23 July 2018
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Name: Helen Smith
Job Title: Blogger at Wandering Liverpool
Location: Liverpool
Social handle: @helenkaysmith4 / @WanderingLPL

We can’t believe that the third Catalyst programme is coming to an end… It’s been quite the journey packed full of insights, new experiences, personal development and incredible people. To share with OH’s community just how talented this bunch are – we’ve been chatting to them to share their own story.

Here we have the brains behind the ever more popular Wandering Liverpool pages and social media genius.

Hey! We might know you, but OH’s community need to get to the gritty on who you are... Tell us a little about the story of you.

I read that only 6% of people that grow up in foster care go to university… and I am part of that 6%.

I grew up in foster care since I was born because my family couldn’t look after me and my siblings. I think I’d moved back an forth to my mum’s house and a foster family around 20 times and then after my 10th birthday, social services decided to make my foster carers my permanent home until I was 18. I really want to help people in my same situation which is why I wanted to be so open.

I went to university to have some security financial, as well as wanting to carry on studying. Social services were willing to help pay for my fees and accommodation (which they don’t offer to every foster child now and that saddens me) and this made me decide to go. Although I see myself as a pretty average student and never really enjoyed formal learning, the education system has been the only stable thing in my life I think that’s why I’ve held onto it so tightly and am now doing a masters. It’s hard to go into the real world and find your path especially when you start at a disadvantage to some people.

I don’t think university is for everyone. I think some people like it and some people hate it and I have kind of had a love/hate relationship over the past few years, I can’t lie. Nonetheless for me, doing a masters has helped me change my career path from tourism over to digital marketing and now I get to combine the two with my hobbies as well. It has all just kind of fell into place. I’ve had to work part-time in between doing my uni work and blog but for me, I know that it’s moving forward rather than back, which is what keeps me motivated.

Wandering Liverpool is a blog I started in April this year. I started with an Instagram page, Twitter and Facebook and I am working on getting my website done ASAP. I wanted a down-to-earth guide for anyone who wants to wander. Liverpool isn’t all about spending money. Being a student I know deals pretty much everywhere and ways to get your bang for your buck! I basically just wander around and take photos on my iPhone and now from this, I am starting to work with restaurants to do reviews and helping them with their digital marketing.

I have tons more ideas for it and I am excited to see where this journey takes me.

Everybody has their weird and wonderful... What’s something that people don’t usually know about you?

I don’t really know I think my friends would say I am a bit mad. I have a really bad attention span. And, erm… Lady Gaga follows me on Twitter that’s always an icebreaker.

We’re thrilled to share the Catalyst journey with you! Why did you want to be a part of it?

I wanted to get involved with people like myself that want to be in the creative and digital industry in Liverpool. I just noticed from going to networking events that in small cities sometimes it’s not what you know, its who you know and if you can prove to people you are hard working and passionate about what you do then you’re in there.

We’re inspired each and every week by the Catalyst group. But we want to know, what inspires you?

What inspires me is seeing people doing a job that they actually love and I think life’s too short to hate your job.

I’ve had jobs in the past and thought I can’t do this all my life never-mind for a few months and I don’t want to settle for mundane life.

What do you think has been your significant moment of the programme and why was is so out standish to you?

I think the BE stage has definitely broken me a little bit but in a good way. I’ve looked inwards on myself and thought about the things I want to improve about myself and then I am trying my best every day to make those changes. I enjoyed finding out more about other people and realising that we all have so much in common, we are all going through our own issues and things we all want to change about our lives.

Catalyst is just that, a catalyst for change.

Cohort 3 of OH Catalyst has been an absolute ball! How have you felt about the experience and what has benefited you most?

I think what has benefited me the most is having open discussions about things that I would generally avoid talking about. I used to get a pang of fear whenever anyone would ask me “so what do you want to do with your life?“

Now I am dipping my toes in everything, and I know that it’s ok not to know and it’s ok to try it all!

I also loved the Know Your Bias session with The Other Box because it was really frank discussions with the whole group about biases and it made me really think about what I can do to improve myself. I think now learning how to pronounce a persons name is super important!

And finally! What’s on the horizon?

Whats on the horizon for me is continuing to learn and do my side hustle (Wandering Liverpool) and to figure out what aspect of digital marketing I like the most in order to specialise in it (let’s be honest it’ll be social media something). A few other things like graduating from my master’s degree (hopefully!) and a lot, a lot of wandering.

If you want to join me on my travels, follow my Twitter! I can’t promise there won’t be any Love Island tweets or moaning at ASOS about a parcel not being delivered.

Article by
Victoria Murray
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