Will Lowther (Class of 2005)

Tell us what you do for a living?
I am Senior Commercial Manager for Pukka pies, where I am responsible for managing our business with over half the UK’s supermarkets. The job is a fast paced role combining selling and negotiating to ensure our brand continues to grow every year. My role means I am responsible for around 1/3 of our company’s turnover each year.
Are you doing what you thought you’d be doing after you left school?
Yes and no . . . I studied marketing at university and had always wanted to work in fast moving consumer goods as the products are used by people all across the globe. However, I never thought I would enjoy sales and account management, it isn’t something taught in school so I don’t think you can aspire to it in that way but once I got the opportunity as a graduate I never looked back!
What would you say is your biggest achievement to date, the thing you’re most proud of? Professionally or personally!
Personally I am the father of 3 wonderful children aged 6, 5 and 6-months and they are definitely the thing that makes me most proud. From a work perspective I am proud of the risk I took after 9 years of working at Kimberly Clark and Mars Food, two huge organisations. I joined Pukka pies which is a smaller, family run business. The change has been very liberating and I am involved in parts of the business I would never see at those bigger companies.
Was there a particular teacher, or a moment at school that particularly inspired you?
Two, Mr George was my chemistry teacher through most of my time at RLS, he had the energy and enthusiasm to bring to life the subject for everyone and they were lessons I always looked forward to! The second was Miss Launder, my English teacher. English was a subject I always struggled with and she knew I just needed the C grade to stay on for 6th form and without her help I would never have got there.
How important do you think your school days were in shaping who you are today?
They are very important, for me I remember my time very fondly and enjoyed it a lot. However, what shaped my future from school was my grades. At school I underachieved as I felt I was “smart” enough to get through without putting the hours in and it cost me both my first choice university place and later it meant I got rejected from a lot of graduate programmes where they screen based on A-level grades. That experience taught me that talent is wasted without hard work.
What’s your work:life balance like? How important is that to you?
It’s very good but it takes organisation and discipline to achieve. My view has always been to work hard in my hours and get it done. Occasionally it will creep into the odd evening preparing for a customer meeting but you must be disciplined to not let that creep. I see so many people live to work when really we should all try to work to live!
What advice would you give to today’s students who may be struggling to choose which path to take beyond school?
Firstly don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You learn more from those moments than the good choices! So if you pick a path and don’t like it you can always take a risk and change. Secondly I would say try to find the balance between something you’re good at and something you enjoy. When I studied at university I loved marketing but I knew my essay writing was too poor to focus purely on that so I filled my modules out with accountancy/economics modules to ensure I could balance my grades with what I enjoy.
Finally, do you have a favourite quote, expression or mantra which inspires you to keep going?
I am a huge fan of American football and the great Vince Lombardi who was one of the finest coaches in sport ever had many great quotes but the best for me is, “People who work together will win” whether that is in sport, work or life in general. Be honest with people, ask for help when you need it and you’re never too old to learn new things from others!    

Application to Sixth Form 2023

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