Chief marketing officer at the Very Group, Carly O’Brien is proof positive that changing lanes, challenging yourself with new experiences and testing your skills in a different sector can pay huge dividends.
Starting off at MBNA, she worked her way up to head of marketing at Bank of America, before switching to the NatWest Group where she headed up customer acquisitions. Next came a stint as marketing director at Virgin Money, before in February 2019 O’Brien joined the Very Group.
Switching from the financial to the retail sector has proved a smooth transition, with O’Brien working quickly to build an improved digital marketing function and home in on customer growth targets. The move, she says, has been a real energy boost that has opened her up to new stakeholders and consumer bases.
Having skills that can easily be transferred, she argues, is more relevant than experience in a particular sector. “In some instances, the skills you have and the tools that you’ve got, are maybe more important than experience. The way that you operate and the way that you think carries more weight,” O’Brien explains.