Asha moved home to Nottingham in 2019 after studying in both Birmingham and Barcelona. She gained a first-class degree in English Literature and History, focusing her studies on the representations of refugees in fiction, history and political discourse.
She gained experience as a Student Brand Ambassador at Sipsmith and as a Creative Writing Intern at British-Indian gin brand Crazy Co, and has written for magazines including Matrix Barcelona and Redbrick. Asha now continues to immerse herself in the world of food and drink by reviewing restaurants on her blog Asha Eats.
Outside of eating and travelling, Asha enjoys reading novels, supporting Nottingham Forest and forcing all of her friends and family to try her homemade Bloody Marys.
Describe yourself/your background in 5 words max?
Mixed, half Gujarati, full Nottingham.
How did you get into PR/communications?
During my internships, experience and degree I was starting to realise that I loved stories – telling them, reading them, analysing them. I attended a careers talk and one of the panellists said that PR was worth considering for someone who loved to consume news, enjoyed variety and wasn’t terrified by the thought of starting a conversation in a coffee shop. Sounded perfect for me!
I started applying for jobs quite obsessively and was fast learning that London wasn’t going to be financially realistic for me straight away. Entry-level PR positions are hard to come by in Nottingham, so I was relieved to secure a position at Center Parcs before I’d even handed in my dissertation.
What do you love about your job?
I like that PR has its fingers in a lot of pies. I’m forced to become an expert on new things quickly which pushes me out of my comfort zone and means that I’m bettering myself constantly. My favourite jobs are when I get to think and write creatively!
What are you most proud of?
Producing high-quality work and meeting deadlines without drama. It might not sound like much, but I’m proud of my ability to deliver with calmness and clarity.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
That feeling like you don’t fit in isn’t always a bad thing. Embrace it. It’s better to stay true to yourself than change to fit the mould.
Who are your favourite people in PR/comms and why?
I respect Brewdog a lot. Their work with Manifest contributed to me feeling excited about PR, it was bold and purposeful. They’re not afraid to take a risk, and although it’s not right for every brand, standing for something definitely gains my respect.
What skill do you think every PR/comms person has to nail?
Being able to hold a conversation with anyone and everyone.
What is your favourite social network and why?
This is tough. I love LinkedIn but I’m going with Instagram because looking at bowls of pasta in front of Italian sunsets has really got me through lockdown.
What’s your favourite podcast and why?
True crime podcast Casefiles. I’m either gripped or asleep, which is mostly what I want from a podcast.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Grace Dent – she writes so cleverly. Reading her reviews reminds me of why I love words and food.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Learn to walk before you can run, and do the walking really well! I think it’s easy to get caught up in the big things when the little things matter too.
How would you describe 2020 in one word?
Who is your coronavirus comms hero and why?
Marcus Rashford! His campaign to extend the free school meal voucher scheme was brilliant. He mobilised the public with a consistent message, a clear goal and genuine passion for the cause.
Finally… Which brand impressed you with their response to Black Lives Matter and why?
Ben & Jerry’s because their statement was humane, conscientious and informed. Their response was consistent with their past messages of anti-racism, so it didn’t feel empty or symbolic. Lloyds Bank also sent a sincere internal message of support to their staff, which goes a long way.