Name: Toni Adenle
Job title: Digital Media Manager
Time in current role: 2 years
Toni is a Digital Media Manager at NHS England.
How did you land your current job?
Growing up I was always interested in how to use technology creatively. When I was a teenager, my dad owned an internet café and used to force my brother and I to work there after school. At the time I hated not being able to relax or spend time with friends but it actually proved very useful as it encouraged me to learn as much about computers as I could.
At university I studied Communications and Media, and was sure I wanted to get into communications after graduating. Unfortunately this didn’t happen immediately and I spent two years working in the gas and electricity industry as a Client Relationship Manager for large corporate companies.
Thankfully I managed to bag a job within NHS England as a Communications and Engagement Officer which really opened me up to the world of comms. However, the role wasn’t as satisfying as I had hoped, as my interests were in digital communications and social media. Therefore I made the effort to volunteer and assist with digital work whenever I could. This included offering to design NHS resources on my personal Macbook (we didn’t have the budget for a Mac when I started), volunteering to take photos and film videos on my personal camera (no budget for a camera either) and volunteering to oversee the NHS England South Twitter page. I got so involved in digital comms that I was slowly touted as the ‘girl you go to for the tech and creative stuff’ in the office.
Eventually a job opened up in our regional head office for a Digital Media Manager. I knew immediately that I wanted to go for it and I’m glad I did, because I got the job! My promotion was largely due to the sheer amount of digital work I took the initiative to undertake in my non-digital role and this initiative was fuelled by all the knowledge I’d acquired years ago in my dad’s old internet café and from what I had learnt during my years at uni.
What are the key functions of your role?
I’m responsible for all NHS England digital media activity across the South of England, which includes managing social media. Another aspect of my role is website management meaning I’m responsible for updating the South region pages of the NHS England website, working closely with a range of different directorates within the organisation to keep the site tidy and up-to-date.
My role also involves a lot of videography. I’m the regional NHS England videographer for the South and often create videos for both our internal video platform and for the NHS YouTube page. I do everything independently from start to finish; including creating story boards, conducting interviews and filming and editing projects.
Resource design and championing the NHS brand and identity is also a part of my job. I’ve created everything from campaign social media graphics to posters and bus advertising.
Talk us through your typical day at work
When I get in the office the first thing I do is make myself some instant porridge and offer to get my team some hot drinks. Once I’m at my desk I trawl through my e-mails to identify anything urgent that needs doing.
Twitter is my next stop and I’ll hop on to @NHSEnglandSouth and take a look at the activity from the evening before. Generally I’m quite organised with Twitter and tend to schedule tweets at least one month in advance, but if for any reason I’m behind I’ll schedule tweets according to either our business priorities, key awareness campaigns or general prevention messaging. At lunchtime I generally like to leave the office and give my eyes a break from the screen.
Throughout the day I’ll get various ad hoc requests via phone and e-mail. Often I’ll be asked to update the South pages of the NHS website or create graphics/resources for an internal project or campaign. Creative work such as resource design or video editing can take up a large chunk of my day but I don’t mind it as the day moves quickly and I enjoy both design and editing.
How would your colleagues describe you in three words?
Savvy, positive, creative.
Your favourite part of the job?
Overseeing and managing social media campaigns from start to finish. It’s so satisfying to see campaign resources I’ve created and tweets I’ve written being used widely across the NHS or being used by members of the public. It’s even more exciting when my regional social media campaigns suddenly turn into national or international campaigns because of mass support.
…and the part you could do without?
Limited budget! With the NHS being a public sector organisation we have to be very careful with the way we manage our money. It’s taxpayers’ money after all. This means our financial departments are generally much stricter than large organisations in the private sector. The downside to a limited budget can often mean limited ways to demonstrate creativity. I generally have lots of ideas regarding how we can deliver more innovate and diverse activity but without the funds it’s very hard. Public sector bureaucracy is also frustrating and limits my creativity.
Plans for the future?
I’m really not sure what the future holds for me as I’m not the most decisive person when it comes to figuring out what I want to do. I almost feel like a jack of all trades and master of none sometimes. One thing I do know is that I want to put more focus in my hobbies outside my current 9-5. I spend lots of time on social media in general and have amassed a reasonable social media following considering I’m always so busy working. What I would love to do is generate a comfortable income from my own personal digital ventures to allow me the flexibility of working anywhere and whenever I want.
Do you have any advice for others aspiring to break into your field?
My key bit of advice would be to actively seek opportunities to demonstrate your skills. It doesn’t matter whether this is in work life or private life. It’s just great to have tangible evidence to show potential employers.
If you love social media and would want to be a social media manager, your personal social media accounts need to be on point! Alternatively if you love design, why not create a website to showcase some of your work? If you enjoy video recording start a YouTube page. Whatever it is, show off your skills. The more you do that, the more other people will start to notice your ability. Also, self-teach. You’d be surprised at how much you can learn from the internet. LLY