We talk to Amanda Birch, Legal Marketing & BD Executive and Totum Rising Star Award Winner 2022, about her life and career in law so far.
We were recently delighted to announce that Amanda Birch, Marketing & BD Executive at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) was the winner of our Totum Rising Star Award 2022. The award was devised to celebrate up-and-coming talent in marketing and BD functions in the professional services sector – recognising those making a real difference to their firms at below-manager level.
In this piece, we talk to Amanda about her success in the award and her career so far. Not only is her story a great testament to her achievements at this early stage in her career, but it also showcases the fantastic opportunities in the professional services sector for those interested in launching their BD and marketing careers today.Choosing BD & marketing, choosing professional services
Like many young people entering the working world for the first time, Amanda found her way to BCLP via a wide-ranging search for career openings following graduation. At the University of Leeds, she studied physical geography, a course which included a final year placement – typically in a role related to the environment. But Amanda knew she wanted to do something different.
Having convinced her tutors to let her pursue a different type of placement, she secured an internship at a creative marketing agency. ‘It was a very small company, which meant that I very quickly got involved in all sorts of different projects from researching to writing blogs and sorting mailings,’ she explains. ‘I loved the creativity and it convinced me that marketing and BD was the right choice for me.’
She also became interested in working in a professional services environment after seeing an advert for a marketing role in an accountancy firm. Accountancy didn’t particularly appeal but it did get her thinking that there must be roles like this in other types of firm – namely, law. ‘I’d always been interested in the legal sector, but I knew I didn’t want to be a lawyer,’ she says. ‘I think having an understanding of law is important as it underlies how so many of the businesses and organisations that we interact with operate, so it seemed a good fit for me.’
Nor did it take long, with Amanda securing the role of Marketing Assistant at BCLP before she graduated. She joined very soon after graduation in July 2019 – and the scene was set.
Settling in for success
Totum received a truly exceptional standard of nominations for the Rising Star Award. But our Judging Panel was looking for nominees who went beyond the level of their role/experience, who had, as one of our Judges put it, a mind-set of growth, whether in terms of profile raising or improving their firm’s approach to marketing and BD. All agreed that Amanda really stood out for this – her nomination showing huge ability to adapt to strategic and structural changes, engage effectively with multiple stakeholders and work independently on a wide range of projects.
From the start, Amanda was in a unique situation, with a Marketing Assistant role that supported both the firm’s finance practice as well as its sector groups, meaning she had to manage multiple stakeholders and areas of responsibility. ‘I had projects and deadlines coming in from every side so I had to be very good at communication, learn how to prioritise, and take both a strategic and tactical approach depending on the task,’ she says. For a considerable time in the finance team, it was just Amanda as an Assistant working alone with her Manager, while they were looking to recruit a more senior executive to join them. ‘I had to take on more senior tasks,’ she says. ‘But it exposed me to so much more – it was challenging when I didn’t know how to tackle something, but I’d find a way to manage it.’
In her time with the firm so far, she is particularly proud of two projects she has undertaken. The first was as the principal developer of the BCLP Sectors & Initiatives App, which allows Partners, Associates and members of different practice groups to access all the information they might need on a priority sector. The App identifies key advisors, makes available relevant information such as sector experience and internal media, answers FAQs, enables users to connect with colleagues and allows marketing materials to be shared with clients and prospects quickly and easily. She continues to work on the App, including working on launching a search functionality, but it has already become a noteworthy achievement, particularly given she was only an Assistant for much of the App’s development.
She’s also proud of her work on BCLP’s ‘Power Up’ campaign, supporting the firm’s electric vehicle (EV) sector expertise. Amanda undertook myriad marketing activities on the high-profile and complex campaign, working with senior Partners and external organisations to underpin the firm’s messaging around decarbonising transport and helping its sponsorship of World EV Day and the EV Summit 2021. ‘I particularly enjoyed all the project management involved in the campaign, as well as liaising with so many different people across the media, web, design and communications teams,’ says Amanda. ‘It made me realise how much I enjoy working with multiple stakeholders, helping to bring everything and everyone together.’
The future beckons
Amanda was delighted to be promoted to Marketing & BD Executive in July 2021, and has plans to continue her climb upwards to a more senior executive and then manager. ‘As my focus is now on banking, I want to learn as much as I can about the industry in order to become a strategic advisor. I’d also like to develop my understanding of the more strategic side of BD, including analysing the financials and client relationship management.’
Amanda recommends the legal profession to anyone who wants a dynamic career. ‘This is a very fast-paced environment,’ she says. ‘There are always new projects being introduced and the variety is huge. You never know what each day is going to bring, and there are so many different facets to BD and marketing functions today – from client relationships to PR and comms to pitching… there’s so much to explore.’
We’re delighted that Amanda has achieved the recognition she so richly deserves with Totum’s Rising Star Award 2022. We look forward to using this award to spotlight other up-and-coming stars in the years to come.
Following the huge success of this year’s Rising Star Award, we are delighted to be making the awards an annual celebration of up-and-coming talent within marketing and BD in professional services. Look out later this year for more information regarding Totum’s Rising Star Award 2023 and be ready to make your nominations!