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Olympics 2020: Team GB’s head of marketing reveals the proudest moment of her career

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Moya Lothian-McLean
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Carly Hodgson, Team GB head of marketing, in her office

Work/Life is Stylist’s regular column about the professional routines of successful women. Here, Carly Hodgson – head of marketing for Team GB –  talks us through her one-day diary as she prepares for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Carly Hodgson is the head of marketing at the British Olympic Association. She lives in west London with her husband Roger.

MY ALARM GOES OFF…

Around 7am but it’s a different time every day; I tend to make it up as I go along. I get ready really quickly and grab some fruit on my way out the door. I’m really lucky at Team GB as I can dress for whatever I have on. So it could be a dress or jeans, or if I have an external Olympics-related meeting I’ll wear my Team GB kit. My husband gives me a lift to the station. 

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I’M RESPONSIBLE FOR…

Driving the marketing strategy for Team GB and leading on our campaign for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. There are 10 people in my team.

I GOT THE JOB…

By loving sport. I knew it was my passion, but I didn’t know where I wanted it to take me. It all started when I worked on the London 2012 Olympics with my previous employer, a PR agency which was a commercial partner for the games. Then, in 2015, my current role came up at Team GB, I applied, got it, and have never left. 

Carly works with athletes to tell their stories

MY TYPICAL DAY…

We normally kickstart the day with a couple of internal meetings which look at everyone’s focus for the week. We’ll also brainstorm some content ideas for social channels and think about how we could approach our athletes to get involved. My focus specifically is on the Tokyo 2020 marketing campaign, so I’m constantly thinking about how we can draw upon the power of Team GB to unite people.

After the morning meetings, I’ll often get in touch with an athlete’s agent or the athlete themselves to touch base. An important part of my role is to ensure we’re working with the athletes as ambassadors. We want to take fans closer to what’s going on – whether that’s through creating videos of the athletes training or talking to their coaches. I also look at the big historic sporting moments from the past and try to anticipate what they might be in the future.

Lunch is usually a salad. We’re not allowed to eat at our desks at Team GB, which is actually really nice, and our communal lunch space is a meeting-free zone, too.

I try to make sure I have no meetings in the afternoon. That’s my time to sit down and get my head into big, longer term projects. I finish at 5.30pm. 

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MY MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT…

Was standing on the runway at Heathrow after Rio 2016. We stood as a team, watching all the athletes come off the plane after the most successful games ever. I felt so proud.

THE WORST PART OF MY JOB…

Is that I can’t spend more time with the athletes. I would love to spend hours getting to know all of their stories in-depth.

THE BEST PART OF MY JOB…

Is working for an organisation where everyone has a common goal to create something extraordinary. It sounds cheesy, but people are excited to have meetings with you, they want to meet the athletes, they want to hear about it all. 

Making history is the highlight of Carly’s job

AFTER WORK…

I might go for a walk by the river. Then I’m all about friends and family. I’m lucky that my siblings live nearby, and we love a big dinner party – even on a weeknight, I’m always hosting. I like to go to bed early, but it’s a compromise. I’m probably in bed by 10.30pm.

Plan B… Charity fundraiser

If I’m honest, my plan B would be something in the charity world. My husband and I started a charitable fund last year in memory of our little girl who was stillborn, called Poppy’s Fund (poppysfund.com), and I’m blown away by how fulfilling and fascinating I’m finding it.

Photography: Holly McGlynn

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Moya Lothian-McLean

Moya Lothian-McLean is a freelance writer with an excessive amount of opinions. She tweets @moya_lm.

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