Bulgaria’s Best

Emma Walsh
Emma Walsh

Emma is a marketing graduate from Dundalk Institute of Technology, finishing with a 1:1 in her honours bachelor’s degree. She is currently in her second year as Jameson Brand Ambassador in Bulgaria.

When did you decide that you wanted to take part in the Jameson Graduate Programme?

For me, the Jameson International Graduate Programme was always something I had heard of, and known about, since I started college. I was studying marketing in college, and I was working as a bartender while studying, so it seemed like a perfect fit. In my mind, the opportunity to be a Jameson Brand Ambassador was the best job ever!

What market were/are you in?

I’m currently based in Sofia, Bulgaria. While I am based in Sofia, I also cover all of Bulgaria as Jameson Brand Ambassador, including the big cities like Varna, Burgas and Plovdiv and the small towns and villages.

Do you speak an international language & do / did you use this as part of your market placement?

I speak a little bit of German, from studying it in school and from my Erasmus year in Berlin during college. To be placed in a market such as Germany I would have to have an upper intermediate level in the language which I don’t currently have. Typically, to be placed in markets where a language is required a strong competency in the language is required. 57% of graduates on the programme speak one or more international languages but that said, 43% do not speak any international language so don’t worry if you don’t have a language. It’s not a requirement for applying.

What characteristics do you have that help you effectively do your job as Brand Ambassador?

I’m a very outgoing and confident person. I find it very easy to talk in front of crowds and I love making friends. The founder of Pernod Ricard, the company that owns Jameson, always said ‘Make a new friend everyday’ that’s what our business is built on so that’s perfect for me! I’m also excellently organised (and humble…). This balance helps a lot in my job as sometimes I need to be creative and social and out and about in the city, but other times I need to be planning events, following up on meetings and keeping track of my work to make sure everything gets done.

What is the most rewarding thing about being part of the Jameson International Graduate Programme?

The opportunity to make your mark in a new country, in a new job, is something that came faster than I could have hoped for. After only a couple of months I was making changes, driving advocacy, increasing sales, pitching my ideas. Knowing that my work was actually giving some return and value to the brands growth and to the business, that is the most rewarding feeling.

What is the most challenging thing about a Jameson Brand Ambassador?

The most challenging thing is time management. You make your own schedule in this role. This is great but not as easy as it sounds as if you take a chilled approach then you’re not doing your job to the best of your ability and on the flip side, if you fill your days with too much, then you run the risk of burn out. It’s essential to make time for yourself, for your well-being, while also making the right amount of time for your work. I’ve got it down now, though.

How has the programme helped you to develop your own personal brand?

After learning more about what the Jameson brand is all about, I then started thinking about how important it is to portray that in my actions. Even if it’s something as simple as how I order my drink or how I introduce myself. I was aware that I am, at all moments, representing Jameson and I am also representing my own personal brand. Luckily my personal brand aligns with the values of Jameson’s brand. So, I’ve been able to develop and grow as a person, and as a professional, alongside my work as a Brand Ambassador. You could say we go together like like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong!

What skills do you feel you have developed through the Jameson International Graduate Programme?

I’ve learned how to use my people skills for business. I’ve learned to balance the action of making a friend and moving to the action of working together and performing a project. I’ve also learned important but little things such as how to work with an agency, how to co-ordinate an event properly, and how to work in a corporate setting – while still having fun and cracking jokes

Outside of the day job what do you do for fun?

In my free time, you can usually find me at the gym, debating with someone over a whiskey or going for a hike. Sofia has Vitosha mountain right beside the city, with great views. It’s perfect for getting away from the city-ness of everything.

What is your favourite memory from your time on the programme so far?

My favourite memory is going to Ireland for the Jameson Barrelman’s Homecoming. I brought back three bartenders from Bulgaria, with one of them competing in the global competition. With bartenders from all over the world, it was just four days of learning, laughing, dancing and slainte-ing. It was an unforgettable experience with remarkable people.

Any tips for anyone applying for the role of brand ambassador?

The natural answer is to say, ‘be yourself’, which is absolutely paramount and it’s the only way to approach this. However, I would add, be prepared. Let people see that when you are being yourself, you’re not just someone who can connect with people, but also someone who can work hard and get stuff done. Show your ‘Serious Character’. Reach out to current Brand Ambassadors for advice. Feel free to contact me on my Insta @questioningemma.