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My Career: Marketing manager of Circle Club at the Bord Gáis Blaise Kelly


By Blaise Kelly
15th Feb 2024
My Career: Marketing manager of Circle Club at the Bord Gáis Blaise Kelly

Returning to Dublin during Covid, Blaise Kelly took a leap of faith and moved industry so she could be part of the reawakening city after years spent working abroad. The current Marketing Manager of memberships at Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, it’s a role that combines many of her passions – including marketing, hospitality, entertainment, theatre and the arts. Here she tells us more about her career journey to date.

Did you always want to be a marketing manager?
No – early on I had a narrow view of career paths. I think the first ideas that entered my mind were being a journalist or a chef but I never had one single guiding passion or talent like a lot of my friends had, which led to me being a bit lost around CAO time.

In college, I studied… a few things – Geography and Politics for a week, before transferring into Jewish and Middle Eastern Studies with Latin in Trinity College Dublin. I left that course after a year and applied to study law in UCD for a change of scenery. I’m so glad I took that jump.

My most formative work experience was… anything customer-facing and sales-related. Learning to think on your feet early on is so beneficial. I had quite a few jobs as a young person. I was keen to get working while at school and when I fell into hospitality in my teens, I loved it and all of my jobs since have been pretty industry-adjacent.

My first real job was… working as a lounge girl in a pub when I was in school, the start of my love of hospitality.

The most invaluable thing I learned early on in my career was… the power of a story. This is obvious in marketing but served me so well in my days as a waitress. I think it’s something we have inherently in Ireland; it’s why the Irish do so well abroad, and why we miss home. I love that my role with Circle Club means getting to enjoy so many great stories through the shows that come to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.

A common misconception about what I do is… that marketing is fluffy or superficial. I’m so involved with the membership experience and making sure that our offering is centred on the different ways that our members want to use it, be that for musical theatre buffs who want first access to the biggest shows, treating friends and family for great nights out, hosting large client events, or rewarding staff.

My main responsibility in work is to… make sure our members are aware of the spectacular shows coming to the theatre and to raise awareness of the membership and its unique value for prospective members, both personal and corporate.

Do you have a career mentor or someone you look up to/seek advice from?
In the three most formative roles I’ve held, I’ve been lucky to work for strong, trailblazing women who saw the importance of nurturing and supporting women in business, be they on their team or industry colleagues.

The biggest risk I have taken in my career so far is… leaving my first job in law to work for a start-up whiskey company in the US. I was the first hire for an unknown brand and was tasked with growing it in the States. When I look back, I don’t know if I realised what a risk it was, but it paid off tenfold. I gained so much from this role though it was tough at times. It brought me into the luxury sphere and paved my way to my current job which I love.

I wake at… between 7 and 8 usually, but it varies based on whether I’m going to the gym, and office or working from home.

The first thing I do every morning is… usually scrolling on my phone and reading the news to wake up.

My morning routine is… depends on whether I’m in the office or have meetings out, but I usually have a tea in bed, start checking the inbox and get moving. If I’m working from home, I prioritise getting outside for a walk/gym class or coffee. 

I can’t go to work without… a notebook. I go through so many – everything gets written down and I love a list.

I travel to work by… foot, it’s not far and I absolutely love walking through town in the mornings to the office.

On an average workday I… once I get through the basics (emails, to-do list, team check-ins, approvals) it changes a lot. I might have a menu tasting or photoshoot in the Circle Club, have a briefing with an agency on an upcoming campaign or event, or spend an entire afternoon with my head in spreadsheets and presentations. I work very closely with the Head of Circle Club on member events or communications, and our Business Development manager on any upcoming promotional campaigns.

I start my working day at… usually between 9 and 9.30 – I’d much rather take it easy in the mornings and allow my mind to wake up. I’m a night owl so I definitely do better work in the evening.

The first thing I do at work is… emails!

I usually spend the first portion of the day… if I have calls, I like to have them in the morning and then work on the bigger solo tasks for the afternoon.

I break for lunch at… 1 and usually have eggs or leftover curry if I’m lucky and made enough!

The most useful business tool I use every day is… probably Excel. This was the case even when I worked in law. I think for someone who’s not naturally numerical, it just makes things so easy!

I save time by… ending my day with an email to myself to make morning me a bit more efficient at prioritising. My brain at the end of the day is always stronger than in the morning.

I rarely get through my working day without… a little treat. Currently loving those from Fable Bakery.

The best part of my day is… probably the walk to and from work – I’m a city girl and I love being by water so I get the best of both through Dublin.

The most challenging part of my day is… deciding what to cook for dinner

I know it’s been a good day if… I’m looking forward to talking about it at dinner.

I usually end my day by… going to the supermarket or gym on the way home.

I switch off from work by… cooking a new recipe or doing intense exercise. I find it hard to clear my mind without doing something that requires 100% focus.

Before I go to bed, I’ll… dorky, but Wordle and Connections on the New York Times app is always the last thing I do.

I often prepare for tomorrow by… probably not the best way, but when I close my eyes, I start coming up with so many things to add to my to-do list – some great ideas, all frustratingly poor for sleep.

After a long work week, I destress by… going for pizza and wine, or often a hot chocolate with a pal.

The accomplishment I’m most proud of is… making a go of it in the States. Workwise, I had no script and built something from nothing ultimately. Personally, it was probably the first time I did anything alone and it’s resulted in me being independent and happy flying solo.

If you want to get into my line of work, my advice is to… reach out to someone who does what you are interested in for a chat. It doesn’t have to be role-based either. If you’re interested in working in a certain industry, connecting with anyone involved is a good idea, and start-ups are a great way to get your foot in doors. Alongside that, be adaptable but start to hone in on certain skills early – be it design, digital marketing, writing. It’s important to have something to develop and bring to the table.

I’ve just finished working on… mapping out our 2024 activity for Circle Club. We are very dependent on the theatre’s show and announcement schedule which is subject to change. At the moment, we have some really fun shows coming to the theatre such as Come From Away which I can’t wait to see in June and of course, the excitement for Hamilton will keep us going until September!

A membership to Circle Club, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre’s member’s club creates magical occasions to share with family and friends, with 2024 set to be another spectacular year thanks to shows such as Hamilton and Life of Pi.