#NoWrongPath: My Journey to Dynam

Back in the lockdown haze of 2020, Lauren Thomson joined Dynam remotely as our new Marketing Executive. Since then, Lauren has become one of our brightest stars, pushing our digital marketing offering to our clients, as well as providing the team with lots of support, laughter and of course, yoga exercises!

Now an Account Manager, we sat down with Lauren to talk about her career so far, and how there really is #NoWrongPath.

Jumping into the unknown 🤞🏼

Today, loads of people in Scotland will be finding out their exam results, which always gets me thinking of the journey I took to get to where I am, mainly because I’ve probably got one of the more twistiest stories to tell!

When I left school at the age of 15, like most teenagers, I really had no idea what I wanted to do. All I knew was that school was no longer for me but of course, I had to do something, so when looking at college courses, I naturally picked something that looked the most fun! I opted to do an HNC in Media Studies, before embarking on my HND in Media and PR a few years later.

I LOVED my years at college and met some of my best friends there (who I still keep in touch with today). Although it was never on my radar, after finishing my HND, I found out that I could gain 3rd-year entry into Robert Gordon University to study Communications with Media and PR. I guess to some people, going to university is probably an easy decision but for me, I’ll hold my hands up and say that I wasn’t sure about it at all. So I did what anyone else would do in that situation and asked my parents for their advice. After mulling it over with them, I decided to give it a bash, and although I found it difficult at first, I eventually got into the swing of things (thanks Mum and Dad)!

Of course, It wasn’t all studying. I’ve always been a bit of a self-confessed free spirit, so as well as fully embracing the student nightlife in Aberdeen, I would fly straight to Ayia Napa as soon as term ended for the summer to work in bars before flying back just before the start of the academic year. It’s safe to say that ‘Work hard, play hard’ was definitely a motto of mine!

Next stop: down under ✈️

One of my proudest moments was graduating before turning 21. But Ayia Napa was still calling my name. So much so, that I flew back home the day before my graduation and went straight back the day after.

Looking back, I probably did this because even though I now had a degree, I still had no idea what I really wanted to do with my life. Marketing did interest me… but I also loved the carefree buzz of working in Ayia Napa. Eventually, though, I began to outgrow the Ayia Napa life and wanted to travel further afield, so I decided to bite the bullet and fly to Australia to work for a year. It was here I had my first taste of a real marketing job, landing a six-month internship with Marie Claire magazine. It was here I learned the ropes, being taught how to write and create content. By this point, I knew that a career in marketing was something I was keen to pursue but although I had met loads of wonderful people on my travels, I also knew in my heart that Australia wasn’t the place for me, so after a fun and (sun)-filled year, I moved back home to the highlands.

Yes, even more twists and turns! 🌪

You’d think by this point, I would have known exactly what I wanted to do but there are still more twists and turns in the tale! I went straight back into bar work, becoming a bar manager, which acted as a safety blanket for me until I found my dream role. Sometimes, I would doubt whether marketing was the right thing for me, so for a while, I decided to pursue one of my other passions: yoga. Wondering whether this would be the route for me, I saved up and flew out to Bali to train as an instructor. It was here I came up with the idea of creating an eco-friendly swimwear line, becoming a bit of an entrepreneur for a while! I checked out manufacturers, created a logo, did all the legal bits, got eco-friendly t-shirts made and applied for a grant from Business Gateway, which allowed me to start creating a website.

I came back home, determined to make a real go of my start-up when all of a sudden, the pandemic hit and everything ground to a halt. It was at this time that I realised central aspects of my business were not going to be viable in the long term, so I decided to park it. The first lockdown was admittedly a weird time for everyone but one silver lining for me was that I got to do a lot of soul-searching. Whether it was handing out leaflets for a bar I was promoting in Aberdeen or creating the brand for my swimwear line, I realised marketing, one way or another, had been the constant thread running throughout my working life, and it was at that moment I began handing out my CV to various creative agencies in and around the Inverness area.

I vividly remember driving up to Dynam to hand my CV in, expecting it to be just like any other office, only to discover it was the most beautiful farmhouse, set in a gorgeous, rural setting - the total opposite of what I thought a marketing agency would look like. I instantly fell in love, totally imagining myself working there. I didn’t hesitate for a second and popped my CV through the letterbox, hoping for the best.

Dynam wasn’t actively recruiting at the time so I picked up a part-time job working with Dalvey on their social media but it wasn’t too long until I got the magical phone call from Eleanor, inviting me to an online interview (it was still COVID after all). A week later, I was sitting down with a MacBook at home, ready to start at Dynam.

Although it was strange to start during lockdown, everyone was so lovely and welcoming. When eventually we returned to the office, I had already been working in Dynam for five months and it was almost like starting all over again. It was so weird seeing the people you had got to know online finally in person (as well as seeing their legs)! but most of all, it felt like home.

Striking a balance ⚖️

Since 2020, thanks to the support of the team at Dynam. I’ve had so many opportunities to build up my skills and experience with a variety of clients. I’ve now taken charge of my own accounts and workstreams, finding a passion for digital marketing. I’m now leading on campaigns and rollout, making sure our clients are always one step ahead of the digital game. I’ve not given up on yoga either - I’ve fully embraced this other passion of mine and work part-time as a yoga instructor, using the grant I originally got from Business Gateway to set my website up. Finding the ability to balance both my passions, as a true yogi would do, has been hugely rewarding.

This Summer, I was promoted to Account Manager - and I think everyone, not just me, was a bit emotional about it! That’s why #NoWrongPath means so much to me. When I left school at 15, I had no idea where my life would take me or whether I would ever find a career that I loved. My journey to where I am now hasn’t always been smooth sailing, and sometimes it feels like I took the long way to get to where I am but I have learned over the years that that’s okay - and most importantly, it’s okay to take a different path. It may sound like a cliché but the experiences I’ve had along the way have helped shaped me into the person I am today and I know it will continue to do so as I progress in my career.

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