Describe your background in 5 words max
Hideously white middle-class and TOWIE
How did you get into PR and/communications?
A degree from Sheffield Uni in Sociology helped. You needed a degree back in the day. Doing one of the UK’s first flashmobs – under David Blaine – helped me get my foot in the door at Mission 21 – https://www.standard.co.uk/news/blaine-gets-flashed-7225514.html
What do you love about your job?
I love you spend all day with media people who are following the news agenda and are opinionated on it. I like disagreeing with journalists and PRs and pointing out when we’re all talking shite.
What are you most proud of?
Seeing Dynamo’s culture spread out across the world. I genuinely get tearful hearing happy updates from our very cool and diverse San Francisco team.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
Always found agency politics hard and something I don’t really have time for.
Who are your favourite people in PR/communications and why?
What skill do you think every PR has to nail?
Understanding what makes a good story. Being able to convince clients to tell ‘stories’ not just hugely positive “we’re thrilled” news.
What is your favourite social network and why?
Signal – privacy from certain social networks is getting increasingly important to me.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Stuart Miles at Pocket-lint – we share running a business storicarolees. Andrew Marr – his book on journalism is a must-read. Carole Cadwelladr at the Guardian has changed the tech narrative in 2018 and is my choice for the scoop of the year.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Changing Rooms is a bit dated, I think” – my first boss shooting down a brainstorm idea. I learnt the importance of being topical with campaigns. The TV show was 10 years old. It was cancelled two weeks later.
What’s your ‘yay’ and ‘nay’ campaign of the year so far?
Yay – I liked Badoo’s ‘longest date’ event held on Summer Solstice by Frank PR.
Nay – Megan Markle’s sister needs to do a CIPR course or two.
“PR agencies only talk about diversity to win big awards and look good. But it’s just tokenistic”. Discuss.
I remember judging a major PR awards which had diversity criteria and an agency boss said “we don’t really do diversity here”… they didn’t win. I think it’s good agencies are rewarded for making steps here, but they should want to push diversity to bring in awesome people and new thinking, anyway.
What advice would you give a talented BME PR Pro starting to think this sector will never give them the opportunities they deserve and are close to jacking it in to retrain as a doctor (which would make their African parents very happy)?
PR is a great career, if you want to do it, then go for it. More and more companies, conscious that the profession is hideously white and middle class, are actively looking for new voices to join them. And those that concentrate more on BME markets, like Beats headphones, have been some of the marketing success stories of the past decade.
Finally, on a lighter note… Gutted to hear you can’t make the BME PR Pros Summer Party…. Out of curiosity, what tune would have had you hitting the dancefloor?
I wish… by Skee-lo is a good old school floor filler and always surprises people when it comes on.