BCU Alumna named in Forbes 30 Under 30


A BCU Alumna has been recognised by Forbes in their annual ‘30 Under 30’ list of the brightest young entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

Olivia Mae Hanlon, who graduated with a degree in Psychology and Criminology in 2019, has been named in this year’s Media and Marketing category.

The graduate, who founded ‘Girls in Marketing’ shortly after completing her studies, has enjoyed huge success since.

Founded as a community initiative, Girls in Marketing has an audience of more than 300,000 followers across social media channels, and it has become a go-to education platform and networking community for marketers looking for up-to-date and accessible content and resources.

As well as hosting regular successful events, Olivia has worked with major brands including Adobe. Olivia’s ‘The Girls in Marketing Podcast’ has more than 165,000 downloads and consistently ranks at the top of marketing podcast charts in the UK and US.

In 2023, Girls in Marketing generated $300,000 in revenue from membership fees and podcast sponsorships alone.

Olivia, who is from Liverpool, has even become the first person born in her city to be named in the prestigious list. But it was thanks to her love of blogging and social media from a young age that led the alumna to eventually become a CEO.

She said: “I had a YouTube channel with my cousin when we were 13, then I started blogging a couple of years later. During the first year of university, I realised you could make money from blogging after my partner introduced me to the concept as he was working as a web developer at an agency.

“I started doing some blog work for the agency as they needed a content writer and then was introduced to the world of marketing. I've never looked back since!

“I worked with freelance clients as my job during university, from blogging to content creation and SEO, and when I graduated, I found a marketing job straight away.”

Since establishing Girls in Marketing, Olivia has worked with Adobe, monday.com, Estee Lauder, and the Department for Education, alongside working on a range of campaigns including sponsorships of events, programmes, and a wide variety of content.

Thanks to her wide range of experience in digital marketing, Olivia is an expert in organic marketing, encompassing SEO, content marketing, and eCommerce. She has also trained more than 12,000 marketers in internship programmes which have benefitted over 6,000 interns.

But the biggest moment of her career so far was receiving the news that she had been recognised by Forbes.

She said: “One of the Forbes team reached out to me and said I'd be identified as a potential person for the list. I had to go through an application process, it was super thorough, with additional questions from the Forbes team, then it was a waiting game about to find out if I'd made it. I didn't find out until I got the email on the morning of the list going live!

As the first person born in Liverpool to be recognised on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, I'm so honoured. I'm just a typical girl!”.

The alumna is now excited for the future and the opportunities that Forbes could bring her way, but she also has advice to students and graduates keen to follow in her footsteps.

She said: “I absolutely loved university and BCU was my home for three years. The psychology department was my support system especially during final year. I really enjoyed studying at BCU. 

“My advice to current students and fellow graduates is to create your own opportunities! Don't wait for opportunities to be handed to you, go out and make them for yourself.”

Check out the full Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
Find out more about Girls in Marketing.

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