UK Disability History Month: Carla’s Story
Carla, who studies on the BA (Hons) Sports Marketing Course at Leeds Beckett, was diagnosed with epilepsy while in secondary school and says at the time her diagnosis was initially difficult to come to terms with.
"Being diagnosed with epilepsy was a shock to both myself and my family. At first, it was difficult to come to terms with as nobody, including myself, knew where this had come from so going through all the examinations and hospital appointments during secondary school had impacted me mentally.”
Despite her diagnosis, Carla found an ambition to get involved in sport. Having been passionate about sport since an early age, in particular Formula One, she knew it was a career path to head down and began studying in sport at university to help realise her ambitions.
“I originally studied Sport Business Management in my first year, however I felt it would be in my best interests to switch to Sports Marketing as the modules within the course improved my employability and prospects for the future.” Carla adds.
“The marketing and communications module especially assisted with this. My module leader, Angela, directed me to her contacts in the motorsport industry which has led to opportunities to work within PR & Communications after I graduate.”
In Carla’s first year of study, she was awarded a Carnegie Class of 75-77 scholarship which she used to help start her own blog and embark on her career working in sports media.
“Receiving the Scholarship in my first year was something I did not expect to achieve. It has helped me develop my own sports blog, which I developed and worked on during 2020, by writing articles, creating a website, and establishing my own brand and social media following.
“By utilising the scholarship and the support from the Make It In Marketing programme and my mentor Tasha, all of this came together and set me off on the path to where I am today.”
Carla says sport helped her stay positive and helped her to accept her diagnosis.
“Sport can act as a counsellor as it allows you to refocus your negative energy and forget about life’s troubles for a few hours, which is what motorsport and football did for me.
“Being able to attend games at Elland Road has helped me put my epilepsy at the back of my mind and made my diagnosis more bearable to deal with and to also accept as part of me.”
Carla’s passion for sport has led her to work in the motorsport industry. Carla, alongside her studies, now works as a Marketing Communications Executive for InsideF2, which focuses on content aimed at the Formula Two World Championship.
“At InsideF2, I work within the marketing and social media team, which involves producing content for its social media channels and covering any breaking news. It also offers opportunities to work on press releases and interviews with the Formula Two teams.
“It is a busy job, however being a passionate Formula Two fan working in the industry and the sense of fulfilment I get from the content I have produced, or the positive interaction from F2 Teams, only adds to your confidence levels.
“It makes it feel less like a job and ‘more like a hobby’ to quote one-time Formula One World Champion Kimi Raikkonen.”
Carla’s role at InsideF2 has led to working on other projects. Carla has linked up with an ambitious independent motorsport team called Alma Corse, which aims to increase diversity and opportunities within the sport and to make motorsport accessible to people from all backgrounds.
“The fact that Alma Corse has the aim of increasing diversity in motorsport is what attracted me to the cause. Motorsport has a stigma of being a rich white man’s sport, and that is why I wanted to be involved in the project, to help make motorsport more inclusive.
“The sport is gradually working towards this in some areas, such as with female participation, but not disabilities, which applies to myself.
“Alma Corse aims to provide opportunities to those from underrepresented backgrounds to race and work for the team in various non-racing roles, which is why I was inspired to get involved."