‘If you are not sure of what you want, that is fine, don’t panic’

My Career Path: Communications student Podge Henry joined the Jameson International Graduate Programme

What did you study and where?

I studied Communications in Dublin City University and I graduated in 2017. I went on to be vice-president for welfare & equality of DCU Students' Union for a year, then took a year back in Offaly working as an educational support in Moate Business College before joining the Jameson International Graduate Programme.

What attracted you to your current role?
Creativity and relationship building are probably my two strongest skills, they are also what I really look for in a job and are two key aspects of the role of a brand ambassador. I remember first reading about the Jameson International Graduate Programme in second year in DCU and thinking, "This is my dream job, on a page". Marketing has always been something that fascinates me. The ability to take a brand and grow either domestically or globally through creativity, innovation and collaboration with others is so exciting. So, the idea of working on such an iconic Irish brand and being a part of its success story was music to my ears.

The most challenging thing about moving into the working world?
Definitely it was the fast-paced environment of the corporate world, especially the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) category. You are never working on just one project, there are always many things in the pipeline – which is something I wasn't used to initially but now I relish. It's always exciting. There are often multiple stakeholders involved in a project or campaign and managing that, for me, was new territory. You learn fast though and there is always support around you too, which makes it easier and once you get the hang of it, you're flying.


Do you have any mentors in your workplace?
My manager and team have definitely played a major part in my development over the last two years, and I would consider them my biggest mentors. You don't really notice how much you value mentorship until you look back and reflect. You sort of realise "Oh, I have grown so much over that time" and a major part of that is down to them.

With that said, there are also so many others in the company and on the programme who you are constantly learning from and informally being mentored by. Everyone wants to see you succeed. So many in the company have come through the programme and this has created an incredible culture of support and friendship. This is something I find really unique about Irish Distillers as a company.

The most valuable thing you have learned since you joined the workforce?
Never be afraid to ask for help and always share your ideas, no matter how small they might seem. You never know just how good something could be until you share it with others.

How has Covid-19 affected your start in the workplace?
It has been a strange one, especially considering the international nature of our graduate programme. But much like the advice above, we just controlled what we could and continued. It has made me realise that successful collaboration doesn't necessarily have to be in person. While my year had its ups and downs, like everyone's, the success of the programme this year showed just how resilient you can be when you are with the right people. We stayed connected, we stayed creative and above all else we stayed off mute (sometimes). With that said, I'm a very people driven person so I can't wait to get back into the office to meet colleagues face to face again.

One piece of advice for new graduates?
If you are not sure of what you want, that is fine, don't panic. Take your time, a year isn't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. I remember I panicked after college and scrambled to try and go straight into the corporate world without really having a clear goal in mind. I hadn't applied for the Jameson International Graduate Programme that year so I thought I needed to do something otherwise it would have been a step backwards. Thankfully, my mother really helped and got me to realise that if I really wanted the graduate programme I should wait a year, build up experience and then apply rather than going down another path just for the sake of it. Control what you can control and don't worry about the rest. It's one of the best decisions and pieces of advice I've received to this day. - Jenna Clarke-Molloy