Viral Careers: Lauren Pope
13 March 2019
In this series of interviews we’re talking to people about how they got to where they are. Find out about the key moments, and people, in the lives and careers of some of the creative people we most admire.
Name: Lauren Pope
Job/occupation: Digital strategist
Tell us about the work you do.
I run a one-woman digital strategy consultancy. I help organisations understand their audience’s needs and habits, and then help them find a way to use digital channels and tools to respond to those needs. Most of the time I focus on strategy and planning, but sometimes I’ll create the solution for them too. I’ll normally have two or three different projects on the go at one time, and sometimes I partner up with other creatives to deliver the work.
In the last year my projects have included making a short film with former prisoners about emotional wellbeing, developing the content strategy for a new mental health app, and also some coaching and training with digital teams.
I’m also trying to make photography part of my day job. I sell prints of my photographs, and I really want to find a way to make photography part of my core projects too, as I think there’s a huge opportunity for organisations to use more bespoke photography.
Oh, and I run a conference about curiosity, creativity and content called Curio with my friend Lou too.
What did you want to do when you were 16?
I had no real idea what I wanted to do when I was 16. I loved reading, I was interested in people, and I liked writing and taking photos, but I didn’t know what to do with that. I went to university and did English because I thought being able to spend three years reading would be pretty good (it was). My school didn’t really acknowledge or encourage creative careers. I can remember doing a career aptitude test that told me I should be a prison officer or a civil servant.
The things I’m doing now definitely weren’t an option when I was 16. Most of the technology and ideas that my work focuses on now didn’t exist yet: the internet was still dial-up and Google had only just been founded. There was no way of knowing that this whole fascinating world was going to open up to me.
Was there a moment that opened up new possibilities and brought you to where you are today?
There have been a lot, and they’re all moments where I overcome my introverted, perfectionist tendencies and put myself out there: getting a part-time job as an online writer while I was at university, putting a CV out in public that got me my first content job, going along to/starting meetups and getting to know my peers, speaking at conferences, and writing a lot of blog posts. All of those things opened doors that I might not even have spotted otherwise.
Who has influenced your career?
I’ve never had a mentor, but there have been some key people who helped me make the next step in my career by giving me a job, bringing me in on a project, really challenging me, or giving me the feedback I needed.
What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
A career isn’t for life like they tell you – you can change direction, or do more than one thing. And in-built talent isn’t everything: being willing to learn and practice counts for a lot more than you might think.
Opportunities in the creative industries can be difficult to identify and aren’t always accessible, or visible, to young people from all backgrounds – something that our Viral project aims to change.
Viral is a collaborative learning programme that provides production training, business development, mentoring, showcasing opportunities and peer-to-peer support for a diverse group of 16-25 year olds from Brighton and the surrounding areas.
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