This week’s #femaleflashlight is Gemma Avery. Gemma works in marketing and communications, having worked at Burnley FC, she has very recently transfer to Arsenal FC.
Gemma begun to understand what she was capable of at the age of 23. “I realised that I could use my strong skills in marketing and media within an environment that I loved - football! As someone who has worked in a range of industries, I wanted to do something that I had a real passion for and that I could enjoy for years to come.”
“If you have something you enjoy outside of work, whether from a playing or watching side, then ? You’ll have a natural interest in your work, which makes Monday mornings a lot easier!”
Volunteering played a key part in helping Gemma reach where she is today. “I did unpaid work at local football clubs’ media departments and newspaper sport departments, I then left university with a degree in broadcasting and worked in television (volunteering for the first 2 months). I did some work on the sports desk of the regional news and found this fascinating (even meeting my eternal football hero - Ian Holloway)!”
Gemma moved between industries, from drama/soap broadcasting, to marketing and sales management in the travel industry, before returning home.
“I headed back to my home town, and my childhood football club Burnley FC, where I returned to marketing and events. After 7 months at Turf Moor, I’ve secured a role at Arsenal Football Club, as marketing officer within the Ladies team - and I’ve never been happier!”
Whilst the football industry is a hard one to crack, Gemma believes the Eighth Wonder programme’s focus on volunteering will enable participants to separate themselves from the rest of the crowd.
“The reality of our industry is that and many of these people will be very good. By volunteering, I showed that I had the drive to make a success of my career, despite the fact I wasn't from an area where girls naturally transitioned into working into football clubs.”
And whilst there may have been difficulties, Gemma’s advice is simple.
“Be honest, be hardworking and 99% of the time, people will help you in your journey. The contacts you make at such an early stage of your career can be vital in the future - I still speak to many people I met during these placements!”
Gemma added, “Being a woman can be used to your advantage in the male dominated industry, as a female perspective can give an excellent diverse opinion to your male colleagues.”
“I often felt I was the only girl trying to break into the world of football. Living in the Northern town, with limited access to opportunities, I sometimes lost focus on my future, as it was a hard path. I never thought of the other thousands of girls who had the same ambitions and drive as me… Which would have helped to keep me going. The Eighth Wonder programme will have you up and running in no time.”
Gemma hopes many young girls across Kent will take the opportunity to sign up for the Eighth Wonder programme.
“Eighth Wonder empowers girls and offers reassurance that you’re going to do it. You can do it. And so can thousands of others girls. You just need to work hard, communicate with fellow females and accept support when you find it!”
“The programme also offers so fantastic services and guidance, CV building, networking tips - these will all be essential in your near future. Take on all advice and make it work for you. Every bit of advice you take on will make your journey a little less bumpy and will make the path a little straighter.”
To sign up for the Eighth Wonder Programme development day full of workshops and sessions led and facilitated by individuals like Gemma, please click here.