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How An Accident Led To An Unexpected Career 

Mary Mandefield

Radio presenter Mary Mandefield’s university application was accidently deleted resulting in an adventurous career. 

Her speech at Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism and Media Week was powerful and inspiring. She was full of energy. 

She said: “l woke up in London and now l am in Leeds. It’s all part of the job”.   

She never knew what she wanted to do. And when her UCAS application was accidentally deleted, it turned out to be in her favour. 

For over four years, she ended up travelling the world, working for Oxfam. She visited countries throughout Africa and Europe.  

Mary said, “If a thousand people are doing one thing do the opposite”. 

Mary was born in North London. She is a podcaster and producer. She works for BBC radio, which she is really enjoying. Mary says, “Everyone should do what makes your soul happy”.   

When she was younger, she always thought “l would be one of those people on ‘The Apprentice’ wearing a nice suit, carrying a briefcase”.  

But as she got older, she found a passion for communications. This began when she worked on campaigns for women and girls. This led to speaking on a panel at Westminster. 

Mary then went to volunteer at her local community radio station. “Don’t be afraid to take on other jobs, because you will gain so much more” she said.  

She found the head of 1Xtra details and sent them emails regularly. However, it was months later when she received a callback. It was an offer to come into 1Xtra to cover a show.  

And that was the beginning of her career with 1Xtra.  

There she discovered her love of music and talking to people.  

Mary enjoys being in front of an audience and getting the audience feeling relaxed. And at the event she got the crowd feeling energised and ready to take on the next hurdle.   

Mary feels she gets the best of both worlds in her career. 

She has been a regular on BBC Radio London, and has also been a BBC Radio 1 Christmas presenter.  

Mary now works on Hits Radio for the Sunday breakfast show. But both Hits and BBC Radio are uniquely different.  

She said of her work on 1Xtra: “I will be talking about knife crimes, the Coronation and what that means for black communities, and then I will be on Hits, and l am talking about Ed Sheeran and Pink”. 

Mary now hosts a podcast called ‘Noted’. It is delivering news in a different way to the standard news channels. In every episode she welcomes each new listener with a video. There is always a video clip on relevant subjects which are happening in society now.   

By taking every opportunity in her career, it is no accident that Mary has done so well. 

Mary Mandefield, Producer, Podcaster, BBC Radio – Talks about her passion for Oxfam and Volunteering Work.

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