Inspiring Reigatian: Melinda Greenacre
Melinda Greenacre (RGS 2000-2005) shares her advice for getting on in the fashion and lifestyle industry – advice that ultimately applies to most jobs: be polite, professional and positive!
Please briefly describe your journey from RGS to your current role.
I went to Exeter University to study English Literature, and during that time did a lot of extra-curricular stuff – ran my own magazine, organised events, etc – and having that experience got me my first internship at Juicy Couture, working in marketing and PR. The three-month stint got me a full-time job there, which started a nine-year career spanning marketing, advertising, digital and PR within the fashion and lifestyle industry. I wanted a change last year so am now working in brand marketing in fitness.
What would your advice be to others wanting to get into your field?
Be polite and professional to everyone you meet, no matter what. The industry is very small and reputations stick, and you never know where people will end up in five years time.
Based on your experience, what more could be done to achieve equality in your working environment?
Until fathers are given more than two weeks of paternity leave we will never have true equality in the workplace. But in terms of what we can actually control beyond governmental change, better support and understanding for working mothers is something that needs to improve on a company and cultural level. I’ve witnessed far too many occasions of mothers needing to tend to their children being sick or having some sort of emergency situation as being seen as slackers and not taking their jobs seriously by their own team members.
How do you balance work and life?
To be honest I’ve only really managed that since I’ve started earning enough money that I can actually afford to live and go on holiday – and that took about five years, being in the fashion industry and living in London. It’s really hard when you start out. But now I’ve got to a level of confidence and head space that I can mostly leave work at work, and rest when I’m out of the office.
What inspires or motivates you?
I am inspired by doing work that puts something good into the world, and by doing the best I can to support my team and the colleagues around me to develop and grow. I definitely have a factor of “break the glass ceiling” in mind.
What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome thus far?
Being made redundant twice in nine months within the first few years of my career was awful. I had no money, and always too much experience or not enough. I got through it and got a very key job in my career after the second time though, so it worked out in the end, and I am very good at job interviews as a result, having had so much practice in a short space of time!
What would you say is your greatest achievement to date?
My current company has been through a lot of tumultuous changes in leadership, and recently the entire marketing team and people from other departments clubbed together to buy me a gift to say thank you for “being a guiding light” to everyone and staying positive and supportive throughout the changes. It means the world to me that I can positively impact the people I work with – it was quite overwhelming to be recognised like that.
Where do you hope to be five or ten years from now?
I hope to be working in something that’s helping to make the world a better place, in a position where I can help shape the culture of the company to make it an inclusive, diverse and inspiring place from women and men of all backgrounds.
What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?
Stay curious, read and try as many things as possible, and don’t worry about not being good at maths!
Follow this link to see all our Inspiring Minds activity in support of International Women’s Day 2020.