Alumni profile - Tatiana Wheeler
One of my career highlights has been spearheading the development and execution of Ancestry’s 2021 Remembrance campaign, which centered around ensuring that no legacy was left behind. This is because it links to my fondness of the endless discoveries with history and how it can positively impact people’s lives.
(History BA, 2018)
Why did you choose to study History at Queen Mary?
I have loved history since childhood, so it was an easy decision when choosing what to study at university. I believe history enables you to discover something new every day, no matter how long you have been studying a particular period. I also enjoy analysing how we can use historical figures and their journeys as a guide to how we should conduct ourselves in society.
What historical period/figure do you find most interesting and why?
Each period is full of richness in people and culture. However, If I had to highlight one it would be 18th – 19th century Jamaica. This is because of the resilience, unity, and determination of the black community to overcome their circumstances. My favourite historical figure from that time is Nanny of the Maroons, her strength, wisdom, and will-power are inspiring. She strategically developed effective warfare tactics, that forced the hand of enslavers and helped bring freedom to enslaved peoples in Jamaica. All she accomplished is astonishing for a woman of her time.
What did you enjoy most about your degree and your time at Queen Mary in general?
I enjoyed being able to study such a wide range of historical periods in depth. I found that not a lecture or seminar went by where I wouldn’t learn something new.
Can you describe your career path to date and what you do now?
I began my career in the Corporate Communications department of a wholesale bank. From there, I ventured into doing PR for ViacomCBS (now Paramount) which allowed me to work on some of the amazing brands I grew up watching, like Nickelodeon, MTV, BET and Channel 5. However, I felt the historical and people element, which I am passionate about, was missing. Thankfully I came across the International Communications Manager role at Ancestry, which was the best of both worlds for me. This role enabled me to use my technical skills, by managing the PR for Ancestry in the UK and Ireland and creating effective campaigns. All whilst being in a company that specialises in historical content, which is amazing!
How did your History degree help prepare you for your career and are there any skills that you gained from your degree that you still use today?
My degree had a lot to do with preparing me for my career. Besides the great content that you learn, the technical skills gained from studying history allow you to be flexible with the sector you go into, analytical in your thinking, and develop your ability to write content for a plethora of purposes.
What are some of your career highlights and proudest achievements so far?
One of my career highlights has been spearheading the development and execution of Ancestry’s 2021 Remembrance campaign, which centered around ensuring that no legacy was left behind. This is because it links to my fondness of the endless discoveries with history and how it can positively impact people’s lives. There are so many rich and inspiring stories that had not yet been discovered and this campaign empowered people to look into their family history and uncover some of the stories that had been overlooked for generations.
One of my proudest achievements is leading on the communications for the rebranding of BET in the UK. Ensuring that the Black British community is well represented in the content that was being created.
What do you love most about what you do and how does your job allow you to explore your passions and advocate for things you’re passionate about?
I love that I am surrounded by rich content, that allows people to find out more about their own family history. Being able to connect people to their ancestors and relatives, then hearing the customer testimonials and the emotion behind their discoveries is second to none. I also enjoy creating and executing content-rich campaigns, that make family history and periods of history more accessible to the public. I get to share my passion with the public and it’s extremely fulfilling!
What would your advice be to students interested in studying History at Queen Mary?
I would advise them to study History at Queen Mary! It’s a subject that is enriched with great content and taught by world-class lecturers. As well as this, the technical skills you develop are essential for whichever sector you decide to go into.
This profile was conducted by Alumni Engagement Coordinator, Nathalie Grey. If you would like to get in touch with Tatiana or engage her in your work, please contact Nathalie at email@example.com.