Scarlett Chorley: From Propel beginnings to Partnerships…

04 Jul 2023

“I have evolved into something I didn’t foresee. Incredibly grateful that Propel could see something in me that I hadn’t realised; and I think that’s true leadership…”



One year in London

I’m celebrating because it’s been roughly a year since I moved to London from Bournemouth.  Not vast in distance but astronomical in transformation.


One year and a half ago I had what I referred to as a mid-twenties crisis: newly single, responsibility-less, and in the same town I was born in. I went on a girly weekend to Amsterdam post break-up, and thought “might as well live here?”. So I penetrated my contact-list looking for a referral to something serendipitous in Amsterdam.


Who is globally connected? @Mary Keane Dawson is. “Hi Mary, I’m looking to move to Amsterdam – do you happen to know anyone that would like to talk to a recruiter like me?”, she came back instantly and looped me into @Melina Jacovou via LinkedIn. ‘Yes!’ I thought. So I checked out her profile, and was briefly miffed that she was in London not Amsterdam. Upon looking again I was impressed by her tenure running ‘Propel’, her multiple women in business awards, and that she came back in 3 minutes with “Hi Scarlett, I need to delete some connections as have over 30,000!! Bare with”. I thought about not wasting anyone’s time because I was kind of set on going a plane journey away. I was interviewing with WPP in Amsterdam for an internal role that I was sort of excited about, but I thought, it can’t hurt and she might know someone.


If you know Mel, you’ll know that she has the ability to connect with anyone instantly. If you know me, I have something mildly similar but not as polished. This 20-minute chat turned into an hour whilst I paced up and down Bournemouth Gardens, painting her a picture of what I’ve been doing and what I want to do. I expressed quite strongly that I wanted to get away and London wasn’t really on the cards, but the more we spoke, this liberal thought of working and living in Amsterdam was being replaced with logistical thoughts of making a move to London. Propel sounded like a proper agency and I liked the fun, serious and interesting female founder.


We wrapped up the call and I got into my now ex boyfriends’ car to get the last bits of my stuff. “I’m moving to London!!”. It was quite presumptive considering I hadn’t met Mel yet, nor had she suggested that I would get the job if I formally interviewed. We organised some next steps to meet Luke, who would be my manager, Ben, the COO and other people in the business. I went to the gym the next day and told my best mate and tech sales whizz Sam Brown that I think I’m going to move to London. Still really presumptive. She suggested that I get her a job interview and we move in together in London. Forward but I quite liked it.


A few months later it all materialised, Sam and I found a flat in Chiswick (odd choice for two 25-year-old girls) and moved in July 2022. We both were not going to let this flop. We couldn’t really. We loved all the people that we met, there were high expectations because we set them, and the last thing you want is for the job you moved location for not to work out.


In our first 30 days we made placements. This was a different industry, higher level of operating than we were used to, and a whole new sector for me. Sam hadn’t even ever done recruitment before. We came in strong. ‘Francesca goes to Conduktor as Head of Talent’ on my day 28 at Propel. Bosh! I even surprised myself to be honest. Then it carried on, and we didn’t stop, we had access to forward-thinking disruptive businesses that wanted to work with Propel;  with the help of Luke who taught us process excellence, we were flourishing and so excited to had landed on this to be our twenties.


After six months, I had travelled with Propel to Dublin, Finland, Embassies, HQ’s and was over delivering against my monthly metrics. When you’re buzzing, good stuff follows. One day, Ben and Mel sat me down and told me they’re going to take me off recruitment and delivery. Instant confusion. They introduced the ‘Partnerships Division’ which together we would build. More shock than confusion at this point. It had never been done at Propel and I’d never done anything like that before, but I could see the vision; to work alongside and nurture the amazing relationships that Propel has built with our trusted partners: London & Partners, Globalisation Partners, Making Moves, The Swedish Chamber of Commerce, The Department for Industry and Trade… to name a few. Mel has spent her life being near the centre of the London Technology and Trade ecosystem, so it was the mission of this department to strengthen them, alongside our clients and attract new ones.


It’s been 6 months since that day too, and the idea is making waves. I have evolved into something I didn’t foresee. Incredibly grateful that Propel could see something in me that I hadn’t realised; and I think that’s true leadership. We have spoken at roundtables, I have met people that I would never meet, I have hosted events with groups of Chief People Officers, and I am working collaboratively with the teams to deliver on this mission.


Propel is not what I could have imagined, but I had a feeling it would be something great. I am adamant that I will be with this company for as long as they will have me, and I genuinely think this is just the start.


Happy 1 year to me and Sam. Thank you Propel. Together does work!


If you need to hire, hire through Propel.


– Scarlett Chorley, Partnerships Manager

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