Meet Simon Kitchen, Alternative Format Brand Manager
When did you start at Dolphin?
I started at Dolphin in September 2007, pretty much the day I left University in Lancaster. I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and be able to start work straight away.
What qualifications or experience did you have?
BSc Marketing, and MSc Advanced Marketing Management from Lancaster University
What made you choose Dolphin?
I wanted to avoid graduate schemes from bigger companies, as I prefer to be settled into my role, and with graduate schemes you tend to be put into different roles, sometimes in different locations. I knew that I wanted to work in an environment where I could settle in and define my own role. At the time when I saw an advertised position for a Marketing Assistant, I did not know anything about Dolphin. It wasn't until I came in for an interview that I realised that Dolphin was a great place to be.
What was your Job role when you started?
I applied for a Marketing Assistant position, knowing that I was over qualified for the role. This was possibly quite risky, but Dolphin have always set out that they were extremely keen to develop staff and provide opportunities to develop your role, so I was confident that if I did a good job, then I would be given additional responsibilities. The job as Marketing Assistant was basically to support the Marketing Manager with day to day marketing activities.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced?
Having never worked in an office environment before, my first challenge was to find my feet and get used to the market and the way that Dolphin works. Visual impairments, dyslexia, assistive technology, these were all totally new concepts to me that I honestly had very little experience with. So naturally I had a lot of questions to ask about Dolphin as a company, the product, and most importantly, the customers. The guys at Dolphin were really helpful in helping me settle in, and always had a minute to spare in making me feel welcome and answer my 'tedious' questions.
How has your role developed?
Dolphin's management team provide a great deal of opportunities for employees to blossom. There are plenty of opportunities for Dolphin to take advantage of. So as soon as an employee shows initiative and eagerness to develop their job role, they are encouraged to do so.
The first extension to my job role was to develop market research at Dolphin to ensure that Dolphin is living in the market place. Taking on this responsibility gave me the promotion to Marketing Executive level in March 2008.
Off the back of this, I found myself working closely with the Altformat Product Manager to help develop product specifications for creating and delivering alternative formats based on the needs to the customer. I was promoted to AltFormat Brand Manager in October 2009. My role now encompasses all the activities I used to do as Marketing Assistant, along with a strong emphasis on market research, and continuously development the AltFormat brands.
What sort of development have you received in your time at Dolphin?
At Dolphin, there's always someone to talk to about your work. This informal mentoring is becoming commonplace, with more and more experienced business heads being taken on board as well as enthusiastic graduates. The mixture between youthful exuberance and experienced professionals creates a great atmosphere to work and progress. The recently developed training department has also ensured that all staff members are able to reach their full potential. This can include staff training for project management, customer awareness, using computer applications and many other areas.
What do you rate in Dolphin as an employer?
Dolphin is a fantastic employer. Working for Dolphin is so rewarding. You're not only developing your professional skills, but you are making a real difference to the lives of people with visual and print impairments.