Maria Padget

Copywriter, strategist and master chef

I have worked in communications for 20 years, and have specialised in charities and ethical businesses since 2000.

I earned my digital stripes when I became Electronic Media Manager for a financial publisher back in 1997, a position that granted me one hour a day on the internet. Since then, I have gained expertise in writing, editing and commissioning communications materials for websites, magazines, event materials, and fundraising and marketing packs. I manage photographers and film crews for events and work closely with photographers to create captioned photo stories and fully catalogued image databases.

Education and employment history

I studied Journalism and Media Studies at De Havilland College, which included learning the now defunct skill of editing tape interviews for radio. As a music-mad teenager, I paid my way through college with freelance writing on obscure indie bands for Melody Maker and my local paper. My first paid assignment was a short story about a love triangle for Just Seventeen magazine at the tender age of 16. I later went on to study English Literature at the University of Teesside.

After a two year stint teaching English in Colombia – which was just as exhilarating, beautiful and terrifying as one might imagine – I joined the sales and marketing division of financial publisher Euromoney Institutional Investor. This took me to New York where I worked on marketing communications, developing relationships with book shops and e-commerce sites, and witnessed the early battle for e-dominance between high street sellers such as Barnes and Noble and fledgling companies such as Amazon. A highlight of this position was seeing one of our less prominent titles, Batteries International, feature as Publication of the Week on Have I Got News For You.

Deciding that the corporate world was not for me, I returned to the UK to work for the Cancer Research Campaign (now Cancer Research UK), managing website communications and overhauling the Cancer Help patient information online service. This paved the way to a dream job at Oxfam, managing digital communications. This position took me on story gathering missions from refugee camps in the Democratic Republic of Congo to coastal communities in Bangladesh suffering the devastating impacts of climate change.

I have been independent for the past seven years and I am lucky to work on a portfolio of projects that has included freelance writing, copywriting and editing, event communications, and even a mother-and-children swimming programme in the Maldives. Clients include Oxfam International, Skoll World Forum, Oxford Literary Festival, SLOW LIFE Symposium and the Soneva Foundation.


As a communications specialist, one day might see me writing a feature article for a magazine and another writing a company sustainability report.

  • Copywriting and proofreading
  • Feature writing
  • Report writing
  • Editing
  • Photography and film commissioning and management
  • Story gathering
  • Event communications

Some possibly interesting things about me

  • My journalism career began at 16 with work experience at Smash Hits where I delivered pizza to ‘80s pop duo Mel and Kim, was given sole responsibility for Zodiac Mindwarp’s stinking leather jacket and was tasked with sending a 6ft cardboard Freddie Mercury to a competition winner.
  • I used to have a hermaphrodite sheep.
  • I am a keen swimmer, at my best with long distances up to 5km. I have a preference for swimming in lakes. Ideally in Italy.
  • When I was nine, I wrote to Jim’ll Fix It with a request to ride with the Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards Parade. I wasn’t accepted.
  • I have two children and numerous animals, including an 8hh Shetland pony called Dennis.
  • In my spare time, I help coordinate a campaign calling for fair treatment of unaccompanied child asylum seekers.
  • I have been spat on by a wild orangutan.
  • My signature dish is a vegetarian Mexican spread with all the salsa and guacamole trimmings.

My favourite monkey…

Is the Proboscis which I saw up close and personal in Borneo. The proboscis has an enormous nose and webbed feet. Interesting fact: the proboscis is a good swimmer and particularly likes swimming underwater.

The other bananas