Career pathways: Business Development Officer

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My name is David Marshall, I’m Business Development Manager for Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.
In a nutshell, my job is to make money, to look after the future of both of those institutions. There’s a lot of money coming back into the collections budgets, which means there’s less pressure to go out and find money from funding bodies, and money that does come into the museum can be used to improve the displays and improve the offer that we’ve got for all of the public that enjoy what belongs to them, in effect.
Well, my background isn’t in commercial activity. I’ve just brought my acumen, if you like, to bear on a particular discipline. If you think about it, we all have roles to play in life. As long as you’ve got a breadth of knowledge, and you understand the processes, you understand how things work, but most importantly you understand how the public engage with things, one can look at an exhibition, or a museum with a temporary display, you can say, “Right. Today my role is to make some money out of that for the future of the institution.” In doing that, you can still be creative. And you can you can have fun with the public, and you can have them enjoy that kind of engagement. People nowadays expect to be able to shop when they go to a museum or when that go to a cultural venue; they expect to be able to have that as part of their experience. So we like to go a little step further and allow them not only to enjoy themselves but to surprise them with the offer that we have.
In organisations like this, there’s a sense of joy, there’s a sense of purpose, that you don’t find elsewhere. I mean, just making making money for money’s sake is god-damned boring. But working here making money for a worthy cause is a different enterprise entirely. And you’re allowed to do it in a different way, which is brilliant.
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