Abi Blanche-Martin is an Interim Marketing Leader, with a strong track record across consumer, retail and leisure sectors, in SME’s and Blue chip organisations.
Some of her Interim roles include; Head of Marketing at Lovehoney, Brand Director at Neal’s Yard Remedies and Marketing Consultant at Pukka Herbs, to name just a few.
To probe a bit deeper into her career we asked Abi a few questions about her experience and her outlook for the future.
How did you start your Interim career and why?
Having spent 12 years in the rat race of the South East, I moved down to Bath in search of the usual work/life balance. Senior permanent roles were few and far between, so I started my own limited consultancy company, which also gave me the flexibility to manage my own tax affairs.
I specialise in interim roles for SMEs, primarily in B2C for FMCG clients.
What advantages are there to being an Interim resource in the current working environment?
For me, having an exciting new challenge every 6-9 months is the main benefit, alongside the breadth of experience you gain working across multiple categories and sectors. You also meet some really interesting people along the way, which is hugely appealing.
Being an interim also hones your skills as a completer/finisher – there’s no induction period or time to settle in; you have to be a highly motivated self-starter and willing to hit the ground at full pelt! You invariably have a small amount of time to make a big impact – usually interim contracts are above average wage, so expectation is high and the ability to deliver is critical.
What insight would you give to those considering this as a career choice?
- Leverage your previous experience, particularly in the corporate sector – SMEs often don’t have regular processes or procedures in place, so be willing to share the benefit of your experience.
- Be driven and determined, and flexible enough to adapt to your new working environment
- Have great networking skills across all layers of the business, as you never know who will recommend you for your next role
- Have strong support from an experienced recruitment team that understands your experience, background and value, so they can ‘sell your skillset’ appropriately
How do you manage the pipeline of new assignments whilst in a role?
- Network, network and then network some more – you can never have too many irons in the fire.
- Never turn down an opportunity to meet people. It’s a cliché that ‘people do business with people’ but when looking for an interim recommendation a word-of-mouth reference is worth its weight in gold.
You’ve worked in some of the region’s most prestigious businesses, what’s the best and worst experience you’ve had (no names please!)
I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with some of the most interesting and innovative brands in the South West and had no idea that the region could offer such a diverse scope of opportunities for interim roles – I’ve worked on everything from food and drink to defence and even adult toys! All my contracts have had their quirks and idiosyncrasies; but if you have a positive outlook and enjoy getting the best out of people, then even the most challenging of interim roles can be a positive learning experience.
What does the future hold for you Abi!
For me it’s all about keeping my experience fresh and interesting to potential contracts. I health-check my CV by using my favourite recruiter to analyse the gaps and provide a professional critique of my experience. This helps me achieve a more rounded and appealing CV ready for the next interim role – who knows where it will take me!
Thanks for your insight Abi!