What has your journey to Edelman looked like and how did you get into the communications industry?
I knew straight out of university that I wanted a career which involved writing and creativity. I completed a six-month internship at an independent advertising agency, and learned a lot of the basics, but the role required lots of project management and little imagination.
I changed tack and took an in-house copywriting job at an international recruitment firm, where I was drafting career advice articles for people with decades of experience. It taught me so much about content writing and digital marketing, while letting me save up for a long-awaited trip around the US. The journey coincided with the US 2016 presidential election so I spent portions of it phone-banking for Hilary Clinton, while attending rallies for her and Trump.
A few months later, I began my first proper “communications” role at Bell Pottinger – after being drawn in by the prestigious name, illustrious achievements, and heavyweight client names. Unfortunately, the agency collapsed – leaving over 200 people jobless. I dusted myself off and joined an agency called Pagefield, who had more opportunities for public affairs, campaign work, and greater autonomy from being in smaller teams. I spent an incredible three-and-a-half-years working across a colourful range of clients – from the UK Sepsis Trust, British Airways and McLaren Racing to Professor Stephen Hawking.
Then in January 2021, I came to Edelman, drawn in by the bright minds and big briefs. I’ve since been happily beavering away protecting and promoting the reputations of household names including PayPal, Under Armour, and Mitsubishi.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Working with the British Medical Association during COVID-19 at my previous agency was a career-affirming experience. We led the regional press office efforts over six months in 2020 and were in daily communication with doctors on the frontline.
Having privileged access to these health workers, when there was so much confusion and lack of basic knowledge about the virus was enlightening. Thinking how to package their gripes, fears, and ideas before making them public, was a fascinating exercise in tapping into the national psyche at a time of total upheaval and uncertainty.
What do you find most rewarding about the job?
I’m a bit of a snob in believing that time spent not learning is often time wasted. I don’t spend many hours online battling dragons or watching people crack on around campfires, although I do watch copious amounts of football and NFL. Communications agencies are the perfect place for those of a similar disposition. With every client you learn about a distinct industry, and every project presents its own challenges and opportunities to do something new.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced throughout your time at Edelman?
Making friends. It sounds facetious but it’s true. When I joined, lockdown restrictions were still in place for much of my first year, so, my chances to meet colleagues and exchange ideas in-person were limited. I love the flexibility Edelman offers to work-from-home, but I’m also a big believer in the merits of physical interactions. There’s so much to gain from being in the same room as the big thinkers of the London office, hearing what they’re working on, how they communicate, projects that need volunteers and so on.
How do you stay motivated?
They say you’re the average sum of the five people you spend the most time with. Here I’m surrounded by so many smart and ambitious people that dragging my feet isn’t an option.
If you could offer one piece of advice to someone considering a role, what would it be?
Accept it and volunteer for as many things as possible. You’ll learn five times as much here in a tenth of the time than you will elsewhere, such are the pace of projects and abilities of people.
You may specialise in a specific area – internal comms, crisis, or executive positioning – but it’s worth putting your fingers into as many pies as possible. This will give you a more rounded understanding of Marketing and Communications, which will then show you how the components of handling a client’s corporate reputation come together.
What do you do outside work to relax?
See above answer about watching too much NFL. RedZone on a Sunday night – which broadcasts from 6pm to 2am – is the perfect way for me to vegetate and squeeze the last bit of enjoyment out of the weekend.
Thankfully the season runs from September to February, so for most of the year you’ll find me working through a long list of London’s many Italian restaurants. I’ve lived in here all my life but am still so unfamiliar with much of it.