Head of Consumer & Lifestyle PR, PHA Media (London)
Length of PR career (so far): 10 years with my current agency PHA Media, and prior to that 18 months at the in-house press office at The Environment Agency
Number of 2 a.m. calls from a client this month: None! I think as its December they must all be out enjoying themselves! Luckily most of my clients realize that 2am is not the time for strategy discussions, most of them are partial to a 6am email conversation though. But like any good PR, I am of course on call 24/7 so if there is the need for a 2am call then I would of course take it!
Best thing about working at your agency: The people. We have such a great culture and all the people I work with are genuine, driven individuals and I know we are all working together to achieve success. My direct team are an absolute joy to work with, some of the most talented and hardworking individuals I have ever worked with and I know I can always rely on them to go over and above on everything they do.
Last time you didn’t do any work all weekend: April 2010 when I was stranded in Nairobi, Kenya because of the Icelandic ash cloud. I was on holiday and all flights were cancelled and my blackberry stopped working and I couldn’t get to an internet café—I felt like I had lost my right arm!!
Most misunderstood thing about PR: It’s not advertising!!!
Most outrageous client request: Do you think Prince George would be up for being a brand ambassador?
Most interesting thing about your job: The huge variety of clients and individuals I get to meet and work with. I love how varied my day is and that I have worked with some truly inspirational individuals and brands over my career that span so many different sectors. This is why I love being agency side, no day is ever the same and there is always something new just around the corner. That constant evolution keeps everyone on their toes and means that I genuinely have never had a morning and woken up and thought I really don’t want to go to work, and I know that makes me very lucky.
Your nightmare client in 3 words: Donald J Trump
Rate your math skills from 1-10: With a calculator 10, without one a shaky 5! I have a creative mind not a mathematical one!
Best advice to a PR student: Read anything and everything. Soak up as much news, opinion and content as you can. To be informed and knowledgeable in PR is the greatest skill and will get you through most situations. And if PR is the career for you then you will love doing this and not see it as a chore.
What do you read daily? The Brief from SheerLuxe, METRO, Mail Online (we all have to!!), Evening Standard, BBC news online—I love their app and how you can tailor the news and sections that you are most relevant to you. And of course numerous tweets throughout the day. It’s incredible how news is now broken through social platforms like Twitter, I love that the way we consume news is changing so much, it creates so much opportunity for PRs to think differently.
Favorite way to de-stress: I try to go to a reformer pilates class once a week and once I’m there I do switch off for that hour, it’s just the getting there that’s sometimes the issue! And if it’s been a particularly stressful day then you can’t beat a glass of wine with a friend or two.
The moment you realized PR is more fun and challenging than you thought it would be: On my first day at PHA 10 years ago! I had come from an in-house role at the Environment Agency and was thrown straight in to agency world which I instantly knew was much more me. Ten years ago, PHA was a new agency with only 4 members of staff. Our chairman Phil Hall was looking after a couple of high profile celebrities at that time and on my first day he took me to meet with one of them (which was eye opening!!) and then I had to escort them through a series of media interviews, TV spots and paparazzi dodging—safe to say it was very different to the work I had been doing the previous week which focused on flooding and environmental waste…! I knew on that first day at PHA that agency PR was for me, being thrown in at the deep end and being challenged, and having my Chairman believe in me from that first day gave me the confidence that this was an industry I would love.
Brand most in need of better PR: It’s the second time I have mentioned him. but a certain Mr. Trump faces a big PR challenge next year and his PR team have one of the most challenging PR jobs out there.
Cocktail of choice: Aperol Spritz—Of course tastes best in the sunshine but I still drink it all year round.
Favorite movie this year: It has to be Absolutely Fabulous—showcasing the PR industry in all its glory!!
Childhood “dream job”: To be a teacher! I realized after two weeks works experience in a primary school that I didn’t have the patience for that career and very quickly changed my focus!
Your ideal Saturday: Brunch with my best girlfriends, a country walk with my dog Boris and then dinner and lots of wine with my family.
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