Lateefah is a PR/Comms professional currently working in the HIV and sexual health sector. She graduated from De Montfort University with a Media and Communications (BA Honours) in 2015, and managed to secure two PR internships shortly after. This then resulted in her securing her first permanent role as a media researcher, which then led to her current role.
Lateefah is extremely passionate about amplifying the voices of those who are often underrepresented, and this is at the heart of all the PR campaigns she has worked on over the years.
Although she is passionate about the PR industry, Lateefah’s first love was writing. Her first article was published at the age of sixteen. Since then she has written about a range of topics from racial inequalities to mental health and pop culture. Her by-lines include:
The Independent, Metro, iNews, HuffPost and The Voice Newspaper just to name a few. Writing articles is Lateefah’s side hustle and she continues to pitch and write articles in her spare time.
Describe yourself/your background in 5 words max?
Only child, St.Lucian, book lover
How did you get into PR/communications?
I graduated with a degree in Media and Communications. At first I thought I wanted to pursue a career in journalism, but I ended up hating the module, and in second year I decided to pick the PR module instead. It was at this point that I realised that I wanted to learn more about the industry, and possibly pursue a career in it.
After graduating I did a few internships whilst juggling my part-time retail job. After interning I was certain that PR was the route for me – and here I am today.
What do you love about your job?
I love the fact that I get an opportunity to give black women and men living with HIV the opportunity to share the experiences and stories on their terms. Giving them the platform to have their voices heard is the most rewarding part of my job.
What are you most proud of?
My proudest moment was securing my first piece of coverage in Cosmopolitan about black women and HIV stigma. I was shocked to see how much of a positive response it received from people who had been working in the HIV sector for years.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
People want you to do well, but never better than them.
Who are your favourite people in PR/comms and why?
Ronke Lawal – founder of Ariatu PR. I love how unapologetic she is about her stance on diversity within the PR industry, plus she is hilarious on Twitter.
What skill do you think every PR/comms person has to nail?
Resilience – as a PR person you really can’t take things to heart. So if you don’t get an email response, or a campaign doesn’t turn out the way you planned, you can’t let it keep you down.
What is your favourite social network and why?
Instagram is my favourite at the moment. The funny memes and videos allow me to escape from everything that is going on in the world right now.
What’s your favourite podcast and why?
The Receipts Podcast, because it’s full of unfiltered girl chat. It’s literally like I’m part of an exclusive Whatsapp group that I can tune into every week.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Tobi Oredein – I admire how she unapologetically continues to call out the lack of diversity in the journalism industry. I was first introduced to Tobi when I watched her Black Ballad video where she stated: ‘White women’s media cares more about avocados than black women’ – I have been following her ever since!
In addition to this, being able to create a platform such as Black Ballad that allows black women to share their experiences is nothing short of inspirational.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
‘If yu cyan hear you must feel’ – if you cannot hear, you must feel
It’s an old Caribbean saying. It basically means if you choose to ignore the obvious warnings and red flags, then you must be prepared to deal with the consequences.
How would you describe 2020 in one word?
Who is your coronavirus comms hero and why?
Nic Young – as a response to everything that is going on with COVID-19, Nic set up his own agency Look After. Look After aims to help unemployed and furloughed Comms pros with organisations who need additional PR/Comms support during this time.
Setting up your own initiative to help others during a pandemic must have been difficult, but it’s very inspiring to see a PR professional offer a helping hand to the Comms professionals and organisations who need it the most.
Finally… Which brand impressed you with their response to Black Lives Matter and why?
Ben & Jerrys – I initially was surprised at how honest and unfiltered their response was, stating the need to dismantle white supremacy. But then, I did a bit of research and realised that Ben and Jerrys have been speaking up on various social justice issues for a while.