working abroad | london | marketing manager

One of my gorgeous friends had a dream, worked extremely hard and made it happen. I witnessed the planning, dedication and aspiration for putting her dreams into practice first hand. Grace did her Undergraduate degree in health Sciences – Public Health and is currently completing her undergraduate in Psychology and an MBA. Health and Behaviour are her passions. Before relocating to London in 2013, Grace was working at the Department of Health in South Australia in Health Promotion, (a role she loved!) working on behaviour change social marketing campaigns and programs and initiatives to make all South Australian’s eat well and be active!

Grace Allen, Partnerships Marketing Manager, London

Brief description of your role overseas:
I’m a Partnerships Marketing Manager in the Marketing and Public Engagement division at Public Health England. Public Health England is an executive agency of the Department of Health, created in April 2013. Our aim is to motivate and support millions more people to make and sustain changes that improve their health. We run 17 national marketing campaigns including, Change4Life, Stoptober, Dry January, Be Clear on Cancer and Dementia Friends.

My role is all about stakeholder engagement. I need to ensure the campaigns support local government and the NHS to deliver their local public health objectives. Over 200 national organisations have collectively provided £51.5 million of in-kind support and distributed over 30 million pieces of collateral.

So… what do/did you actually do?

6am: Wake up to my alarm and battle the “do I have to….? Maybe I’ll just have today off…” thoughts throw on my gym clothes and head to the gym or for a run. It sounds like a cliché, but early morning runs set me up for the day. I’m a more efficient and effective person if I’ve been for a run in the morning. 7:15am: Home to shower, scull a green smoothie and get out the door! 8:00am: Stand in a mosh pit of strangers – aka: the commute to work. There is NO SUCH THING as personal space on London transport. I use this time to message or email family and friends at home and search instagram for travel inspiration. 9 – 9:15am: I start each morning by scanning my emails and updating my “to-do” list. I then prioritise my “to-do” list and choose 2 items that I have to close off in that day. This helps me to keep focused on what really needs to be dealt with and helps me feel like I’ve achieved something in the day instead of a growing “to-do” list….. 10:00am: Campaign delivery meeting. These meetings provide an update on numerous campaigns. As Partnerships Manager I need to be across all of the campaigns to ensure I can update stakeholders on every campaign. Find out Peter Andre is the face of our Flu campaign (I laugh….he’s a big deal over here). 11:00am: 15 minute “stand up” with the development team of our new campaign resource centre website to discuss progress and barriers. 11:15am: coffee!!! Check in on emails. 11:30am: Teleconference with local authority stakeholders to update progress of a pilot campaigns being held in their area and discuss how they can support and implement the campaign locally. 12:30pm: Campaign All Agency meeting. These meetings are crucial during campaign development, we have our creative agency, media planning and buying agency, PR agency, events agency and evaluation agency all in the same room. It is my role to manage the public sector partnerships and stakeholder engagement for the campaign. 1:30pm: Eat at my desk and check emails. Quickly deal with an urgent request for information on local authority engagement for one of the Campaigns for a meeting with Secretary of State and the Cabinet Office on Friday. 1:45pm: Travel to Facebook for meeting on advertising and opportunities. Still staggered by the reach of facebook – 24million daily users in the UK. And yes, their offices are as cool as you imagine. 2:30pm: Back to the office and check in on emails – the first round of designs have come in for a report the CE has commissioned us to produce. 3:00pm: Weekly Demo for the new website with the development team. 4:15pm: Running late for meeting with the NHS on how Allied Health Professionals can support the campaigns. 5:06pm: Precious desk time! Time to action some things! 6:00pm: meet my fiancé at South Bank to check out the Christmas markets. We try to do something after work at least once a week. London is a very busy place and can wear you down, but seeing Big Ben and Parliament House light up at night never gets old and reminds me why we are here. 7:30pm: Train home (it’s not peak hour so we actually get a seat!) 8:00pm: cook dinner and prep for the next day, lunch, gym clothes etc. 8:30pm: Uni work (currently doing my MBA through Uni SA,) in front of the TV catching up on “I’m a celebrity get me out of here.” 9:21pm: Get distracted and surf the internet for latest travel and west end show deals. 10:00pm Bed. I need AT LEAST 8 hours sleep to function. 10:01pm: Remember that email I didn’t get back to…….

What made you decide to work overseas? Has this always been a passion of yours?
There are two main reasons, I’ve always has the urge to live overseas for a period of time. I like to push myself out of my comfort zone. London was the easy choice, with visas being simple to get.

The second reason was Europe. I’ve been dying to travel Europe. Which of course you can travel Europe and live in Australia, but by living in London, Europe is on our door step and it gives us the platform to really explore. For example we are off to Brussels this weekend! After a year and a half the novelty hasn’t worn off!

What is your current role?
I consider myself very lucky; I’m in a role similar to what I was doing in Australia which I love. Health is my passion and marketing is just plain fun! I am the Partnerships Marketing Manager working in Public Health Marketing and Public Engagement Division at Public Health England. We run behavior change social marketing campaigns – essentially we aim to motivate and support the UK public to be healthier!

Have your found working overseas to help your career opportunities?
I do feel like the experience and exposure I’ve gained here will be invaluable to my professional knowledge and my personal development. There are more opportunities in London; I guess it is a “bigger pond.” Plus working for the civil service here has provided me with amazing opportunities, going to Google and Facebook HQ was pretty cool, the partnership with Disney was a great achievement by the team.

What do/did you love about working overseas?
Europe is next door. In an hour I can be in Belgium, Paris, the Netherlands, Scotland or Ireland. Plus, there is so much happening in London, there is never a shortage of things to do. On the flip side; it has made me appreciate Australia even more!!

Over your career, what has been your ‘love this’ moment?
There have been a few;

  1. When the Minister for Health mentioned my campaigns in his speeches (without me having to write them into the speech!) – I know I’ve done a good job!
  1. Whenever I’m in the midst of developing a campaign – its hectic, but I love it.
  1. And then the first time I see the creative in the field, whether it’s the TV ad, radio Ad or billboards it’s always a nice moment.


What would be the least favorite aspect of working overseas?
The English winter, hands down. I don’t mind the cold, but the sun basically goes on holiday from November – March. It can be quite depressing coming out of a meeting at 4pm and its pitch black outside. Not seeing the sun for months has definitely made me learn a few new things about myself eg: my hair doesn’t grow!

And, I’m missing important moments for friends and family. I’ve missed a few engagements, weddings and a few friends are pregnant. 

Any advice for anyone aspiring to work overseas?
Seek more information! Speak to someone who has worked in the country you have in mind. Even better speak to someone who works in the industry of the country you are considering. Research into the industry and start to follow the news and trends in that country early on.

Speak with a recruitment agency; a lot of companies and government departments use recruitment agencies. They are a source of useful information not only about job prospects, but relocation advice as well. When you arrive, go speak with them face:face.

Get your foot in the door. Don’t be afraid to take a lower role to get your foot in the door.

I am almost in the same role as I was in Australia; but the terminology and language is quite different (even though we are talking about the same things!) This can mean in an interview, the interviewers may not understand what you are referring to!

Be clear about your reasons and motivations. When it’s 5 degrees and you’re walking to work in the rain you need to remember why you are there. For me – I have a trip booked every 6 weeks, even if it’s only for a weekend. It reminds me why we are here and gives me something to look forward to!

What fantastic advice and such an interesting role! Grace is more than happy to answer any questions you may have about relocating overseas or her role. Please join the conversation below… 


  1. I’m loving these blogs. Would love to share them with students next year to highlight the amazing opportunities that are before them!

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