Alumnus of the Month: October 2021
Christian Harrall-Baker our Verulam School Alumnus of the Month for October 2021. Christian left Verulam School in 2008 and is now social media lead at the Premier League
Please tell us a little about yourself – where do you work and how did you get into this role?
I currently work as a consultant to the Premier League leading on their social media output. I left Verulam with the intention of becoming a Broadcast Journalist but quickly discovered I had colleagues at university who were considerably better and much more interested in news than I was. After a string of managing social media campaigns at University to raise the profile of the student paper where I was editor, I figured I could try combine my love of sport and social media together. After a period of working in sponsorship marketing and a brief sabbatical, I landed in this incredible role.
What are some of your proudest achievements since leaving Verulam School?
I’ve been fortunate enough to work in some incredible teams and some brilliant campaigns on behalf of clients, a few of which have been award-winning. I’m proudest of the work we do around the Rainbow Laces and our No Room For Racism campaigns. In my view, nobody is doing as much to put equality and the anti-racist agenda at the forefront of minds as football is, and while there’s plenty more to do, our work helps to highlight some of the incredible stories across the country and to help create safe environments so that anyone, regardless of race, colour, gender or sexuality can enjoy a game of football.
What advice would you give someone looking to follow a similar career path?
For social media marketing, learning how social media can support the wider business is important. Too many people think it’s just “sending tweets” or “posting on Instagram” when really, we help communicate key messages for organisations and are really the front line for a lot of fan or customer engagement too. A background in media or content creation is always useful too, but not completely necessary. Like most jobs, being able to work hard, not being shy to say you don’t know but are willing to learn and being willing to make brave decision will also help set you apart.
How have your experiences at Verulam School contributed to your life and successes since leaving school?
I think, generally speaking, Verulam allowed me, in my own time, to figure out what I was good at, and what I wasn’t good at. I didn’t ever feel pigeon-holed or forced down to go certain routes, be it STEM or otherwise. I distinctively remember a moment in English in year 9 where for the first time I remember that lightbulb moment of “Oh ok, I’m actually good at this and I know what to do”. That confidence helped at Uni, and still does today.
I’m also still extremely closer to the 12 friends I made at Verulam. From being groomsman at each other’s wedding to the countless memories we’ve made together since leaving school, that bond founded at school and support beyond it has probably been the greatest contribution to my life.
What House were you in at Verulam School and can you describe one of your fondest memories?
I was in Hamilton which was great for the green in the tie. Less good was a slightly excited me in year 8 thinking matching brace bands would look good and endlessly thinking I had spinach in my teeth…
I’ve got plenty of fond memories, too many which are probably not safe to be in a newsletter! The trips the school put on were always a highlight though. As a novice skier taken to Zell am See where, despite copious amounts of school aided lessons, I managed to break my hand on the first run but was encouraged to get back on with it – which I did and didn’t fall over again! We still talk about our DofE walks as a group of friends too.
It’s been a busy summer with the football returning to as-close-to-normal as possible with fans back in the grounds, so I’ll be taking a bit of a breather over the October International break and then get ready for a busy campaign period through to the Christmas fixtures. I’m also hoping to be able to go to Japan in the new year for my wife and I’s long awaited COVID delayed Honeymoon…
We love hearing what our alumni have been doing since leaving Verulam School. Each month, we are inviting a member of our alumni community to share their story of life after Verulam. If you’re and alumnus who would like to take part, or you’d like to volunteer an alumnus that you know, then please drop us an email.