After hearing positive feedback from a wide range of former bp employees, Em decided to research the early careers opportunities available in commercial and downstream roles at bp and found that the graduate programme had six and half thousand other applicants for approximately four roles. She thought it would be a good challenge – and overcame the odds to be successful!
She joined bp in 2012 as a graduate business analyst, initially supporting Castrol’s UK retail business. She was responsible for supporting large retailers such as Tesco and Asda, with the coordination of marketing strategy, pricing procurement and supply chain logistics, and within months she became a joint key account manager for B&Q.
This was also the role which presented Em with the first strategic transformation project of her career: the introduction of SAP software solutions at bp. Em played a key role in updating the order to cash process and managing the training of Castrol’s teams to ensure her colleagues felt empowered by the technology during the transition.
The following year, Em shifted to become a buyer responsible for the chilled and non-food category across 400 retail points, including those operated in partnership with M&S.
Em’s final rotation on the programme was focused on strategic transformation, as a project portfolio analyst for Castrol’s Europe and Africa regions. Internally and externally, Em reported the commercial risk and resource implications of strategic projects, whilst leading two of her own transformation projects in the Nordics and Turkey. She was also heavily involved in the reorganisation of Castrol’s UK business and the move of Castrol’s head office in 2014.
Reflecting on this role, Em notes that the highlight was the sheer diversity of its remit:
Digital communications to drive change
After a short tenure in bp’s global social media team, Em decided to move on from bp in 2016 to focus her career on marketing and communications consulting. She now acts as a strategic advisor supporting senior leadership teams across Fortune and FTSE 150 companies and specialises in guiding corporate and cultural transformation through digital marketing and social media.
Looking back on her time at bp, Em recognises that the key skill she was able to develop was her ability to help businesses perform whilst transforming. Providing business intelligence to support business strategy and determining the necessary actions to achieve organisational goals is something she now considers every day in her current position.
Championing knowledge-sharing and collaboration
Mentorship and passing on knowledge to the next generation of leaders has always been front of mind for Em. While at bp, Em was particularly proud of the opportunities she received at an early stage of her career to travel and speak with incoming graduates and leaders about her experiences and diversity across the company – in terms of thought, personality and culture.
“Speaking at events and facilitating workshops was where I discovered my true passion for cultural change, as well as the power of clear internal and external communications,” she mentions.
This included events organised by bp’s Women’s International Network, as well as those focused on championing bp’s values and behaviours. Em was an active internal ambassador for these values and behaviours and led multiple face-to-face and virtual workshops for bp and Castrol’s leadership teams across the world to promote best practice behaviours that aligned with bp’s culture.
“They say culture eats strategy for breakfast, I see them more as two sides of the same coin. You need both for peak performance, as well as a real understanding of stakeholder engagement,” Em explains.
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