Deepak is an Assistant Account Executive at Edelman UK where he is responsible for driving and supporting work on some of the agency’s biggest international and domestic clients. Sitting within the Corporate Affairs team, Deepak advises clients on corporate reputation, digital strategies, and trust.
Prior to Edelman, Deepak interned with Pembroke and Rye and completed the Taylor Bennett Foundation’s PR and Communications Traineeship programme in association with Brunswick Group. Outside of PR/comms, Deepak has spent time as an intern between breaks from university in the professional services sector, the legal sector, and the charity sector in the UK, India, and China.
Deepak studied Geography at King’s College London and Modern South Asian Studies at the University of Oxford. Deepak has also spent time studying abroad at universities in Singapore, Japan, China, and Korea on scholarships.
In his spare time, Deepak is most likely watching a documentary or film, reading a novel, or planning his next hike. When not doing so, he is probably being severely let down by the efforts of Labour and the Indian national cricket team. Whilst Deepak aspires to work on impactful public service campaigns, he also hopes to be an authority on jam, candles, and perfumes.
Describe yourself/your background in 5 words max?
East London, born and bred.
How did you get into PR/communications?
Via the Taylor Bennett Foundation’s PR and Communications Traineeship programme. I applied because I wanted to learn more deeply about campaigning, influence, and the news business from a professional perspective.
What do you love about your job?
That on most days, creativity and ingenuity are valued.
What are you most proud of?
My determination and resilience to complete my master’s degree at Oxford whilst struggling with a painful flare up of my chronic illness. A close second is the day I brought my Mum and Aunty each a sari from my first salary as a graduate.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
That there will be periods of time in your professional life when you will have to work with people you don’t like all that much. Navigating that early on was a tiring but important challenge.
Who are your favourite people in PR/comms and why?
I haven’t been in PR/comms long enough to have any favourite people to be honest. So, for this question, I would like to shout out a friend of mine, Ibrahim Mohammed, more popularly known as Ibz Mo. During his time at Cambridge University, Ibz used YouTube as a platform to document his experience as someone from a disadvantaged background. In the process of doing so, he transformed into a confident communicator who has delivered some sharp home truths about elitism and whiteness in academia with a level of wit and zeal that I admire.
What skill do you think every PR/comms person has to nail?
Knowing your audience.
What is your favourite social network and why?
Twitter, because I use it to understand incredibly complex arguments and perspectives from a wide range of academics, journalists, filmmakers, and writers the world over in a concise and digestible way. I don’t find this on any other social network. Also, my timeline genuinely makes me laugh out loud.
What’s your favourite podcast and why?
Have You Heard George’s Podcast? It deserves all the critical acclaim it has received and more. I am still in awe at how George and his team are able to blend music, poetry, scripted segments, news, and political discourse so powerfully together. It is creative and compelling storytelling at its finest.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Aditya Chakrabortty. As a columnist and senior economics commentator at the Guardian, Aditya does an excellent job marrying the political with the personal. His work is almost always insightful and moving. I urge everyone to read his article looking at racism in Britain through the story of one particular “key worker” – his own mother. It is a heart-breaking yet beautiful tribute to her remarkable life.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Take time to listen to your body. Of course, this may sound ambiguous to some, but to me it means maintaining a respect for my body’s signals to rest and relax. The effects of burnout are grim.
How would you describe 2020 in one word?
Who is your coronavirus comms hero and why?
Marcus Rashford. He used his platform to pressure the government into a humbling U-turn over providing food vouchers for some of England’s poorest families through an incredibly personal and honest campaign. I don’t think I had ever been prouder to be a Manchester United fan. I hope more sportspeople follow his lead in this country and recognise their power in amplifying awareness of social issues.
Finally… Which brand impressed you with their response to Black Lives Matter and why?
I was impressed by LEGO’s response. They pledged $4M to support Black children and educate all children about racial equality. But, alongside this, they also took the time to listen and take a more thoughtful approach, and in doing so decided to pause all digital marketing of playsets that include police figures and scenarios. Given LEGO’s significance with regards to children’s education and entertainment (their products were foundational for me in many ways I have only come to realise later on in life) I felt it was a powerful statement. As a brand they acknowledged that symbols have meaning, and that clearly “Everything’s Not Awesome”.