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Article published 10/06/2022

We launched a new feature last year so that you can get to know our team a little better! We’re asking members of staff from across VisitScotland to tell us a bit about themselves and their roles, as well as some of their favourite places to visit in our beautiful country. In the next of the series hear from Ashleigh Littlejohn, our Internal Communications Executive within the Corporate Communications team. 

Ashleigh Littlejohn, Industry Communications Executive

Tell us a bit about yourself...

Hello everyone, my name is Ashleigh Littlejohn and I started my role as Internal Communications Executive last July. I live in sunny Angus and when I’m not working from home you’ll find me in our Aberdeen local office.

I got my start in tourism working as an Apprentice Manager at The Hideaway Experience near Dundee. Here I learned the ins and outs of running a small agritourism business and it’s where I found my love for tourism.

While working there I found myself really interested in the communications side of running a business so decided to complete an MSc in Communications and Public Affairs at Robert Gordon's University in Aberdeen.

After finishing this degree I wanted to find a job that combined my interest in communications and tourism, which makes working in Internal Comms at VisitScotland the perfect fit for me!

Ashleigh Littlejohn at her graduation from Robert Gordon's University in 2021

When I’m not at work, you’ll find me either with my nose in a book (dystopian novels are my favourite) or wandering one of my local beaches.

I’ve recently been enjoying Pilates and Yoga – I tried to take up running during lockdown but I quickly learned it’s not for me. And of course, as everyone who works here will probably say, I love exploring both Scotland and the rest of the world.

 

What's your role and main responsibilities?

Internal Communications is a perfectly formed team of four and we sit within the Corporate Communications department.

As an organisation, we have more than 500 members of staff and it’s my job to effectively communicate any company news (campaigns/events), updates, changes to employees and keep them engaged via our channels.

I manage what we call ‘the hub’ (our staff website) and work with colleagues around the organisation to create informative hub stories to share with everyone. Every week I find myself writing about different topics and it’s our job to ‘join the dots’ between teams. This week alone I’ve shared an update from our health and safety manager, numerous project updates from staff, and even a story celebrating a work anniversary.

I also manage our staff social media (Yammer) and organise Elevenses for staff. Elevenses are an informal way for staff to present to one another on any exciting projects they are working on. We recently had an Elevenses exploring the benefits of the Scottish Thistle Awards and another teaching staff about the updates to our Digital Media Library (DML). We occasionally invite external speakers to our Elevenses to speak to our staff – we recently had a guest (who had attended COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021) talk to us about their experiences post COP26 and a speaker from Home Energy Scotland explaining Scotland’s challenges around the journey to Net Zero.

It’s the role of Internal Communications to keep staff engaged, which means we have to get creative a lot of the time (and that I really enjoy)! Recently we decided to organise the ‘VS Virtual Water Cooler’ to help staff see some new faces around VisitScotland, network and learn about other teams and socialise while we were still working from home. Think of it as our take on virtual networking.

Throughout March around 100 staff members virtually met three colleagues each for 10 minutes at a time. The staff feedback told us that many people felt it had increased their understanding about the work of other teams and the wider organisation so it was a real win-win.

As someone who joined the organisation during the pandemic, how was your experience of joining at a time when everything was fully virtual?

As my role is extremely people-orientated, it was really daunting starting virtually from my bedroom. It’s always nerve-racking starting a new job but even more so when you aren’t meeting the people you work with in real life. However, everyone was so welcoming which made everything ten times easier. For the first month or so I had daily calls with David Paterson, my manager – these calls helped me settle into my role massively as he was able to answer all my questions. I also had virtual introductory meetings with people from all across the organisation which gave me a real sense of the company culture and the feeling that I was part of something much bigger. This being said, I’m so happy we are now hybrid working and I have the opportunity to meet my colleagues in real life. (I even managed a visit to the much talked about Ocean Point last week which was great as I managed to put more faces to names!)

What's on your Scotland bucket list, or is there a favourite place you have that you'd like to share?

I might be biased, but I think Angus and Aberdeenshire have some really underrated spots. I absolutely love visiting both St Cyrus Beach in Aberdeenshire and Lunan Bay in Angus.

St Cyrus Beach, photograph by Ashleigh LittlejohnScurdie Beach photograph by Ashleigh Littlejohn

On a warm day you almost feel like you’ve been transported to the Caribbean, not strolling down a Scottish beach! I recently moved closer to my local beach, Montrose, and I’m absolutely loving being able to enjoy a morning walk to the beach (where we’ve been lucky enough to spot both dolphins and seals) or out to Scurdie Ness lighthouse.

We also have some pretty amazing castles – if you’ve never visited Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven I would 100% recommend! My perfect day would start with a trip to the castle followed by fish and chips from The Bay (they’re award winning) and some ice cream from Aunt Bettys.

There are still so many places on my Scotland bucket list that I want to explore. I’m itching to do the NC500 and visit locations such as Durness and Ullapool. It's definitely a trip I must do soon!

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