Patrick Fearon & pug
BIMA/TRC Inspiring Digital Leaders (IDL) interview with Patrick
Meet Patrick, one of the BIMA/TRC IDL digital “Fab Five”. With a MSc in Digital Marketing and a BA Interactive Media Arts Patrick sounded like a natural fit for the IDL programme but he was clear it has been a real eye-opener for him. Growing up in Northern Ireland I asked him what brought him to Glasgow. There was a flurry of reasons:
- Great courses on offer
- Good job opportunities
- His partner and sister are here
- He has found it a friendly and accepting place.
But we were racing ahead in the current day and I wanted to find out a bit more about Patrick’s journey to IDL. As a young child Patrick rather fancied himself as an astronaut but soon became interested in working in media, perhaps as a journalist. Causing parental sighs he decided to take his “A” levels at the college rather than the secondary school (the perception at the time was you went to colleague when your GCSE grades were not good enough and he got nine good ones). He caused further hair-pulling-out when he dropped his “A”s and signed up for a two year diploma in Interactive Media. Patrick claimed this was the first time in his life he worked really hard for something. It paid off and he got a place on the Interactive Media Arts degree course at Ulster University – a course which he said was “seen as revolutionary at the time”.
placement at Ulster University
His studies were setting a clear course ahead but Patrick was also busy with his side projects. An early gig was as a photographer in a local bar, taking shots at the weekend to populate the bar’s social media channels. This was an unexpected opportunity for Patrick as he did not own a camera and was a “horrible photographer”. Nevertheless, this did not hold him back, he bought his own camera with his first pay cheque “an entry level canon” which provided him with nine years of service, so definitely a great buy. In fact the whole project was a success for Patrick and he only gave up the job when attendance at university made it unworkable for him to do the shifts. He later went back home and did the same gig for the new bar that opened next door.
While at university Patrick continued to pursue extracurricular activities, looking to TV to sate his interest in media and journalism. He loved the experience and learnt huge amounts from various TV stints but it became clear, at that time, it was a really hard industry to break into and succeed in. A lecturer at the university put him forward for a role in their marketing department, a role which he embraced as it complemented his studies. This led to a formative experience in the shape of a one year placement at Ulster University working on campaigns. Patrick readily saw the value of social channels and digital tools to amplify messages and reach broader audiences.
Successfully completing his BA, Patrick followed his partner to Glasgow and embarked upon one of the hardest times of his life as he was without study and work. He found this three-month period soul destroying and worked hard to change his circumstances. Looking back he says he feels naïve that he did not plan the move in advance but nevertheless learnt hard lessons from the experience. Finally working Patrick enrolled himself on the Digital Marketing MSc at UWS (later working on marketing for their careers department) and this is how he has ended up on the IDL programme – something he describes so far as an “overwhelming good experience”.
Digital Marketing at UWS
I asked if the IDL programme had thrown up any surprises for him, because as a man who describes himself as the “man of many internships” I assumed he had it all figured out. Not quite so. Patrick has found the experience an eye-opener, seeing how each agency works differently and surprising himself, developing a new and avid interest in data analytics and SEO – something he thought he would find boring. He also explained that the programme has built his confidence and taught him not to self-construct barriers - he almost didn’t apply for the programme as it looked “too good”.
With all this study and work experience under his belt I asked the “man of many internships” if he had advice for the younger Patrick. He readily replied “Don’t put up barriers. What is the worst that can happen? Do not fear failure”. And what is his photography like these days? Apparently much better. I am guessing there are some examples on his website dedicated to pugs (another passion): pugcare
Patrick has a fantastic range of experience under his belt. His warm personality, intelligence, strong work ethic shine through ensuring some great career opportunities ahead.
Find out more about fantastic Patrick