Today we travel to the UK to meet Marketing Manager Jesse Allan. Jesse works within the Group’s marketing team from home in Essex just over an hour by train from London. She has a fascinating Sovereign Story, although we are not able to retell all of it. Read on.
Jesse was born and brought up in South Africa by her Afrikaans mother and British father, when she was fourteen, the family moved to the historic Roman city of Colchester in Essex from where her father’s family hailed originally.
With just a trace left of her South African accent, this “forty something” graduated from London’s UCL in 1999. Her first job was at a product design company concentrating on teenage brands and a year later Jesse joined a marketing communications firm. Here, she worked with mainly British traditional luxury goods businesses developing their worldwide reputations. “Doing a bit of everything”, she learned a great deal including the art of supplying advertising to the UK national press.
This was the pre-digitisation age for the media industry when Jesse recalls adverts were reproduced on film and delivered on bikes or – the height of technology– by fax.
In 2005, Jesse joined the UK Civil Service attracted by the stability and career progression offered alongside enviable terms and conditions. She joined the Central Office of Information (“COI”), originally established during World War II as the Ministry of Information it had morphed into the marketing and communications agency for the British government. By the early 2000s, the COI boasted the second highest advertising spend in the country across all media (the first being the US behemoth Procter & Gamble).
Jesse became involved in diverse projects recalling one that resulted in every British household receiving a detailed pamphlet entitled “Preparing for Emergencies”. Following the economic crisis of 2008, the COI was closed three years later. Jesse was one of few staff to be retained, and she joined the Cabinet Office at the heart of government.
We were keen to ask what it was like working with ministers in Britain’s first true coalition government for over sixty years. Jesse explained that (of course) she was unable to either discuss her role or tell us any stories about her time working there. We understood completely but could not help feeling this Sovereign Story could have become even more interesting…
After a couple of fascinating years, in January 2014 Jesse moved to Hong Kong with her lawyer husband. She spent two years as a “stay at home Mum” before deciding to seek a new challenge. Jesse was introduced to Tiffany Pinkstone and joined Sovereign’s marketing team soon thereafter. She spent a year working in the Sovereign Hong Kong office before the family relocated back to the UK in mid-2017.
Since then, Jesse has worked from home on a permanent basis. During the pandemic, many millions worldwide did the same but “WFH” is most definitely not for everyone. Jesse considers Sovereign has been hugely successful in its own WFH programme in almost all its offices and something of which the group can be rightly proud.
Jesse’s working day involves an early start linking with colleagues in Hong Kong. The Marketing team now stretches from there to Canada so she is in a perfect time zone in order to communicate with everyone as required. Jesse coordinates marketing requests from around the group helping to deliver everything from digital campaigns to printed collateral and exhibition stands. She works with the marketing team to help manage the effectiveness of the website and to deliver the monthly Sovereign Report. The marketing team’s challenge is to help our colleagues across Sovereign to deliver appropriate messages to their diverse audiences, while maintaining our unique tone of voice and the integrity of our brand that is globally respected within our industry.
Married to Mike in 2011, the couple are proud parents to Harry. As mother to an autistic child, most of Jesse’s time and attention outside work focuses on supporting Harry and she therefore finds little spare time for other activities.
Jesse is extremely grateful to Tiffany and Sovereign in general for the support available to her, the other parents of SEN children in the group and of course staff members with special requirements. Sovereign has built an enviable reputation for how it treats its staff across the world. Guernsey office continues to be a standout example in terms of diversity assisting staff and their families when they need that extra little bit of help.
Jesse is happy and proud to work for Sovereign and intends carrying on doing so for the foreseeable future. As she says, “things are changing and there are always challenges”. Everyone has to adapt constantly and she feels this is where Marketing comes into its own as it leads by example.
In thanking Jesse for telling us her Sovereign Story. Best wishes to you, your husband and to Harry of course as he treads his own unique path toward his teenage years. It is obvious that you are rightly proud of him. Thank you again for your time.