Posted Thursday 24 November 2016
Kingston University alumnus Chay Watkins has been recognised in The Grocer's 2016 Top New Talent List.
Chay, one of 36 industry professionals to be recognised in the list, joined a host of senior figures at a reception at the Royal Society of Arts in London to collect his award. The list recognises some of the extremely talented people who work in the food and drink industry.
Having graduated with a BA (Hons) in Marketing Management in 2009, Chay is currently marketing director for SCI-MX Nutrition, sitting on the board of directors at the age of 31.
Chay says he looks back at his time at Kingston University with great fondness. "I wouldn't be where I am today if it were not for the fantastic lecturers, facilities and students at Kingston University," said Chay. "I know that Kingston is where my career started and I still put my academic study to use every day."
Chay secured his first professional role after attending a Spotlight on Marketing event, run by the University's careers service, KU Talent. Chay sat on a panel of marketing professionals as the voice of a recent graduate.
Following the event Chay was offered two marketing roles, one being his "dream job" as assistant brand manager for Frijj at Dairy Crest.
"This taught me the importance of thinking outside of the box and networking when it comes to job hunting. If you want to work in marketing you have to be able to market yourself. CV, presentation, interviews, self-promotion, clarity of thought and sell, sell, sell yourself!"
Chay moved to sports nutrition business Sci-MX in 2012, with a brief to get the brand into the major multiples. Sci-MX is now growing fast, and Chay joined the senior management team in 2014. Chay heads up a team of six and was recently promoted to marketing director.
Chay's advice for students and recent graduates is to "believe in yourself", he continued. "Self-belief and determination are so vitally important to the next ten years. Have a vision of where you want to be, and a plan of how you get there.
"Make sure you find the time to enjoy yourself but from now on, you have to find the right balance of your career and social life."
Editor of The Grocer, Adam Leyland, welcomed the winners at an awards ceremony on 14 November.
"There are 3.6m employed by the food and drink industry in the UK and this year's list represents the cream of the crop," said Adam. "And the industry knows just how important young talent is to the future."