My Career: Find the career path that is right for you

Today we feature Liana Clifford, Brand Manager for Java Republic, in our WoW! My Career
My Career: Find the career path that is right for you

Liana Clifford, Brand Manager of Java Republic

Name: Liana Clifford 

Age: 32

Lives: Ovens, Co. Cork 

Job title: Brand Manager for Java Republic

Salary bracket: I’m renumerated in line with industry standards.

Education background: I originally completed an Undergraduate Degree in Early Childhood Studies, however, after choosing to take a different career path, I completed a Master’s in Management & Marketing in UCC.

Hobbies: I really enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes. I also love taking photographs and have completed some photography workshops and night courses in the last couple of years. 

When I was younger I used to play bassoon and piano with Cork School of Music and was involved with a number of orchestras, but I chose to continue this as more of a hobby in my adult life rather than focusing on it professionally.

Describe your job in five words: Exciting, creative, team-oriented, varied and challenging.

Describe yourself in five words: Kind, resilient, innovative, strong and determined.

Personality needed for this kind of work? In this job, every day is different. That is one of the things I love about it, but it also means that you need to be adaptable. 

Being a people-person is also crucial. The team in Java Republic are one of the most enthusiastic and passionate that I have ever worked with, so it’s important that you fit well into this team spirit.

How long are you doing this job? 2.5 years.

How did you get this job? When I finished school, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do in my career. I ended up starting an Undergrad in Early Childhood Studies in UCC. From very early on into my studies, I knew that it wasn’t for me. However I stuck with the course, got my degree and then decided to take a year out so that I would have more time to explore my options and decide what move I wanted to make next.

The following year happened to be the first year that UCC were offering a conversion Masters in Management & Marketing, so after researching many options and avenues, this is what I settled on. 

It turned out to be the best decision I ever made. 

The programme involved a six-month work placement, which I spent working with the marketing team at Fota Island Resort. I consider myself so lucky that this was my first job on my career path. The team there were amazing, and I felt so proud to be part of a company that is so renowned with luxury and brings real pleasure to its guests and customers. You can imagine how delighted I was when the work placement came to an end and they offered me a full-time position! I stayed with Fota Island Resort for a further two years before my move to Dublin.

For the first year in Dublin I worked with an events company. My job there was to manage marketing campaigns to sell tickets for recruitment events that they held both nationally and internationally. I got to go to Vancouver with the company which was definitely a highlight! It was in this job that I started to focus more on online marketing as opposed to offline. Something that really interested me and excited me was the emmergence of digital marketing and how it was growing and changing at such a phenomenal rate. It may be hard to imagine now, but there was a time when social media marketing wasn’t even a thing!

It was because of my interest in the world of digital that I decided to move from the events company and join a digital marketing agency, where I could really hone my digital skills and become fully immersed in this world. 

The agency I joined was Evolution Digital, a small but brilliant team based in Blackrock in Dublin. This move for me turned out to be a fantastic decision as I was able to surround myself in all of the emerging digital marketing practices and witness the growth and changes as they happened. We worked with a multitude of clients, everything from retail and interior design, to car dealerships and recruitment. This variation was great as it made me super adaptable and taught me so much about many different industries.

After 3.5 years working with Evolution Digital, the role of Digital Marketing Executive with Java Republic arose. It was the right time for me to move as I felt I had gathered so much knowledge with the digital agency, that I would be very confident in bringing these skills to a renowned brand such as Java Republic, and that driving their online presence was something that would really be both exciting and rewarding for me personally. 

I hadn’t worked in the coffee industry before, so there was a lot to learn in that regard, but my eyes were very quickly opened to a whole world that I never knew much about. 

Java Republic’s values of sustainability and CSR were extremely important to me but learning so much about coffee from origin right through to consumer was, not only fascinating, but something that I was instantly proud to be a part of. After 1.5 years working on the company’s digital marketing, I was delighted to take on the role of Brand Manager, a position which I have held for the last year.

Every day really is different at Java Republic and you are always learning new things and finding new ways to do things. Being part of such a passionate team is one of the reasons I love my job and I couldn’t be more proud working with such talented group of people.

Although I have spent a number of years living in Dublin, I am of course a Cork girl through and through. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I have been based back in Cork full-time, working remotely. 

Java Republic’s recent acquisition of our distributor in the South West is very exciting for the whole company, but personally for me as well because I am excited to be able to work a lot closer with the Cork-based team and help drive the brand in the Munster area.

Do you need particular qualifications or experience? A degree in marketing is ideally needed for any marketing role. It is always good to stay on top of the changing trends though so I would recommend that you always read articles, take part in webinars, follow what’s happening in the world of marketing as much as you can. Particularly with digital, things change all the time, and you need to stay on top of it so that you can be ahead of the curve.

Describe a day at work: Like I said, every day is different so it does vary. It depends a lot on what campaigns we have running at the time. If there is something big going on like an origin trip, or perhaps we are launching a new blend or a guest coffee, then it will be all hands-on deck for this. I also work very closely with our customers, supporting them in their own marketing campaigns, be it digital or perhaps in-store messaging.

How many hours do you work a week? Monday-Friday, 8am – 4.30pm What do you wear to work? As a manager I think it is important to dress smartly when in the office, especially if you have customer meetings on any particular day.

Is your job stressful? How? Rate it on a scale of 1-10: Every job can be stressful at times. It is how you manage that stress that I think is the real question. Everyone is different and has different ways of coping with it. Personally, I think you need to be a good multi-tasker and good at prioritising. But most importantly, and I think it’s something that people forget, is that you need to know that sometimes it’s ok to ask for help. Being in such a team-oriented job is great because everyone rows in and helps each other.

Do you work with others or on your own? The marketing team is small but, Java Republic is very team-focused, and we all collaborate and work very closely with each other. Culture is something that is very important to us and something that we have really driven in the last number of years. We are very lucky to have an open culture with our staff. We are all working to support the same brand; therefore, we all have the same goals at the end of the day.

When do you plan to retire or give up working? This is not something I given a lot of thought into yet! Not for a long time anyway!

Best bits: Working with a team who are always smiling and passionate about what they do.

Worst bits: Drinking too much caffeine every day! When you have such a premium coffee readily available to you, it is hard to not keep drinking it all day!

Advice to those who want your job? One thing that always has stuck with me is that you should never be afraid to try new things. I made a mistake in what I chose to put on my CAO form and what I advise to anyone is not to put too much pressure on this.  It can be so hard to know what you want as a career when you are just 18. 

Do what you need to do to find your path. Whether that is travelling (after COVID!), or doing apprenticeships or working abroad, just know that there are so many options and that if you make a mistake, it’s ok to change and try new things. 

In the end you will find the career path that is right for you.

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