Pros We Love: Jessica Hope, founder and MD, Wimbart

Jessica Hope (@WimbartHope) is the founder and MD of Wimbart, a boutique public relations company with a heavy emphasis on Africa and emerging markets. Her clients include Iroko, Konga, Ringier, She Leads Africa, Paystack and many more. 

Jessica graduated from the University of Manchester with a BA in History and MA in Religion and Politics and worked as a journalist and editor for a number of years before she moved into PR. Prior to starting her own PR company, Jessica worked at the Natural History Museum, the Jewish Museum and was Head of Communications for African entertainment brand, irokotv.  

Jessica tells us why she still feels like a teenager at heart.

How did you get into PR?

I’m a failed journalist – I was a magazine editor in Manchester from a super young age. Just local magazines – very small and before social media was really a big ‘thing’. When the last one I worked for folded, and I needed to pay the mortgage, I put my writing skills to work and got a job in a PR firm.

What do you love about your job?

The variety – and also, in my case, I’ve travelled a lot. That’s been amazing.

What are you most proud of?

Starting my own PR company. I still feel like a teenager at heart, so actually running and operating a successful PR company still feels a little bit grown up

What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?

How to figure out how to structure deals and how to navigate between time wasters

Who are your favourite people in PR?

Journalists who print my stories 😛

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the sector?

I think a lot of people have writing and textbook skills, but quite a few struggle to actually hustle and build relationships with journalists.

What skill do you think every PR has to nail?

Relationship building.

What is your favourite social network and why?

I know people are quite down on it these days, but I’ve found LinkedIn pretty useful for the contacts I need to make. Also – it gives me a platform to share my PR wins and then acts as a type of new business platform.

Who is your favourite tweeter and why?

My old boss – Jason Njoku. He’s succinct, often cutting – doesn’t tweet that often but has a pretty impressive following

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

You need to leave me and start your own business.

Finally, on the D’ word… What can the sector do to tackle diversity?

Start hiring black / Asian people [yes, stating the obvious] – and shout about it to start attracting more BAME young people into the sector. It’s actually wild how many PR agencies have white-only teams. It really puts off young, BAME people, as they don’t recognise, or want to work within, that all-white demographic. I’ve never worked with a black PR that I haven’t personally hired myself.

Jessica will be speaking at BME PR Pros’ first event ‘How to get ahead in PR‘ on Wednesday 15 March at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. Tickets are free but places are limited. Book your place now.