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rory giblin

they/them | linkedin

Hey, Rory! hows things?

Hey Megan - I’m great thank you! Hope you’re surviving this heatwave!

Tell us about yourself!

My colleagues joke that I’m 27 going on 90, so that’s probably a good start ha! People usually assume due to my appearance that I will be some wild punk (which a long time ago I was) but in reality I’m more like a nana who enjoys a cuppa and a good book. I work as a Business Development Manager for a Social Media Agency called KOMI Group which is based in Manchester. I’m non-binary, queer, covered in tattoos, piercings and forever changing the colour of my buzzcut.

Give us some fun facts about you?

My wildest fact that people are probably sick of hearing is that I was at Muhammad Ali’s memorial service in Louisville, Kentucky.

I’m currently training to run a marathon in aid of Andys Man Club which is a male suicide prevention charity.

I have a tattoo of a monkey wearing a monocle and reading Charles Darwin - it’s ridiculous and I absolutely love it!

One of the things that drew us to you was your idea of what professionalism is, what is it to you?

To me professionalism is totally fluid, like most things in my mind. Depending on what you do, where you do it and who with can hugely impact on what is considered professional. Equally I think the only thing that truly makes someone unprofessional is attitude. It doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor, barber, architect or a bartender - if your attitude sucks then you’re unprofessional in my opinion.

How I look and identify plays no part in me being a professional in my field, I’m good at my job and that’s all that really matters. I always knew I wanted to have visible tattoos and piercings and have the freedom to express myself through my appearance so I didn’t choose to go down a traditional career path because of that. Some people may think prioritising a tattoo over a career is a bad decision but I knew I would only ever really be happy being my true, authentic self. I would have loved to explore the world of law and maybe even medicine but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my identity to do it. So that’s why I chose the creative industries to pursue a career in so I could still have that freedom.

Do you think LinkedIn has reinforced the typical professional mindset?

Up until recently - yes. I first got LinkedIn when I was around 22, I felt totally out of place on there and that it was something you just did when you had a job and payed no attention to it for a year. Then in my next job it was used as a tool to find speakers for events and as a marketing tool. My next role used it as a lead generation and outreach tool, I was still treating the platform as a very much professional space. I never shared anything personal and had a very bland profile with a professional headshot and a generic blurb. Fast forward another year and I posted a random selfie and introduced myself, my real self. The post went viral and I was overwhelmed with the support I received over my view of the ‘new professional’.

Do you think theres starting to be a shift in the mindset?

The world is changing and LinkedIn is no exception to that. As the next generation are becoming the CEO’s of the world then standards are changing. Our norms are different, our expectations, our priorities and our view on the world. There is still and probably always will be those who believe it should be a traditionally professional platform and don’t support the new wave of creators shaking up the space. I have had my fair share of backlash on the platform but had buckets more support and love from strangers all over the world who have now become friends.

You spoke about how supportive Komi were with your identity in the hiring process, what did they do that was something that should become the norm?

I never really made my identity known in work environments, I had my pronouns on LinkedIn and that was it. If people asked I would tell them but it wasn’t something I opened with. It wasn’t really the done thing then, asking about pronouns felt alien even to me. But Terry, my now manager, pointed out to the recruitment company that I have They/Them pronouns on my LinkedIn so they called me and asked how I would like to be referred to and if there was anything they could do to ensure I felt safe, supported and understood during the hiring process. I was absolutely shook by this. In the best possible way. I called my friends straight away and they were all beaming for me - it was that moment I knew I had to work for this company, for Terry and I knew I was going to be happy there. It was such a tiny thing, but just noticing my pronouns and then asking what I needed was hugely impactful. I felt respected and that had never happened in terms of my identity before, especially not in a work environment.

What is your advice for companies in properly implementing an inclusive and diverse culture?

See people as people. Everyone is an individual and their needs will be unique to them. Ensure that there is zero tolerance to disrespect and encourage conversations so everyone feels included, educated and comfortable.

I’m sure my teammates were a little unsure when I first joined, mainly people didn’t want to make a mistake and cause harm to me,. But after a few conversations, me allowing them to ask any and all questions and reassuring them that slipping up is absolutely fine - just don’t be disrespectful, I now have a great relationship with everyone I work with.

When it comes down to it and you remove all of the labels, you’d be surprised of the things you have in common with others and the bonds you can build with outwardly very different people to yourself. Companies should do anything they can to encourage this and to nurture those work place friendships.

So we are a creative platform but what is your pet peeve?

My biggest pet peeve with brands is if they jump on any kind of bandwagon. Unauthentic content for the sole purpose of seeming relevant but it having no real impact or purpose. That goes for creators too. Especially around BLM, pride and women’s rights campaigns. Just posting a black square on your insta or saying you would have someone stay at your house so they can access healthcare in your country is kind of missing the mark and makes finding actual useful content difficult when it gets lost in a sea of rubbish.

What got you into marketing?

I studied Arts and Festivals Management at DeMontfort University and the marketing modules were always my favourite. I loved learning all of the theory and then having so many opportunities to put that into practice meant I left uni with a bank of experience and a general sense of direction. I sort of fell into the marketing and events world and loved that I could make brands matter. You could have the best product in the world but bad content will always be bad content regardless of how good your product is. The idea that I can help people to help themselves always appealed to me.

Social media, good or a bad thing?

I think it is fundamentally good, but you have to use it with caution. At the end of the day the issue isn’t social media, it’s the people using it. As a tool its life changing. Connecting people from all over the world, from all walks of life, creating communities, friendships, relationships and work partnerships across the globe. You couldn’t have imagined that even 20 years ago.

There will always be dark sides, it can be super easy to end up getting drawn into the negativity of social platforms. You have to take everything with a pinch of salt. It’s great to see creators being far more authentic and using their platform for good these days.

I think we are moving into a really healthy direction with people being real, taking time away from social media and using it as a way to enhance your life, not live through it.

Who are your standout creatives?

@hopesheroines on Instagram is one of my absolute fave designers, they are also a stunningly wonderful human which helps.

@toby.thecreator on Instagram is a friend of mine who is currently doing a tattoo apprenticeship and is already creating amazing work. Toby actually comes from a banking background and I find his creative career change super empowering!

For my final question, whats next?

I never really have a plan, right now I’m happy. I love the company I work for, my teammates and the work that I do. Who knows what the future holds, I’m always open to new challenges and changes. If I learned anything through the pandemic it was that ultimately you can’t predict the future and plans can go horribly wrong. So I’m just seeing where life sways me, taking every opportunity, enjoying every day as best I can.

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