One of the powerful benefits of a Presidio education is the opportunity to tap into a community of change. At Presidio, we welcome our students to join and benefit from the insight of our talented and highly driven alumni, who are working to make a positive impact across both borders and sectors. In our ongoing Alumni Spotlight Series, we take a moment to shine a light on some of the fantastic leaders and organizers from the Presidio circle, to learn about their experience as a graduate student and to discover where their path has taken them since achieving their degree.
In this Spotlight, we are excited to feature Martin Uttley (he/him) from MBA Cohort 24, now Director of Marketing at REV+ALL, a consulting organization working to provide the education and tools to integrate sustainability practices with root-level culture change to help accelerate business impact. Read on to learn about Martin’s work and his Presidio experience.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Martin! Tell us a little about where you currently work and what a typical day might look like in your current role.
Currently, I’m the Director of Marketing at REV+ALL. REV+ALL is a startup online sustainability education company that focuses on small to medium-sized businesses and organizations. It is the evolution of REV Sustainability Circles and in partnership with the Alliance for Community Development (ACD) in Oakland. My job is all the marketing stuff. From websites, to landing pages, to technology integration, creative, campaign planning, comms planning, strategy and all the things in-between. We are a small team, as most startups are, so that gives me a huge opportunity to be involved in the whole business process and direction, which is a lot of fun, and it certainly helps having an MBA when participating in those multidisciplinary conversations.
Every day is completely different in a startup. Ultimately though, it means looking at my to-do list and prioritizing what needs to get done and delivered to who by yesterday. Last week I was making a one-pager in InDesign and a complex image in Photoshop that will be used on our LMS landing page, then copy editing for the website and landing pages. There hasn’t been as much time recently for the more campaign or creative side of being a marketing director.
How did you land in this particular role? Tell us a bit about the educational journey through undergraduate and graduate school that brought you there?
When I was young and dumb, I loved sports. I still do, but I was sports-mad back then. I played pretty much every sport on offer at my high school. So naturally, I decided to go and do a Sports Science and Physiology degree at The University of Leeds, England. I loved my degree, playing football (soccer) for the university, and have many great friends from those days.
After university, I enrolled in a marketing management course at Cambridge Marketing College and ended up working in advertising agencies in London for five years or so. I had the opportunity to work for some of the most successful and recognizable brands in the world, like Sony, Adidas, Glenfiddich, Toyota, and Nissan.
Then August 2021, the team at PGS Consults recruited me to consult with their client—REV+ALL—to fill a senior marketing-consulting role. After three months of partnering on various projects, REV+ALL offered me the full-time job I hold today.
How did you discover Presidio? What did you find to be most unique about the school, and tell us about the “a-ha” moment when you decided to enroll?
I found Presidio like I find most things: on Google.
I was looking for something more interesting and purposeful from my career. I had gone from these amazing brands to brands I didn’t care about, and I was helping them sell more “destructive” or extractive products.
I was really interested in the dynamics of in-person residency and online classes from home, wherever home was, as it would allow me to branch out into the San Francisco Bay Area and learn from more likeminded people with the hope of bringing that knowledge and mentality back to the state capital and building something in Sacramento.
I also knew that Americans love an MBA, and I wanted to be able to progress my career here after moving back in 2011. I knew that having a deeper understanding of the whole business process would allow me to have serious conversations and actually know what I was talking about.
Finally, I didn’t want to spend a fortune and laden myself and wife with a whole load of debt—Presidio offered an advantage from a cost perspective.
Tell us a bit about your experience as a student at Presidio (in your specific program). What were your greatest learnings at Presidio and how have you applied them in your career/community post-Presidio?
Presidio’s MBA wasn’t like anything I had experienced before. Every other level of education I had attained had been an evolution. Presidio was a completely different animal. There was a huge leap in language and mentality from anything I had previously been a part of.
One of the things with Presidio is that no one shies away from the heavy topics, and with those heavy topics comes heavy language and heavy self-reflection. This is especially true for a cisgender, heterosexual, white male from England who was born in South Africa during apartheid and has always seen life through those lenses. That privilege is laid bare at Presidio and is a challenge to be reflected upon and to acknowledge. Presidio made me a better listener, a better strategist, a better thinker. It opened my eyes to different ways of doing things.
I am a better person for being put through that experience, and I think I am more mindful as an employee and citizen of the world.
How did Presidio prepare you for the work you’re doing now?
It all boils down to the “systems thinking” approach. Previously in life, I had always been in a silo within an organization that had a niche or did a certain function. Now I am thinking bigger, and thinking about different impacts and consequences.
Presidio made me understand the American experience better through the eyes of the people who actually live here, not just what I had learned over the years. Learning about the structural and systemic ways the country was built really helped me understand why things are the way they are and what needs to be done differently to create a more just economy and environment.
Are there opportunities that you felt uniquely equipped to tackle because of the education you received at Presidio? Tell us about one!
I would say the opportunity to be in the room where the decisions are made is vital for anyone who is looking to change the system. I think the education—not just the assignments, but the whole body-and-mind education Presidio offers—gives you the opportunity to prove you belong in the room and add value. I’ve been fortunate that through REV+ALL I can be a part of lots of different elements of the business system and help define those processes, and we are building something really exciting.
What comes next? Do you have specific career goals or a vision of where you’d like to direct your impact next?
Career-wise, I am really happy where I am right now. I want to build this company up, and in order to do that we are going to have to build a serious sales and marketing department full of brilliant people and using great technology. I’m excited about starting to do some of the fun, creative marketing pieces, too. Right now, it’s process and function.
Ultimately, I want a career that allows me to make the world better, that gives me the opportunity to be home on time to play with my son, to experience life, and to have purpose.