Orla Hayes is a 22 year old final year student of the BA in Marketing with Advertising & Online Media in Waterford Institute of Technology. Interestingly enough, just five years ago Orla planned to join An Garda Síochána- but having made a pretty sharp departure from her dreams of civic duty and criminal justice, Orla is now preparing for graduation, and ultimately, a career in digital marketing. The Waterford native describes herself as a relatively introverted person, but with a lot of things to say about a lot of different things! Orla considers herself to be quirky, and loves to think outside of the box- perhaps why she has such a strong interest in the field of marketing. In her spare time, Ms Hayes enjoys reading, web development and fitness-related activities like boxercise, and has in the past also taken part in karate and theatre. Orla even runs her own blog, OHHEYORLA, where she expresses her views on a variety of current affairs and topics. Orla is also an active member of WIT’s Business Society and has volunteered for a variety of different activities, including the Deise Animal Sanctuary and Spraoi in the past.
The 22 year old graduated from secondary school at the age of 17 with her heart set on being a guard. Having applied for garda college, completing the garda vetting and even doing fitness tests, Orla was ready for the force- until she realised her true passion. While working in a local shop where her boss was once a marketing manager, at 17, Orla had the opportunity to liaise with a number of marketing representatives for brands such as Cadbury, Coca Cola etc. and through these experiences, the seeds of marketing ambition were planted, and this just began to grow and grow within her- and with this, she started at WIT to nurture and develop her passion. Last year, as part of her work placement, Orla was an internal communications intern for a large multinational public food company where she developed her own skill set and learned a lot about dealing with different kinds of people- but Orla admitted that large corporate life is just not somewhere that she envisions herself in. She currently works as a marketing consultant for a local business which operates in 30 countries worldwide, communicating with both her internal and international colleagues regularly.
Orla considers herself to be a hard-worker and told me that she sets a lot of goals for herself, not stopping until she achieves what she aims to achieve. She is a very strategic thinker and a lover of organising, finding that these traits benefit her a lot in terms of strategic marketing. In five years time, as a short term goal, Orla would like to be in a stable job and happy. As a more long term objective, Orla dreams of running her own digital marketing agency which targets smaller businesses who are missing out on opportunities because they don’t utilise digital marketing. Of course, her dream job would be to be a marketing manager for Disney, as Orla considers herself to be a huge Disney kid (The Little Mermaid is her favourite, if you’re asking) and enthuses over the company’s focus on everyone being treated as family.
When I asked Orla who has influenced her the most, she told me that there are two women that have done so, the first being one of her lecturers in marketing, Marie O’Dwyer, who Orla has said is probably the most intelligent person she’s ever met. Orla admires Marie’s passion and interest in her field, citing that she is both clever and compassionate. Orla’s other influence is her mother, who she clearly has a lot of love for. Her mother raised her to be a good person and inspires Orla each and every day.
Orla has the following advice for those who are soon to graduate:
“Get as much experience as you can- get out in the world, knock on doors, ask if people want help or if you can learn about something. Talk to lecturers, go to upskilling events, work on your LinkedIn, manage stress- and everything you learn only builds your tool kit.”
Connect with Orla on LinkedIn!