Mabel is an Account Manager at Meeting Place Communications, a public relations and communications company specialising in the property industry. She provides support to developers and communities to help achieve successful planning outcomes.
Mabel is also an elected councillor and deputy Leader of the Labour group in the London Borough of Bexley. She represents Thamesmead East ward, which is presently undergoing one of the largest regeneration programmes in Europe. In her role, she supports the fostering of positive community interaction, and ensuring the local communities views are represented both at the council and throughout any redevelopment process.
Describe your background in 5 words max?
Proud Nigerian and South-East Londoner
How did you get into PR/comms?
I kind of fell into the role from my own experience of lacklustre comms.
I was offered a job in PR during the time where large scale housing developments were being proposed in my local community, yet the message regarding what would happen to the existing residents and infrastructure wasn’t being effectively communicated.
It made me realise how important effective communication and PR is and the need to be forward thinking in our methods to communicate with those hard to reach groups.
What do you love about your job?
Communicating with local communities and ensuring that their views are heard. There are so many benefits that can come from a development, but you don’t hear from the communities that will be most affected and benefit from the development. Through my role, I get to share the benefits and give those communities a voice.
What are you most proud of?
Being elected a councillor at the age of 22. Politics is dominated by white middle class men and it feels amazing to show other black, working class, and/or women that it is time to change that.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
Not to over-promise and when to say “no!”. I always want to go above and beyond what is expected and my go-to response is always “yes”. I have learnt that I can produce amazing work, that ticks all the boxes and then some, without burning myself out.
Who are your favourite people in PR/comms and why?
The CEO of Meeting Place Communications, Anna Sabine-Newlyn, who welcomed me into the world of PR. She has worked incredibly hard to be a respected woman in the field and encourages me to make sure my voice is heard.
What is your favourite social network and why?
Even though I don’t use it enough, I love twitter! Great way to keep up to date with what is happening in the political world and the meme world.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
My favourite journalist is Mehdi Hassan. I respect that he remains true to his beliefs, uses facts to dispel myths and is willing to debate with anybody whose views differ from his own.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
The best leaders are the ones who change attitudes. It’s not enough to have a position, you have to affect the way people behave and the way they see things – otherwise lasting change will never be achieved.
Your favourite PR campaign/stunt of 2018 so far?
Less of a stunt, more of a campaign. The March for Our Lives demonstration. Requesting common sense gun control legislation shouldn’t be this hard, particularly considering how many lives are lost to gun violence in America. It was great to see young people leading a campaign that unites so many sections of American society.
Why did you apply for the BME PR Pros/PRWeek Mentoring Scheme?
Considering how vast the world of PR is, there are nowhere near enough visible BME representatives and I wanted to meet a Pro who could tell me how they rose to the top.
I found out I got a place on a packed tube on my way home from work – think my first reaction was to shimmy in my spot and grin at everyone who made eye contact with me.
Finally, on the D’ word… What can the sector do to encourage diversity?
Programmes like this are a fantastic start. There needs to be more opportunities like this which support the development of others from diverse backgrounds.
Employers also need to look at their employment processes. They need to advertise roles over a range of platforms, aim to have diverse interviewing panels and interview a diverse list of candidates.
Mabel is a mentee on the BME PR Pros/PRWeek Mentoring Scheme. She will be mentored by Charandeep Singh, Head of External Relations, Scottish Chamber of Commerce.