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Meet Alumni mentor Stephen Kenwright

Monday 19 August 2019

After originally choosing to study physics at university, Doncaster-born Stephen Kenwright had a change of heart which ultimately led him to where he is now, as co-founder of an exciting new digital marketing agency based in Sheffield, as well as being a student mentor for the Hallam Career Mentoring Scheme.

The decisive decision was to apply for a BA in English at Sheffield Hallam University. And after graduating in 2010, he opted to continue learning at Hallam with an MA in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature.

Since finishing his master’s in 2011, Stephen has had a rapid rise in the world of marketing, becoming strategy director after just three years at Leeds-based marketing agency Branded3 and later sales and marketing director at Edit Kin + Carta when the agency merged in August 2018. Stephen also founded the north of England’s largest search conference, Search Leeds, and is well-known in the digital marketing industry, having travelled the world as a guest speaker and panelist.

But now his attention is focused on developing marketing talent back home, in his favourite city of Sheffield. Less than a decade after his student days of joining the Rock Society, sampling Sheffield’s independent scene and running open mic poetry nights, Stephen is now supporting existing students as a mentor and has found it particularly beneficial for himself professionally.

He said: “It’s been really interesting to meet people that I think are definitely going to go places. The fact that these students are on a mentoring scheme means that they are much more organised, driven and ambitious than I was at university!

“From my point of view as an employer, I’ve learnt that it makes a lot of sense to recruit graduates who have been on mentoring schemes. They are the type of people we are looking for, with ambition, enthusiasm and potential. It’s nice to know that when you’re first talking to a mentee that you could be talking to someone who could end up being a superstar in their field.”

This experience also helped confirm to Stephen that Sheffield was being under-utilised as a base for digital marketing agencies. And so just a few months ago, Stephen co-founded a new digital marketing agency, Rise at Seven, and hopes that through the business he will be able to nurture more home-grown talent.

Based in Kelham Island, Rise at Seven specialises in technical SEO, creative strategy, content marketing, digital PR and social media. The agency already has a senior team of SEO and digital PR consultants, and creatives already in place, after winning three accounts ahead of launch and receiving a six-figure investment towards the business.

“It was an easy decision to launch Rise at Seven in Sheffield. There’s a real excitement developing in Kelham Island, also referred to as “Sheffield’s Shoreditch”. The area is surrounded by creatives, passionate technical specialists and budding entrepreneurs.”

Stephen hopes that through his new venture as well as student mentoring, he will be able to give something back to Sheffield in more ways than one.

If Stephen’s story has inspired you and you would like to share your knowledge and experience to help today’s students, as well as develop yourself personally and professionally, you can apply to be a mentor for the Hallam Career Mentoring Scheme today.

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