Bella McClymont in her office at the Masterton District Council. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Resourceful, adventurous and versatile, Bella

Lisa Urbani

For a young professional, Bella McClymont, 28, has had many varied experiences, including running for Masterton District Council in Masterton in 2019.

“I think we need some younger faces in key decision-making roles and to me, being on council seemed a good way to have some influence over the future of Masterton and make it a place I’m proud to live in.”

Born and raised in Masterton, she now works for the Masterton District Council as the digital communications adviser – holding responsibility for all the digital channels, including social media.

Bella had to quit her job at council for the campaign as a legal requirement and lost by 200 votes, however, she did beat two incumbents and it was valuable life experience, she said.

Her schooling began at the tiny Bideford School where she was one in a class of 24.

Moving on to Opaki School and then later Wairarapa College, she was always artistically inclined in her subject choices, and made the most of her time there, as head of her house and as a school prefect.

University beckoned and, encouraged by an aptitude test which showed she had a strong entrepreneurial streak, Bella did a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in marketing and psychology.

She co-founded a student-led agency to help match design students with SMEs, charities, and start-ups to offer work experience.

Like many young Kiwis, she wanted to go on the traditional OE [overseas experience] and worked hard at various jobs to save the money to fund her adventures.

She spent six months in Thailand doing her divemaster training on an island, discovering that these “were the best years of my life”, but a cold Christmas in London was a shock, and with no contacts or relevant experience in marketing, finding a job was not that easy.

Ever resourceful, she landed a job in a friendly pub, and a contact in recruitment offered her a job as their receptionist.

She then found a job in marketing, as a junior project manager for The Marketing Store in London.

It was a fun time, socialising and meeting lots of creative people everywhere, but the allure of handling a McDonalds account for ‘Happy Meals’ began to wane, especially as she was working in a more senior role but earning the salary of a junior.

Being young and inexperienced, she freely admitted she “didn’t know how to place value on my time and skills”.

Moving to a larger agency, Leo Burnett, London, she worked on McDonalds, Max Factor, and British Airways rewards [Avios] accounts, but the company culture was not great, and eventually she said she “couldn’t handle another meeting about chicken nuggets”.

She then trained to work on a superyacht and sailed briefly across the North Sea before someone was involved in a minor accident and the trip was cut short.

With her family connection to Scotland, Bella had always wanted to attend the Edinburgh Festival and after a busy month working in a very hectic bar, she joined a small marketing firm aptly named ‘Sunshine Communications’ – with lovely clients, and a great boss – but after five-and-a-half years of travelling, she was homesick.

During the lockdown, she worked in the Emergency Ops Centre for Civil Defence, helping to keep people in Wairarapa informed about covid-19 related developments.

It was an intense time with lots of pressure involved in making sure that they got the rapidly-changing information correct.

A highlight was helping to produce a Tik Tok video to the tune of ‘Uptown Funk’, to reach younger people, and having it featured on the TV programme ‘7 Sharp’.

In her spare time, Bella is working together with a family friend and builder, to build a tiny home, hoping to fulfil her philosophy of living simply.

Not one to relax too much, she also has her own clients that she works with, has written extensively about her travels for her blog – www.abirdabroad.com – has been a columnist for the Wairarapa Times-Age and is the creator and designer of Gotcha! – an app for a word game, as well as running her Booboo Magoos silent disco business.

Enterprising and energetic, Bella said she could never have done all these exciting things without the support of her parents, Graham and Teresa – “just knowing I had that safety net encouraged me.”