Adviser Showcase: Marissa Bryan

With an abundance of industry experience and a genuine interest in the development of others, our advisers are very special individuals.  They each work hard to support their CIPD candidates and apprentices throughout every step of their learner journey, and the feedback we receive on Coursecheck is testament to the superb quality of their delivery. Our advisers ensure our business retains that personal touch, something we know candidates greatly value.

This tailored highly personalised support has helped thousands of people professionals develop the skills they need to enhance their careers.  It is also one of the main reasons why our business has established its reputation as the CIPD benchmark centre for quality.

Marissa Bryan

Here we feature our Chief Operating Officer Marissa Bryan and gain her advice to help you succeed in your goal of being fully CIPD qualified as well as discovering what she loves most about her role at Watson Martin.

Marissa’s top tips for CIPD success …

  • Choose the right study path. Choosing a qualification can be one of the biggest decisions for people, but often it is not so much that they want to study, it’s knowing where to start, what programme level and whether or not it should be workshop based or online. Discuss your learning options either with an adviser at Watson Martin or someone who is close to you at work before you start on a programme and take time to assess all of the options available.
  • Select the media that suits your learning style and don’t just rely on academia. CIPD qualifications are not just  based around text books. You can immerse yourself in things like podcasts, TED talks and journal articles to add variety and interest to your learning.
  • Ensure you have the right support around you to complete the qualification. Find someone in your professional network who has studied HR and who you can tap into and draw on that experience if you find it difficult to stay motivated. As well as your adviser, they will understand what you are going through and help you plan your study time based on their own experience.
  • At Watson Martin, your ability to apply what you have learnt in the workplace is key to your success.  Make sure you have exposure to aspects of the programme that will allow you to build your knowledge and have greater experience. When you first meet with your adviser you can plan where you think you may need more involvement in aspects at work to help your studies.

Here’s what our candidates say about Marissa

“I would have been lost without Marissa’s support while completing my Level 7 Diploma. She was always there to help me unpick an assignment and point me in the right direction, so I didn’t get overwhelmed.” Orla Flynn, Level 7

“I would like Marissa Bryan to be recognised as I was promoted quite high into the organisation half way through my course when I had just started my IBI topic. I was a nightmare to get hold of and couldn’t find any spare time to complete my research report but Marissa would stay in regular contact and listen to my frustrations and issues and guide me, so I remained on the right track. Her comments were constructive without giving me the answer and she was a great motivator. I honestly would not have completed the course without her help and guidance.” Alyssa Upton, Level 7

“Overall, a good course. Marissa was excellent: approachable and explained things clearly.” Miriam Wheeler, Level 5

Marissa is brilliant, really helps information to sink in and takes you through the learning in a very methodical way.” Katie Brickell, Level 7

“Marissa is great! Thank you for making this day so enjoyable. Very warm and kind approach, great insights, tips and lots of positivity! The best workshop I’ve attended so far.” Eszter Lantos, Level 7

Marissa is incredibly knowledgeable. She is very clear and explains things properly and doesn’t move on if someone doesn’t quite get it. I really enjoyed today’s workshop. The IBI is pretty daunting but Marissa broke it down into manageable chunks and really explained what we needed to do and what not to do, which is equally important!” Kirsty Campbell, Level 7

“Marissa was fantastic – very engaging session.” Rose Stanley, Level 7

Fantastic session – Marissa was amazing! Thank you for calming and helping us prepare. The day’s content and pace were perfect.” Tom Allen, Level 7

About Marissa

When it comes to all things CIPD, Marissa is something of an expert as she has managed CIPD programmes for over 12 years, something her candidates benefit from greatly as there’s not much she doesn’t know about CIPD qualifications! Marissa’s strength is supporting Advanced candidates studying for CIPD exams and completing their research reports, but she has also supported HR and L&D candidates at every level, including apprenticeships and can support candidates with all modules.  Now Chief Operating Officer at Watson Martin, Marissa is able to use her extensive knowledge and experience to help grow the business alongside its two founders Heather Watson and Melanie Martin, a role she is thoroughly enjoying.

After studying Business Administration at Brunel University, Marissa began her career as a graduate trainee at Sainsbury’s. She quickly gained promotion and was known regionally as the centre of excellence for customer service before being appointed to a senior management position at Sainsbury’s Wallington store in south London.  A move to HR management and the decision to study for her CIPD Level 7 Diploma led Marissa to a new turn in her career and a lecturing position at the Higher Education Centre at a college in Croydon where she later became responsible for the delivery of all HRM programmes. During this time she also completed her teaching qualification.

It is well known that retail and education management provide great stomping grounds for both business and people management and so it’s not surprising that when Marissa joined Watson Martin in 2015 as an adviser, her strengths in managing in the public and private sector combined with her HR knowledge  were recognised and she was appointed first as a senior consultant and later Head of Delivery before becoming COO in January 2021, a role that exposes her to all aspects of running a company.

While the last six years have seen many shifts in both the business world and the delivery of CIPD programmes including the seismic move to home working due to COVID-19, Marissa is grateful that Watson Martin is flexible enough to adapt quickly to change whatever the circumstances.  She has enjoyed leading the delivery team through the launch of Apprenticeships and expansion into international markets and is excited to lead the Watson Martin team through the new CIPD qualifications.  She is proud of the Watson Martin team and the way in which face-to-face workshops moved seamlessly to fully online at the start of the pandemic and are still going strong and that a brand new VLE was introduced to coincide with the launch of the CIPD’s new qualifications this year. Having been in the business for a long time, Marissa is confident that the quality of provision is what sets Watson Martin apart from other providers along with the expertise of the advisers and centre management team which is second to none.

Now juggling being COO with bringing up a family, Marissa understands the pressures of combining studying with an already busy life, an insight which helps her candidates. She enjoys the variety of her role and that she can still support candidates whilst helping the business grow and loves the fact that she can share her knowledge and experience of CIPD qualifications with those who are entering the profession.