Chelsea Galpin - BA (Hons) Public Relations with Marketing, 2015
Communications Officer at the Motor Neurone Disease Association since 2015.
Can you tell us a bit about what you do?
“I have been the Communications Officer at the Motor Neurone Disease Association since 2015. It’s the charity best-known as being the main beneficiary in the UK of the Ice Bucket Challenge which raised over £7million for the Association. Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a fatal, rapidly progressing disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. It affects the nerves that control movement so muscles no longer work. Sadly, a third of people die within a year of diagnosis and more than half die within two years. There is no cure.
“My role as Communications Officer in a small team of three means we are the main point of contact for all press enquiries; whether it be a comment on research findings, a spokesperson for local news, providing script support for TV programmes or setting up spokespeople from the Association, they all come through our team.”
“As well as the reactive media, I also plays a big part in the MND Association’s June Awareness Month; a national campaign held each year to raise awareness of MND. I am involved in the whole planning process, sourcing the people with MND to appear on posters and then pushing the hard news angle out to the media and proactively selling into media. This year I have managed the relationships with the people with MND, ensuring they're happy throughout the process and supporting any way I can.”
“Another part of my role involves gathering personal stories of those living with MND, their families and carers. These people are better able to tell of the devastation MND causes, highlighting use in direct marketing appeals, applications to trusts and in other campaigns. Their stories are also used in our publications, on social media, on our website and in our members’ magazine, helping others to feel they're not alone and highlight services they may wish to access too. Perhaps most importantly, sharing their story can be a cathartic process for people with MND and their families, helping them to fight back against the disease and raise awareness.
What do you enjoy about your role?
“It is incredibly rewarding and the people I work with are so inspiring. I build relationships with people and their families and inevitably end up attending their funerals, but it's fantastic to know I have been able to help people share their stories and raise awareness of such an awful disease.”
“I really loved my time at Leeds Beckett University and have recommended the University and course to so many people, particularly due to it giving my career the kick-start it needed.”
How has Leeds Beckett helped you in your role?
“Leeds Beckett was pivotal in helping me to secure my current role. Perhaps the most important aspect was the importance placed on experience; having to complete a portfolio through completing work placements helped me to build up a strong set of skills that placed me ahead of many other candidates and having examples of work to show in the interview gave her a real advantage.
“In my final year I had decided I wanted to work in-house and preferably for a charity so I felt like I was giving something back, and my time at Welcome to Yorkshire supported this. I also interviewed the MND Association as part of my dissertation for final year and this provided a great in-route and talking point in my interview. Giving students opportunities in their final year is so important, especially when they're focusing on their dissertation, it can provide much needed morale boost and the cherry on the cake for their CV before going into their chosen field. Finally, having a degree in Public Relations with Marketing, especially first-class honours, was impressive to my employer and was mentioned several times through the interview process.”