Spotlight on… James English, Head of Fuse EMEA & Charlotte Jacques, Head of Major Events at Fuse
What is your focus / main responsibility at Fuse? What clients do you work across?
James: I look after the teams working on the Nissan, Santander and PepsiCo accounts. These clients are partners of some of the world’s largest events including the UEFA Champions League, the International Cricket Council and Formula E.
Charlotte: I head up the Major Events team, who are responsible for delivering branded experiences for our clients at events such as the UEFA Champions League Final, UEFA Europa League Final, UEFA Euros and UCI Road World Championships.
You recently went to Madrid for the UCL Final, can you tell us a bit about that experience?
Charlotte: It feels a long time ago now but we can be extremely proud of the part that we played. There were over 100 Fusers onsite helping to deliver some amazing consumer activations, events and guest programmes on behalf of our clients Nissan, PepsiCo and Santander. From the airport to hotels, Champions Festival to the Champions Village, numerous event venues to the Stadium, it was great to see the extent of the city that we covered, and the quality and scale of the onsite activities and activations that we delivered.
James: From my perspective, it was amazing to have seen all the work that had gone on all season long leading up to this event and then to see the teams do an absolutely amazing job on site.
What’s been your highlight of working at Fuse?
Charlotte: It’s a tough one, but I think it must be Madrid and the way in which the team embraced the challenge. I can honestly say that it was a pleasure to work with everyone involved and it was great to see many of the team develop and grow in confidence as the project progressed. Being able to work with and learn from a great team of professionals, whilst delivering for amazing brands, at an event as high-profile as the UCL final, has definitely been a highlight.
James: To build on that, I think my highlight has been watching the agency grow over the five years I’ve been here. It wasn’t long ago that we were ten or fifteen people working in a small office and now to see us bring 100 people out for one single project it was very, very special. To be working with Fuse across the biggest annual sporting event for three amazing clients was an absolute career highlight.
Tell us a bit about the journey you’ve taken to joining Fuse? Where did you work before? How did you get started in the industry?
James: I actually started my career in the insurance business in Canada. I did that for five years before applying to be a volunteer with the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. I was accepted as a commercial rights management specialist and, to be honest, all I wanted to do was to take tickets and that was it. But actually, I got amazing exposure to the commercial rights side of things. I then moved to London to work on the London 2012 Olympic Games and did that for two years, before moving to Switzerland to work with UEFA’s marketing agency TEAM Marketing. Then five years ago I joined Fuse!
Charlotte: My career really started in sports marketing. I worked for Cardiff Council’s sport development team, Sport.Cardiff, in the year that Cardiff hosted the UK School Games and were named European City of Sport. I was fortunate to work with numerous sporting governing bodies and gain exposure to grassroots, community and elite sport and this is really where my appetite to work in the sports events industry came from. I went on to start up my own event management company, which allowed me to work with some great organisations such as Disability Sport Wales, GB Wheelchair Rugby and the organising committee for the Cardiff Half Marathon, before moving to London to take on a full-time role at LOCOG ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games. I then worked as a Volunteer Venue Manager at the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, before joining Fuse on a freelance basis and then permanently to work with Carlsberg on their Premier League and UEFA Euro partnerships.
Do you have any advice you’d give to people looking to start out in a career in sports marketing?
James: The biggest piece of advice I would give is to jump at any opportunity that you get. My first experience in this industry was as a volunteer at the Olympic Games. If you would have said to me in 2010 that nine years later I would still be doing this, I wouldn’t have believed you. All of this started from volunteering and just getting involved. When an opportunity presents itself to you, jump at it!
Once you get into the industry, there’s so much opportunity and variety of things that you can do, so move around discover what you like doing because there’s no real linear path in this industry.
Charlotte: I’d echo the same thing: volunteer! I’ve been very fortunate throughout my career to work with numerous volunteers and have volunteered myself at major events. Not only is it really rewarding for the role that you play, the people that you meet and the experiences that you gain, your skillset will definitely improve. You get exposure to so many different things and you can carve your own path from there.