cliché but no two days are the same. I get up at 05.30 to walk the dogs and I am in my office by 08.30, by which time I am in desperate need of coffee. I usually run through my emails and deal with any urgent enquiries then start working on whatever projects I have going on. For example I have all of the 2017 literature to design and re-print and I am also in the middle of re-designing our website, so there is a lot of content writing and liaising with our printers. I take a lot of racing hospitality enquiries, I look at sales plans, marketing plans and I am constantly trying to keep our social media content fresh and engaging. There is a lot of planning which goes into each race season, from booking family entertainment, bands and race day themes to supporting sponsors and private hospitality clients, which can be on-going.
I may go off site to a client meeting, a networking event or to go and check out a new potential marketing site. It really is vastly varied.
What do you enjoy most about your role?:
Firstly, laughter. We have a great team that work well together and we always find something to laugh about on a daily basis.
Secondly, the opportunity to be creative, to develop ideas into tangible moments and meeting people from such diverse industries and backgrounds. I am passionate about racing and passionate about marketing so I can honestly say what I love most of all is waking up and really looking forward to heading into the office; I really do love it that much!
How did your career change after having children/ entering married life in the Forces?
Getting married meant dramatic changes for me. From being in a secure and progressive job, I was thrown into this world of knowing I would be handing in my notice within 12 months( longer if I was lucky) and feeling a sense of doom that I would, at some point, become un-employable because I had changed jobs so often. It really put me back in my career progression.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome and how have it/they enabled you (in hindsight) to be where you are today?
Without a doubt, trying to find new jobs that fit with my career/experience, with each move. Many times I have only been employed for approximately 12 months as it takes so long to find a position. I was applying for roles, which were unsuitable out of desperation to 'just be employed': I was being rejected from them all. However, once I took a step back and asked myself what I was doing, I slowed down and started to look for roles that were marketing orientated and things started to slot into place. The challenges of moving are still there but by sticking to the same career path, it has shown potential employers my commitment to my role as a marketeer and has ultimately led me to my current position.
Why is work so important to you?
Why is work important to anyone? It is a very individual thing and for me it is independence and sanity. I have spent periods of time at home when I have not been working and it has not been for me. We do not have children so I had no focus. I am very much the type of person who needs to be challenged and work is the stimulation I need to function and to retain my independence which is hugely important to me.
Who inspires you?
People who never give up and David Attenborough, an amazing man who fell into presenting accidentally and look what he has achieved (so far).
How do you balance work with your family life?
I am very lucky in that my husband and I both appreciate the importance of each others work commitments and that means we accept if we have to sacrifice our down time together. However, when we do have time together we make it count and love nothing more than spending time with our dogs, getting out into the great outdoors. Having the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors on our doorstep means we are spoilt for choice. Our favourite walk is above Arkengarthdale as it really blows away the cobwebs and gives us the opportunity to catch up with each other.
I also make sure I have time to catch up with friends as often as I can and our go to place is Thorpe Perrow Arboretum. We have a great stomp around, catch up on all our news and treat ourselves to a big slice of cake. Military life and work commitments can be all consuming so it is important to take time away.
How do you (if you do!) relax, find time for yourself?
This may sound sad but I love jigsaws. I totally switch off and become focused on finding that ever illusive piece which has usually ended up in the dog! I also like to sneak off for a long hot bath with a good book; I love reading and you cannot beat Jilly Cooper. She is my escapism.
What are your top three pieces of advice for someone wanting to enter the same or similar field as yourself, based on your expertise?
Never feel you have to give up your dreams because of your situation. Hard work and determination means you will get there in the end.
Do not gauge your own success on that of others. You yourself are brilliant.
If you are looking to follow a career into marketing and are finding it difficult, try going into the events industry first. You will often be involved in marketing an event you are involved in and it is a great way to gain experience. It worked for me.