In the spotlight: an interview with Rowan Usher

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Rowan Usher joined Recruitment Entrepreneur in August 2018 as Marketing Assistant Intern before being promoted to Content Marketing Executive. She has lived and worked in the USA, Thailand, Germany and Lebanon, moving back to London last year. Her role encompasses content production, website development, branding and social media. We discussed the pros and challenges of working for a portfolio of businesses, the importance of a cohesive team culture, and mottos to live by.


You joined the RE marketing team one year ago – what have been your highlights so far?

Working on the website and branding projects for Beeken Reeves, Graham Matthews, Williams Munroe and Urban Connect. It was a completely new set of skills for me to learn and it’s been great working with our web developers Biff Bang Pow to broaden the marketing function to encompass the delivery of these important projects.

The Darwin Hawkins Career Evolution event in Dublin was another highlight. As the portfolio is international, it’s always nice to meet and work with the directors in person. I assisted with all the marketing surrounding the event, as well as making sure it all ran smoothly on the night.


What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

I’ve had quite a few! I’ve worked in a laundry room, as a hotel chambermaid, in a chicken shop… I even sold flowers door to door one summer.


Which quality do you most admire in people?

Optimism. People who always find the funny side of a situation, no matter how bad it is.


The RE marketing team

How have you developed professionally since starting your role at RE?

I started as in intern; this was my first proper job. Working directly with the RE senior management team, as well as in tandem with the 30 portfolio directors, means it’s a steep learning curve but it’s the best way to learn a business from the inside out – in this case all 19 of the portfolio businesses! The variety in work that comes from being part of a portfolio means it’s never stale; there’s a lot of juggling and project management which keeps up on our toes.

As it’s so varied, you have to take on a lot and roll with the punches. I’ve developed a huge amount of confidence in being able to take on projects that aren’t necessarily in my natural comfort zone and having the gumption to deliver them. Sam Proctor, our Group Marketing & Communications Director, is great at giving the team the trust and autonomy to take on new challenges, whilst also being there to lend a helping hand and impart her wisdom.


What would your superpower be?

To be able to freeze time. Mainly so I could sleep in every morning.


How do you support the portfolio companies?

On top of supporting them to develop their brand presence day-to-day through content creation and social media, for larger projects and big company developments we regularly secure coverage in media outlets such as TALiNT International, Recruitment Buzz, The Irish News – it’s always exciting to see your hard work pay off and see their names in print!


What was your favourite childhood book?

Anything and everything by Roald Dahl.


What is your greatest achievement to date?

I ran the Amsterdam marathon last year in aid of a mental health charity.


What was your background prior to joining RE?

I interned at two lifestyle magazines, one in Bangkok and another in Beirut, working in the editorial departments. I wanted to make the move into the corporate world, whilst keeping up the creative side of things. Luckily at RE, a large part of my job is writing content for both RE and the JVs. It’s ideal because it gives me huge scope in terms of different topics and angles to tackle. Most recently, I wrote an article for 360 Search about the future of financial services in Ireland, and a piece on the implications of the Hong Kong protests for the international business community.


What mantra do you try to live by?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. If it’s not going to bother me in a week, there’s no point letting it bother me now. Worrying only means you suffer twice!


Celebrating 60,000 followers on LinkedIn

Do you have any secret talents?

My mum forced me to play the French horn for 8 years.


What’s the marketing team culture like?

We have a very tight culture. It’s a small team but I think that really works in our favour, both inside and outside of work. At work it’s very collaborative – we’re never afraid to ask each other for a favour or an opinion on something. We do regular marketing team socials which are always fun, whether it’s fancy drinks at Fenchurch Sky Garden, an Indian meal on Brick Lane, or a museum exhibition. And we have a solid tea and snacks rota!



What is your most prized possession?

Probably my family photo albums. Minus the awkward teenage years.


What has surprised you most about the role?

How invested I am in the companies we work with, especially the ones who joined the portfolio at around the same time I did. It’s really rewarding supporting them in the early stages and watching them grow to where they are now. On the flip side, it’s great to witness the strides that the more established companies are making – last year I wrote an article about Walter James Director, James Absalom after he became the portfolio’s first £1 million biller.


Which person, living or dead, would be your dream dinner party guest?

I’d love to go for dinner at the Obama's, but I’d want all four of them to be there so I could witness the family dynamic.


Team drinks at Sky Garden

What do you think the RE model’s greatest strength is?

Within the RE team there is a person for every business need; everyone has a set role and value that they add, whatever stage the company is at. Such widespread specialism would take years for a start-up to acquire, not to mention a very large headcount. The RE model gives small start-ups the opportunity to have that level and breadth of experience to hand.


What are you currently reading?

This Is Going To Hurt, by Adam Kay. It simultaneously makes me wish I went into medicine and be very relieved that I didn’t.


What are your main goals for the remainder of the year?

The Euromedica relaunch is a big one – it was founded in 1987 and the branding hasn’t changed much since then! This project has been a great opportunity to show how the brand has changed over the years and reflect its modern vision. We also have the new Walter James, Clarus Education and RE websites scheduled to launch this quarter.


What is your signature dish to cook?

A lamb shank Massaman curry. Although I’m trying to be vegetarian now so I probably need to come up with a new one.


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