Remarkable lives › 1970s (up to 1978) › Janet Hull (Modern Languages, 1973)

Janet Hull was born in 1955. She studied Modern Languages at St. Anne’s College in 1973.

Following her graduation Janet was a graduate trainee at Ted Bates which began her career in marketing. Since then Janet has worked as Account Supervisor for Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO (1981-5), as Creative Director for Burston-Marstellet (1991-3), and more recently as Managing Partner for Lewis Moberley (1999-2003). Janet is currently the Director of Marketing Strategy and Reputation Management for the Institute of Practitioners in Marketing. In addition to her work in marketing, Janet works with various independent education bodies. She is the Non-Executive Director of The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, the Executive Director for the Creative Pioneers Challenge as well as an Ambassador for the Government’s National Apprenticeship Network. In 2014 Janet was awarded an OBE for her services to the Creative Industries.

Could you share a memory from your student days at St Anne’s?

St. Anne’s was ahead of its time in broadening access to state school education. I felt a bit of a misfit at first, but the collegiate environment soon helped me to find my feet. The year I joined was the first year that some of the men’s colleges went mixed. We weren’t sure whether to feel envious or lucky! Laura Ashley was the height of fashion and we were always getting our maxi dresses caught in our bicycle wheels on the way to the Ashmolean for lectures.  

How do you think that your studies at St Anne’s affected your later life?

I didn’t realise at the time, but have found out since, that an Oxford degree is a global currency. It gives instant credibility; helps win arguments, broker deals, sit at the top table.

What inspired you to follow the path which you have taken?

I took a year out, then did a postgrad qualification in marketing with European languages. My choice was inspired by a book in the library which described a career in marketing as challenging, creative and rewarding. It was also the time when the Common Market was opening up and export and inward investment was on the agenda.

How would you hope to see the world change over the next ten years?

The social, political and economic uncertainties show no signs of abating.  In my own sphere of work, the pace of technological change is unprecedented. We ask ourselves where are we going to find the talent we need for the jobs that don’t yet exist? We need to train minds to think outside of the box, use an evidence base to think forward and re-invent.

During your career what changes have you noticed in marketing and other fields?

The role of marketing is more valued than it was when I started out.  It is used by governments, charities, universities, countries, football teams and the arts to change behaviour, increase empathy and understanding, deliver results. So the scope for marketing has increased exponentially. The issue is how to do it well. 

What is currently your greatest goal?

Since being awarded an OBE for services to the creative industries, I have extended my marketing role to represent UK advertising to Government and to work with representatives from all sectors of the creative economy to promote the UK as a creative hub to the world.  I lead a cross-industry marketing programme underpinned by a joint website and am committed to sustaining and developing the UK’s global reputation for commercial creativity, and in inspiring future talent to join the industry.

What inspired your more recent work in higher education?

UK higher education is another jewel in the UK’s crown. I was invited to join the QAA board at a critical time in its evolution, bringing marketing knowledge to discussion around membership strategy and future revenue models.

How have you found the difference between your executive and non-executive roles?

An executive role brings power. A non-executive role brings influence. Each role informs the other and improves capability.