Whilst pursing a degree in Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester, Christina ranked in the top 10 Virgin Media Brand Ambassadors in the country at the end of the 2014/15 campaign. Returning to London, she quickly entered the world of PR.
Currently an Account Executive at one of the UK’s fastest growing healthcare communications agencies, Christina’s agency background is complemented by a stint in-house supporting the comms function of an organisation committed to thrombosis research. To date, her career highlights include managing filming with cardiologists at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2018 and encouraging a client to use the Instagram Stories feature in a social media campaign for the first time. Despite her client never having created an Instagram story before, the content’s completion rate was over 70% and organically outperformed the company’s paid social benchmarks.
Passionate about the power of STEM education to transform lives, she has tutored many students ranging from primary school to sixth form age, to help them improve their studying habits and comprehension as they progress into higher and further education.
Outside of lockdown, you can find Christina playing football for her local club, attending art exhibitions, or touring the world through her taste buds (only when it is safe to!).
Describe yourself/your background in 5 words max?
Proud Ghanaian and South Londoner.
How did you get into PR/communications?
My first experience of communications came from working as a Brand Ambassador for Virgin Media at university. During this time, I learnt the importance of creating content with a tone that complements the brand and resonates with the target audience. Really enjoying and performing well at this job resulted in me being offered the role of Student Brand Manager for a music journalism magazine. In both roles, I saw the end product but was intrigued to see the earlier stages of planning and development required for effective communications.
Returning to London after university, I knew I was interested in communications but wanted to make sure that I was also doing something relevant to my degree. It’s an exciting time to be in the healthcare industry with lots of advancements being made so rapidly; this also means there’s more of a need to make sure that these advancements are being communicated accurately and in a way that the general public can understand.
Following my graduate scheme, I went to work in-house for one of my clients, then decided I wanted another taste of agency life!
What do you love about your job?
I love that this career gives me the chance to keep up with new and upcoming scientific developments, or at least try to! Although I am not directly involved in any lab work or clinical trials, I get to interact with a lot of interesting and passionate people who are working to further the science of healthcare. Working in communications has been a fulfilling way of contributing towards improving the lives of patients both in the UK and globally.
What are you most proud of?
Definitely most proud of establishing a women’s futsal team at university because #equality! I even got a coaching qualification over the summer to cut down on club costs. Really proud of myself for developing, hosting and promoting training sessions, tripling the number of fixtures from the previous year, and increasing memberships by over 1000% across two years as captain.
Thank God it’s only a five-player sport because it was tight at the beginning, but six years later there’s two teams winning all over the place and building our legacy.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
Sometimes people are committed to not understanding you; save your energy for those that want to see you win.
Who are your favourite people in PR/comms and why?
Aside from the team I work with, one of my favourite people in PR would have be Charlotte Shyllon, Director of Transforming Words. She has encouraged me to take each step of my short career so far, and seeing someone who looks like me in a very senior role means a lot. Even though we don’t work together anymore, we keep in touch and Charlotte really helped me start to craft my approaches to tasks at work and stayed on hand for any guidance and support. Every giggle I’ve had on work trips has been with her; no one I would rather drag my weight in promotional materials around Europe with!
What skill do you think every PR/comms person has to nail?
The ability to digest briefs/tasks effectively and ask the right questions at the right time.
What is your favourite social network and why?
Twitter is the one for me now. Twitter definitely gets bad press and labelled as a hotbox of negativity, but I find that it’s the best platform to get a great mix of opinions and voices in real-time. I could be crying laughing one minute, and processing no-nonsense topics the next. I can learn about almost anything on Twitter, even while saving down my dream interior design.
What’s your favourite podcast and why?
The Receipts podcast – a brilliant mix of banter, gossip, and sharing life experiences. It’s mostly funny and entertaining but also covers important topics. They have provided such an important space for women of colour through their podcast. One of the trio, Tolly, works in media and it is always great to see someone so relatable on a big platform. They are so authentically themselves, and most importantly, they’re having a great time doing it.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
I have to admit I don’t really have a favourite journalist per se as I try to read across genres and mediums to keep my mind unbiased, but for right now (lockdown in 2020) I’m going to say…. Piers Morgan.*
I disagree with a lot of things he has said and done (including some things during lockdown), but even despite his Conservative allegiance he’s acknowledged that some governmental decisions have been very questionable and has unapologetically used his platform to spread awareness and call out the Government regardless of any repercussions.
*Please don’t cancel me!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
From a young age my mum has always told me that it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
Who knew she was preparing me for a career in comms.
How would you describe 2020 in one word?
Who is your coronavirus comms hero and why?
Nadia Whittome MP – the ‘Baby of the House’ didn’t hesitate to get involved in helping her community cope with the coronavirus. She sacrificed her time to work in a care home and even donated part of her salary to the local COVID-19 relief fund. Being only 24 years of age, she has demonstrated her commitment and dedication to helping the nation survive this pandemic – significantly more so than many MPs, so she is definitely a hero in my eyes.
Finally… Which brand impressed you with their response to Black Lives Matter and why?
Can I mention two? I enjoyed seeing Yorkshire Tea address a far-right activist who tweeted that she was glad that the brand had not come out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
At a time where many brands either felt stunted by their lack of diversity, overcompensated or flat out contradicted themselves, PG Tips and Yorkshire Tea united in a simple but funny way and encouraged the idea that being anti-racist should become a quintessentially British stance ….and a global one too!
Also, it’s nice to see rival brands acknowledge that they don’t always have to work in silos – sometimes #solidaritea is better.