Brenda studied Media Practices and Public Relations at the University of Bedfordshire and has three years’ experience working within the B2B and B2C sectors of tech PR across a broad range of high-profile clients and high growth accounts.
She started her PR career with a placement at a top global agency, which led to a full-time position working on clients including McAfee and Qualcomm.
During her time at the fast-paced agency, Brenda successfully landed coverage across key trade media titles.
At Nelson Bostock Unlimited (NBU) Brenda has worked on a catalogue of predominantly B2C clients including YouTube, Urbanista, SHARENOW and more, landing coverage on national titles including Metro, Grazia, Fabulous Magazine and Evening Standard. This year, Brenda also had the chance to host the agency’s International Women’s Day panel event, leading the conversation on equality across the workplace, from junior to board level.
Aside from her day to day role at NBU, Brenda runs a women empowerment platform, Girls In Power, a brand dedicated to providing support to those with aspirations of gaining roles within creative industries. Over the last 2+ years, Girls In Power has worked in partnership with brands including Kobalt/AWAL Music, BMI, E & J Brandy, Vapiano and has also been supported by the likes of Barclays Bank, Red Bull Music, Hennessy UK and YouTube Music.
Describe yourself/your background in 5 words max?
East African, Ugandan precisely
How did you get into PR/communications?
Back in 2010 I was a passionate blogger who just wanted to put up and coming artists in the forefront of the media space. I could always see a real potential in their careers and the genuine empathy I had for them drove me to research what this was as a role and if it was something I could do long term. I went on to complete my degree in Media Relations and PR at the University of Bedfordshire and started to build my network from there. Ten years later, I can comfortably say, PR is where I am meant to be. The industry allows me to be creative, strategic and media savvy – all while constantly meeting new people along the way.
What do you love about your job?
I really do love the thrill of it all and working with a great team who share the same momentum. From creating the story idea, to the execution and watching it all come together. I genuinely love pitching in a story or product release to the media that I believe in and securing great coverage for a client, while having the creative freedom to do so. When a client grants you the flexibility to go big and ‘think outside the box’ with pitches, it also allows you to build real, tangible relationships with the media. It’s so nice to know that your client trusts you with their brand reputation, so being able to be a part of it all is very important to me, the gratitude you feel from a simple ‘thank you’ is enough for me.
What are you most proud of?
In my first few months of joining my current agency, I worked on a car-sharing app and had the Style Director from British Vogue review the service – which was unheard of for the brand. The client was absolutely thrilled.
I am also extremely proud of how far I have come because PR can be tough and extremely testing. There have been moments where I have wanted to throw in the towel but when you have great days and amazing client feedback, you begin to remember exactly why you’d do it all again.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
The norm for many PR agencies is there are not many girls that look like me in the office, so I’ve had to learn that it is okay to be unapologetically myself in such spaces, client meetings and new business pitches. In my last role, I felt so out of place and uncomfortable that imposter syndrome kicked in a few times and really knocked my confidence. For a long period of time, I feared voicing my real concerns – especially being so junior and new to the industry. I worried that I would create the wrong narrative for myself, so I chose to suppress a lot of my feelings and frustrations. As a naturally quiet person, one of the hardest lessons I’ve learnt is having to adjust to the idea that you need to be a loud, dominating presence to really be seen, heard and respected in your position.
Who are your favourite people in PR/comms and why?
The one and only Iman Leila, Public Relations and Influencer Manager over at Cosmetify. Iman is a positively huge character who supports other black women looking to break into the PR and comms industry. Day to day she works for a beauty PR agency and in her free time supports smaller businesses who look to maximise on their brand exposure. Most recently, Iman managed to secure coverage for an upcoming fashion brand across top tier publications including ELLE, Vogue, Bloomberg, The Daily Mail and more, following an Instagram post shared by Kylie Jenner wearing a limited edition piece. This sparked huge momentum taking the brand following from 35 followers to 33.6k followers on Instagram within 24 hours. This is a great example of the power of PR – and I’m here for it!
What skill do you think every PR/comms person has to nail?
In PR, you will either sink or swim so you need to be both super proactive and persistent – these two definitely go hand in hand.
What is your favourite social network and why?
I’m definitely an Instagram girl. I appreciate a great photo. I studied Photography at A-Level and it completely changed how I look at photos.
What’s your favourite podcast and why?
The Receipts Podcast by ‘Your girl Tolly T, Audrey formally known as Ghana’s Finest and your mamacita Milena Sanchez’ – a great podcast to lift your mood and get you through your day.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Twiggy Jalloh, beauty and lifestyle Journalist from British Vogue particularly because she writes great pieces from the eyes of a black woman. This could be finding the right makeup range to suit our skin tones, dealing with scarring and hyperpigmentation to painting vivid images of life back home in Africa – very relatable articles in a highly respected publication.
I also enjoy pieces from Jessica Noah Morgan from Refinery29 for the same reason. I also love her transparency.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Do what sets your heart on fire, life is too short”
How would you describe 2020 in one word?
Who is your coronavirus comms hero and why?
The coronavirus comms hero award has to go to the amazing Marcus Rashford – hands down! He is the 22-year-old English international football player who raised £20m to feed vulnerable children through the FareShare UK charity during the peak of the pandemic. Rashford used his platform to raise awareness of the Government’s decision to scrap free school meals, calling for this to be reversed.
In his open letter to the Members of Parliament, he said “the system is not built for families like mine to succeed” urging the government to view this as an act of humanity and not a political issue. His bravery and resilience led to the decision being reversed. It was an amazing achievement.
Finally… Which brand impressed you with their response to Black Lives Matter and why?
Sony Music UK – they were one of the first companies to put their money where their mouth is following #blackouttuesday