Alex Heslop

Alex Heslop

Australian National University
Brand Ambassador Pernod Ricard Gulf
Alex studied Commerce/Arts at Australian National University

What's your job about?

Pernod Ricard is a co-leader in the sales of wine and spirits worldwide. As a wine ambassador to the Arabian Gulf, it is my job to promote our wines in the region through the organisation of events, education of consumers and assistance of marketing and sales teams. This sees me used my knowledge to run tasting and training sessions for hospitality staff around the region along with tasting events for consumer to develop their knowledge. I then serve as the office expert on wines and provide any assistance where needed for all activations designed to drive sales of our wine products. As Pernod Ricard is a decentralised company, I also serve as the key contact for the differing brands for the region. This sees me report back and forth on what the local markets require of the brand companies and vice versa what the brand companies require of the local markets. Flexibility is key in essential in my position as consumers are always different as things are very fast paced meanings plans can change rapidly.

What's your background?

I grew up on a small farm in the region of Table Top in southern New South Wales, Australia. Following school I undertook a working year in Canada and England where I developed a love of the hospitality industry, particularly that on London and the art of service of alcohol I learnt there. I attended university at the Australian National University and studied a double degree of Commerce/Arts. Whilst at Uni I continued to work in hospitality managing bars and restaurants before finally opening my own wine and cocktail bar, Aviary Rooftop, in my final year with several partners. During this time my passion for wine and business really took off and I began to explore the alcohol industry more and more. Eventually this interest leads  me to Instagram where I followed a lot of industry accounts and finally the Pernod Ricard Graduate Ambassadors where I saw the post calling for new applicants. Don’t get me wrong Uni was great, but it has been my experience that has shaped me and lead me to where I am now. 10 months in, I’m loving every second

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes of course. A large part of the skills required to do my job are actually learnt through the 5 month training program graduates undergo. In order to apply applicants must have a university degree, an eagerness to learn but most importantly a passion for wine and our industry. This job changes every day and presents new challenges but a passion for their products is what really differences the ambassadors out.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I’m an extrovert so what really drives me each day is the opportunity to talk about and educate others on the products I love. Whether it’s through large scale events or intricate private tastings seeing people get pleasure from wine and your information and presentation gives a real sense of achievement. Very few people also have the opportunity to travel doing what they love and the opportunity to challenge themselves in new cultures so I also get a kick out of this too.

What are the limitations of your job?

Our job can be very varying from day to day. Whilst this keeps things interesting, but it can be difficult to get into a groove and requires some careful time management and focus. We work in the alcohol industry so naturally this comes with late nights and overtime. There are many challenges when you move country for a job and these are what you make of them. At times it can be tough to adjust and frustrating adapting to new ways of working but in the long run you learn a lot about yourself at these points.

3 pieces of advice for your teenage self...

  1. Experience is every bit as important as education. Work experience is an invaluable asset in your resume. I worked throughout my university studies and wouldn’t change it at all as that experience in the industry I would later work in got me my job. Not how much I studied or the number of HDs I achieved.
  2. Getting your dream job straight away having completed university is not everything. Shop around, ask and learn from others. From my experience, people are so stressed about getting a job upon leaving Uni that they simply take their first offer and subsequently end up doing something they are not passionate about and regretting it.
  3. Moving opens up opportunities whether it is city or country. Challenges outside of work will prepare you for those that present in it.