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Introducing our Career Journey Series

Introducing our Career Journey Series where we'll be sitting down with SMGers to discuss their career journies and experiences at SMG.

We are proud to follow a unique progression and development model at SMG, our approach is performance-driven and allows our people who are showcasing exceptional skills and achievements to be rewarded and recognised.

We also understand that career progression and development aren’t always linear - it can go in many different directions.

We encourage SMGers to explore opportunities in different areas, helping them to gain diverse experiences and expand their skill set in unexpected ways. 

Whether you're shifting roles to explore a passion, seeking new challenges, or simply eager to diversify your expertise, we encourage lateral moves as a pathway to personal and professional growth.

Meet Karis Lonsdale, who started SMG as a Client Executive on the Co-op partnership back in 2017 and is now a Senior Strategy Manager as part of the Strategy team, making a move into a whole new specialism. We caught up with Karis on her new role and what drove her desire to make the switch…

What drove the decision for you to want to change roles?

The pace and variety of the work meant that 5 years had flown by! I'd worked across most of the trading categories at Co-op from Dairy to BWS (Beer, Wine, and Spirits), and built a really strong team. I'd worked my way up to Senior Client Manager, however, as I started to look ahead to the future, that path involved less of my favourite part of the role - planning the campaigns! it was actually my team doing most of that whilst I focussed on commercials and client relationships. After some reflection on the type of work that really excites me, and the skills I was keen to develop, the Planning/Strategy team was the obvious next step.

How did SMG support this change?

We talked it through, A LOT, and not just with my line manager, and who'd become my new line manager either. A handful of other colleagues who had mentored and supported me throughout my career at SMG gave me their time. They asked me lots of questions, shared honest advice, and presented me with all of the options which was incredibly helpful and helped me to ultimately make my own decision with the confidence that I'd really given the move the right amount of consideration.

Whilst lots of my skills were transferrable, I was honest with my new line manager about the strategy-specific capabilities I'd need to develop and I was able to attend external industry-approved courses to do this, paired with lots of on-the-job coaching.


What's 1 thing that excites you about the future of the strategy team?

The media innovation and increased data and tech capabilities that we're seeing from the Retail Media Networks we work across means that as a strategist your box of tricks is always expanding, so our campaigns are better than ever - and this is showing no signs of slowing!


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