#NoWrongPath: Karen Musgrave – PR and Communications Manager

What age did you leave school?

I left school after completing sixth year. I had just turned 18 and moved away from home, straight to university in Glasgow

What were your thoughts on your career at that time?

At the time, I honestly had no idea what I really wanted to do. When I was applying for university courses during school, I was fortunate enough to receive unconditional offers – but every single offer was for a different subject. I really thought I wanted to pursue a career in music or theatre studies, but wasn’t sure that I wanted to turn a hobby into a career.

I spent the first half of my sixth year at school worrying about what course I should go for until I eventually settled on English Literature with Spanish.

What brought you to Barrhead Travel?

After I graduated from university, I thought the right thing to do was to apply for graduate schemes. I spent hours on applications for jobs that I wasn’t overly keen on but persisted as I felt that it was the right route to go down.

When I lost out on a graduate scheme at the final hurdle for a fashion brand in London, I decided to stay put with the jewellers I had been working at during uni until I found what I really wanted to do.

I spotted an ad for a marketing executive role with Barrhead Travel and thought it would be the perfect match, especially as I had specialised in travel writing during my degree. Turns out I was right and almost five years later, I haven’t looked back!

How have you progressed since then?

I have been so lucky to have been offered some amazing opportunities and progression during my career. From marketing executive, I progressed to senior marketing and PR executive before a promotion to PR & Communications Manager in 2017.

Most recently, thanks to the acquisition of Barrhead Travel by Travel Leaders Group, I have been given the opportunity to head up the PR for the rest of our parent company’s UK businesses – a truly amazing career path.

What has been the highlight of your career?

When the position of PR Manager opened up, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I worked hard for a year, learning about the wider PR industry and gaining experience as a senior PR executive. The day I was offered the promotion was the best feeling ever and I felt such a sense of achievement.

Last year, I also had the chance to accompany a group of competition winners over to New York. It had been a year-long campaign and to be able to travel out with our customers and see them experience New York first-hand was unforgettable.

What advice would you give someone based on your experience?

You don’t have to have all the answers right now, just focus on the small wins. Doors always open for you when you least expect it and opportunity usually never falls at your feet – you are the master of your own opportunities and success.