We are very pleased to have strengthened the JCM&Co team with the appointment of Laura McCulloch, who will be working out of the Dumfries and Galloway office. To find out a little more about our new team member, read Laura’s Q&A introduction below:

Q: Where and what did you study at university?
A: I studied a four year BA Hons Journalism degree at Edinburgh Napier University. I have just currently completed my degree in May 2020, with my final piece of work being my dissertation, which focused on the impact of agricultural journalism. I loved my time at university and living in Edinburgh, although always looked forward to getting my wellies on over the weekend and returning home to the family farm.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: In my spare time I work on our family beef and arable farm alongside my dad, which is located at the Mull Of Galloway, the most southerly point in Scotland. I feel very lucky to be able to start work with JCM and Co and still be able involved on the family farm. Young farmers is also a big part of my life and I’m currently secretary for Stranraer and Rhins Young Farmers Club. At the moment, our club is busy embracing digital and organising online events and competitions such as an online stock judging competition and online handicraft tutorials. During lockdown, I’ve taken a notion to cycling and also love a good walk.

Q: Do you like to read? If so, what was the last book you read?
A: I am currently reading ‘This is Marketing’ by Seth Godin , which was kindly gifted to me by Jane for starting work with JCM&Co. I am thoroughly enjoying learning some interesting tips from it and would say the most memorable quote so far has to be: “What to people want? If you ask them you probably wont find what you’re looking for. You certainly won’t find a breakthrough. It’s our job to watch people, figure out what they dream of and then create a transaction that can deliver that feeling.”

Q: Why did you want to work in the communications industry and what drove you to study journalism?
A: From a young age, I was always capturing photos or videos of the farm and loved writing whenever possible about anything agricultural related. I’ve always had a passion for rural life and agriculture but was unsure how exactly I wanted to progress into the industry. Throughout my school years, I was enthusiastic about writing, creating digital content and just loved sharing stories with people. So I decided to combine both passions into one and applied for a journalism course, with the intention from day one of going into ag-journalism or ag-communications.

Q: What are some of the challenges and opportunities for young working in communications in a rural area?
A: Being young and living in a rural area offers so many opportunities and I wouldn’t choose to live anywhere else, other than the Mull of Galloway. The scenery for one has to be one of the best aspects of this rural area. On Sunday night for example, I went kayaking at a beach just a few miles from the farm and it was glorious. The number of messages I received from people on Instagram saying how it looked like I was in Greece, reminded me of how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful, coastal place. Another fantastic part of living here is the community feel. Everyone knows everyone but I like that. It offers a sense of safeness and closeness. It is very much a farming community, with tractors dominating the windy roads and cows to be seen from every corner of the village. Whenever I would drive home from university and I seen the sign for ‘Drummore’ (my local village) I always felt happy and that sense of being home now. I’ve found that your ideas will always be encouraged within a local community too. Everyone is very supportive and will go out of there way to help you get something up and running.
Despite there being so many positives of living in a rural area as a youngster, it does bring its challenges. Broadband connectivity is certainly my biggest rural challenge, which can be frustrating when trying to work to the best of your ability. Many of times I’ve seen myself driving myself and my laptop to the end of the road to receive 4G signal to try get something to send. During lockdown, it has been challenging living in such a remote area and not being able to meet up with friends or young farmers regularly. That’s one of the reasons I think the Rural Youth Project is so vital, as even during these uncertain times, I have still felt connected to other rural youngsters.

Q: Why did you want to work with JCM&Co?
A: On reflection to my 2019 summer internship with JCM&Co, I will always look back on those four months as the best phase of my educational career. From day one I loved the positive and welcoming attitude from the whole team and I instantly felt included. The diversity of work was also great. Within the first few weeks I had been on a Real Results Road Trip with BASF, enhanced my digital and writing skills and was also given the chance to get creative wherever possible. JCM&Co’s enthusiasm for the agricultural industry was beaming from the entire team and I am so pleased to now be able to join them and enter a career that is so personally suited.