Experts in Spotlight: Tracey Comerford – Marketing Executive

Sometimes we are so fortunate that we are unaware of what is in front of us. And by that, we mean that we have met so many incredible experts and gained so much valuable information thus far. So let’s see what our next guest has to say. Today we’ll meet Tracey Comerford, a lovely Marketing Executive who shared some useful insights into her world.

Introduce yourself, describe your present position, and provide some information about the business you work for. 

I am Marketing and Communications Specialist for Salutem Care and Education. Salutem provides a range of support to adults and children in our schools, day centres and residential homes. I have many years of experience as a support worker, along with my previous digital marketing expertise, which is the perfect pairing for this role. 

We are proud to offer outstanding levels of care, support and education for each individual we support as part of our Salutem family. Our aim is to empower people to live the life they choose, regardless of the care and support they need.

What is your background, and how did you get to where you are now?

I completed a Business course two decades ago, this kickstarted my career in administration. A little over a decade later, I wanted to work in care. This was ignited by having both parents receive palliative care in their last few months with cancer. I retrained and became a support worker. I thoroughly enjoyed this work and the individuals I got to support daily. I knew I had more to give and I wanted to work in care but in a different capacity. 

I not only upskilled, but I also relocated from Ireland to England. I spent months completing a course online in my spare time to become a digital marketer. I went on to develop websites and manage social media for clients as a freelancer. This appealed to me because I have the freedom to get creative whilst helping businesses to their brand awareness online.

I finally found a role that was perfect for me with Salutem. Every day I come into work to see the smiles on the faces of so many individuals who are getting to live their best life and I play an instrumental part in spreading that joy to a wider audience online. The support the individuals receive is evident in the stories and images I am given from all corners of the UK. I feel very grateful to be a part of the Salutem family.

What are your marketing tasks/responsibilities at Salutem Care and Education?

At Salutem, no two days are the same. This is an element I really enjoy. I get sent stories and images from all around the UK from our various services and schools. I create content and graphics around what I’m given. I add this to our social media platforms and websites. 

We are growing our reach by posting on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube and Tiktok. We are going to start posting on other platforms in the near future to extend our reach even further. I also get to engage with audiences through social media, websites and email. 

Another part of my role is to lead the branding and marketing for all services within the Salutem family across the UK. We provide a lot of marketing material to services all over the UK to promote their services and raise awareness within the local communities that they are in. 

I work closely with the recruitment team to ensure our adverts pack a punch and are cleansed regularly. I also help the team with updating the website and getting marketing material for upcoming recruitment and open days.

I link in with various teams within the company such as payroll, learning and development and business development teams to create in house and external campaigns. These campaigns help boost staff morale in house and externally, the campaigns are designed to encourage people to apply for a career with us. 

Who has been your most important professional mentor?

I am inspired by our company CEO John Godden MBE. John received an MBE for the services to the care sector during the pandemic. This is a testament to the kind of person John is and the organisation as a whole. Salutem went above and beyond during the challenging times of the pandemic and it is amazing to see such an accolade for this. John is approachable and has a warmth about him, this allows for a lovely work environment. 

What was your biggest mistake, and what did you learn from it?

For me, the biggest mistake I have made is not believing in myself and my capabilities enough. I took a slight risk applying for this role and my past experience feel short of some of the job description tasks that were listed. I wanted to apply anyway, because I really felt like the organisation was a good fit for what I was looking for. Here I am now, getting to be creative while helping our organisation in the amazing work we do in supporting individuals all over the UK to live their best lives. 

What underutilized tools are a need for your work?

I would say that the tools I utilise the most and that make a difference in my job are: – I love this platform and all it has to offer. It helps to streamline tasks for me and the team. We can collaborate on tasks easily here and see where we are up to. We can set deadlines and link our designs or documents also.

Loomly – Loomly works for us to schedule our content easily. We can schedule to all platforms that we use. Not only that but we can do this with ease. As a care company, it is important to be all-inclusive and Loomly allows you to enter alt text to your images. This is great for us.

Sharepoint – we use this internally to save and share documents. It is a useful tool to have everything in one place and also share easily with others in the organisation. We also use this as it helps to meet GDPR guidelines. 

If you could go back and give your 18-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

I would tell 18-year-old me that perfection is a myth. You will fail if you strive for this. Once you have the willingness to take the risks and learn from your mistakes, you will be just fine. There are so many people who have the confidence to go out there and fake it until they make it. Some people aren’t great at what they do but because they have the confidence to do it, they are going for it. Once you have an eagerness to learn and to do the best you can, then I think, don’t hold yourself back.

What was the one unexpected thing your company/successful venture did?

We have so many great initiatives going on at Salutem Care and Education that I didn’t even know about when I started and that I’m also keen to spread awareness on. One such initiative is the scholarship programme we run with Kingston University. The scholarship covers the full value of the undergraduate tuition fees, together with a maintenance grant for the full three years. Salutem takes care of the funding so you can focus on learning. I think this is an amazing opportunity for those who wish to gain a career in the care industry.

What’s one lesson your job has taught you that you think everyone should learn at some point in their life?

There is a misconception about the care industry. As a support worker, I know how challenging some days can be and I see so many people burn out. They leave the industry because of this. What they don’t realise is that there are so many career pathways within the industry. When I see stories like that of our COO, Martin Heginbotham, I know that you can pivot within the industry and not give up because of some challenges or burnout. Martin went from being a support worker to COO. I myself, have gone from being a support worker to now being a Marketing and Communications Specialist.  We have so many other similar stories within our organisation. The difference comes with having good managers out there who can sense your insecurities or that you are unhappy in a role and recommend other roles in which you might thrive. A career in care is possible. 

At what time of day do you get your best work done?

For me, I’m more productive in an office environment. While I do work hybrid and I am still productive at home, I prefer to work in the office. I tend to work better within my surroundings and at home, I can be distracted easily. I do find that the 3 o’clock cup of good Yorkshire tea does help with the 3 pm slump 🙂