Name: Domingo Leal
Job Title: Digital Marketer
Social handle: @DomingoLealPrez
Hey Domingo! Tell us a bit about your background...
As a kid, I was always curious but kept it to myself as I was very introvert… it was only me who knew about my aspirations. It was when I moved to the UK for the first time in 2009 when things started to shift. I came to study in the university as an exchange student doing an Erasmus program. After that, I went back to Seville to finish my degree in Business Management and Administration.
When I graduated in 2012 I decided to give Liverpool (and myself) a second chance. I wanted to come back and truly experience the city and the culture… you don’t get to experience that much when you are just having fun as a student. At this point, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to focus my career so I tried working in different areas, from waitering tables in restaurants and doing sales in a music magazine to teaching Spanish to English students.
In 2014 I had taken a break in Spain for a few months which I used as an opportunity to reflect and find some perspective. It was becoming difficult to think of Liverpool as a place for me to live, especially coming from sunny Spain! As I was exploring my options, my sister advised me to get involved in marketing by dipping into Google courses and to apply for an internship. My starting point was a city I knew of already, Liverpool.
Thanks to an EU-funded program, a company gave me an opportunity in the marketing department where I had to communicate constantly with clients, partners, media and members of the staff… keeping in mind that my English was still needing some improvement. This experience alone played a huge part in what I know today; it taught me that everything is a learning process regardless of how frustrating it was at the time.
After that, I went on to work in a small Liverpool marketing firm whilst also getting working with clients remotely including a language school based in Seville and an e-commerce company that brought Spanish products to the UK.
Then in 2017, I reached a point where I realised I wanted to work for myself and to do so, I needed to increase my knowledge of marketing which is when I decided to jump into a masters degree.
Since then everything has been great. The amount of amazing people that I have come across who have helped me has been incredible. I have put myself out there quite a lot over the years, and while I didn’t know what would come from it, I’m now proud of being able to work on my own, in a different language and country, pitching for clients and to not be scared of the outcome. I’m just focused on trying, and then trying again.
What is it that you do?
Essentially, I focus on two main things.
I look after the partnerships of a car rental company based in Liverpool that operates all around the UK, Ireland and the US. Here, I’m focused on increasing their presence in the tourism industry by linking to the key players in it. Being a part of the marketing team, I also help to design and implement the overall marketing strategy.
As well as this, I’m a marketing consultant specialised in the restaurant industry where I have been working for a while. My main aim for this work is to help small brands to lose their fear of growing through their marketing, whichever sector that’d be.
What skills have you found are essential for your line of work?
Being proactive and thinking ahead of changes.
Sometimes is difficult to understand why projects fail and strategies don’t work but I have found that having empathy, being flexible and not expecting much from what you give to people gives you eventually a good return.
We loved having you on our first course. What made you apply?
I remember I read it on LinkedIn while I was on Christmas holidays in Spain and I thought it sounded like something that I needed at that point in my career.
I had been in marketing for a while but I thought something was missing… Maybe it was the fact that working on my own made me not be in touch with other marketing companies and peers in Liverpool, and I wanted to experience new things by getting more involved with creative people in the area.
Maybe the fact that I enjoy getting out of the comfort zone and get involved in things made me apply too!
What were 3 key things did you learn about yourself or the industry during your time on Catalyst?
At a personal level, it showed me that my goals can be set way higher than I thought (for real). It also gave me way more confidence in what I do and how I do it.
I have learnt that being yourself and not trying to meet anyone else’s expectations leads you to run marathons where the opposite is only for quick wins and eventually leads you to frustration.
On a more professional level, I have learnt that people connect and want to work with people. It’s not numbers or brand names what matter when it comes to achieving your full potential. When you have nothing, the best thing you can do is to show kindness and give a bit extra of your time, heart, support. Even when you think you have zero resources, you have something to offer and that to me is the basic principle to any successful career/business/life. I still need to remind myself this every day, but I still remember how I could see this in Catalyst though people’s experiences and fails/successes in life.
How would you describe your experience and what benefitted you the most?
I felt so many different things and I learnt so much from my experience that it would be difficult to cram it all in here. I loved interacting with people from so many different backgrounds. I learnt so much on how different people can make the perfect team and how much power there is in starting a conversation with someone you don’t know.
I ended up having so much in common with everyone by the end of the course! I guess making the projects that we were assigned with people we didn’t know and present them and succeeding made me have that mall sense of pride and that little voice inside me that tells says “everything is possible”.
Were there any significant moments for you on the programme… if so, what were they?
On week 2, the “3 things that shaped me” session.
I’d say that this was when everything changed (for the better). Thinking that in Catalyst I’d learn professional skills to succeed in the creative industry, suddenly the programme puts on the table a new variable. Things that shaped you to become the person you are right now.
I had never in my life done something like this in such an honest way for my brain and my soul. I wouldn’t like to make any spoilers, so I’d say that this made me know myself better and be more focused on looking for what I really want and being more present and aware of who I am and why I am that. Definitely a good session to connect with yourself and everyone else in the course.
What advice would you give to those who are thinking about applying?
I’d say: do it! If you have got to know about the course and are thinking about applying, that means you need to apply! There is always a voice that will try to convince you to not do stuff. Catalyst if the key to start shushing that voice.
And finally, what’s on the horizon for you?
What I love about what I do is that I get to show people how with little they can achieve great things. Whether in the future that’d be making a restaurant succeed, grow the partners of a company or something else I suppose that’d be determined by the number of times I got out of my comfort zone until that point to learn and experience more and of all what is out there. I also hope to be able to give something back to the community hopefully sooner rather later!
I also have something in mind that is to link Seville and Liverpool (two cities that I love) by finding synergies between them. I am not sure how I’ll do it but that’s the most exciting part!
But, what is most important to me is being able to look back in ten years’ time and to see the learning and experience I have behind me. I’m looking forward to that.