Managing director of Edelman Health, Eleanor Read, reveals her struggles with imposter syndrome, how she’s learned to love dogs and running and what’s kept her with the team for 14 years.
What’s a typical day at work?
Every day is different. I spend around half my time working with clients and half running the team. That could mean working on projects to evolve and develop the direction of our business or supporting my team. It’s my job to ensure that the team have the best experience of working at Edelman – from career progression to personal support – so they have everything they need to deliver the best work to our clients.
What’s your proudest moment at work?
Winning the PR Week Health Team comms practice award in 2021. The pandemic has been tough on us all, but our team banded together to support one another. This meant we could continue to deliver for our clients despite the all the challenges thrown at us. The award was recognition of what an amazing team we have at Edelman Health in London and I couldn’t have been prouder.
Lockdown also brought me a moment of personal pride as I completed the NHS Couch to 5K programme with my neighbour. It took us five months – but we got there in the end. I was so proud because I never thought I’d become a runner.
What’s a surprising fact about you?
What might surprise people who know me now is that I never wanted a pet and couldn’t understand how people could be so loved up with their animals. Then my brother got a beagle and it was the first dog that didn’t scare the living daylights out of me. My husband had always been desperate for a dog and when he stopped working full time just before lockdown I gave in and we got our working cocker spaniel, Millie. I’m blown away by how clever she is – she completely manipulates me. I’ve turned from being anti-pets into a dog loving nut – I even go up to other people in the street to ask if I can stroke their dogs.
What’s the greatest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
The hardest 12 months of my career were when I made the move from medical education into PR. I came in as a director thanks to my scientific knowledge and experience, but despite being reasonably senior I didn’t know the basics of PR. I’d never pitched a journalist, pulled together a media list or organised a press conference. I was suffering from imposter syndrome and lost all my confidence. When I offered strategic counsel to clients I thought they would pull me up and tell me that I didn’t know what I was doing. I had a hard year of learning about PR and building up my confidence again. Fortunately, I was really well supported by my colleagues who were constantly reminding me of all the great skills I had and the value I was bringing to the team. I also had a line manager who taught me to focus on the positives and recognise that I knew much more than I thought I did.
What’s the one thing that makes the Edelman health team special?
This year will be my 14th at Edelman. What’s kept me here for so long is the chance to work with smart people who are all committed to supporting each other both personally and professionally. Of course, the work and the clients are important, but what makes Edelman Health special is the people. The team are here for each other no matter what, always happy to help out and make sure that no one is left behind.
If you’d like to have a chat with Eleanor about working at Edelman Health, you can email her on firstname.lastname@example.org.