Mahalia is a communication professional and is passionate about comms and her development within the profession. Mahalia believes that a strong communications team can amplify an organisation’s voice and seize the narrative.
Currently, as the Global Courier Comms Strategy Manager at Stuart, Mahalia leads a high performing Agile team that is responsible for the strategic governance of courier comms across all Stuart markets. Her role includes working closely with several global courier comms teams, the product team and various stakeholders to support and advocate on behalf of the needs required for courier comms.
Mahalia graduated with a BA in Law from Middlesex University and then a Master’s in International Relations from Queen Mary University. She has been a freelancer for most of her comms career working in a variety of organisations and industries ranging from start ups, charities, events and digital radio. Mahalia’s expertise lies in the development of comms strategies, planning and execution. She relies on knowledge and skills of comms best practices, copywriting and copy editing, research and brand development to get the job done.
Describe yourself/your background in 5 words max?
Rice-lover, partly London living
How did you get into PR/communications?
I never knew comms was a viable career option, but my Aunty Jan laid in wait and pounced at the right moment. I grew up wanting to be a Human Rights Lawyer but in the second year of my law degree, I knew it wasn’t for me. My Aunty saw me grapple with other career options and finally stepped it and told me to give comms a go. I’ve never looked back, and it’s been a natural fit ever since.
What do you love about your job?
The versatility and excitement, no two days are ever the same. I love that I can use the analytical side of my brain in one breath but be as light and creative in another. From crisis comms to social impact comms strategies and execution to quirky social media captions, Comms has it all.
What are you most proud of?
Being a survivor with the ability to bounce back with vigour.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
Patience is a virtue. This is a lifelong lesson I am still hard-headed about. Some things may not come to you as quickly as it did others or your journey may not be the same path as the next person but when it’s your time? WOOOO nobody can tell you NOTHING!!!
Who is your favourite person in PR and why?
Ronke Lawal gave me my first insight into the PR world and since I followed her on Twitter some years ago, I have been a fan girl ever since. I was instantly pulled in by her sense of humour, honesty and knowledge of PR. Just throwing this out there, I still haven’t met her yet!
What skill do you think every PR/comms person has to nail?
Juggling! It’s the coordination between doing many things at once but with an acute attention to detail. Rhythmically working towards tight deadlines, copywriting/editing, managing stakeholders and gearing up for the ultimate execution.
What is your favourite social network and why?
The best social network for me is Twitter! I wake up every morning to a curated timeline of world news, social commentary, funny/viral videos, threads on the best copywriting tools and any and everything in-between. I enjoy the convenience of the app.
What’s your favourite podcast and why?
In 2022, I am ashamed to say I do not listen to podcasts. However, I am open to recommendations.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Claudia Jones, journalist, the mother of Notting Hill Carnival and activist is my favourite journalist. She used her profession and expertise as a journalist to raise awareness and educate on topics such as gender equality and decolonisation. She was also an advocate for Black communities around the world. As the founder and editor of the UK’s first major Black newspaper, ‘The West Indian Gazette,’ Claudia Jones was a trailblazer for the Black British civil rights movement.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“What is meant for you will not pass you.” I have heard this saying in several variations from a variety of people, but it always holds true and brings a level of peace into my life.
Biggest PR campaign fail and yay of 2022 so far?
The Gender Pay Gap Bot on Twitter was the PR/Comms campaign yay for me and went viral during International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022. The people behind the Bot used data-driven communications to seize control of the narrative around the gender pay gap and took the internet and many virtual watercooler conversations by storm.
However, it was a PR fail for the unsuspecting companies involved who had their data used against them as we all gasped and laughed along with the Gender Pay Gap Bot. The Gender Pay Gap Bot held up a public mirror to these companies and highlighted their disingenuous show of women’s solidarity and support during IWD. They used data and insights to hold companies and organisations accountable and enable a very important and public discussion around the gender pay gap.
There are so many layers to the Gender Pay Gap Bot however, the simplicity of using data as a PR tool was my favourite. The Bot was the perfect PR campaign that showcases the impact data can have on whom we communicate with, what we communicate and how we communicate. This goes beyond using data to understand your audience’s behavioural patterns but using data to generate content and have a social impact.
Finally, on the D’ word… What can the sector do to encourage diversity?
For me, it’s simple if you provide inroads and opportunities in PR and Comms for people from BME backgrounds, this will encourage diversity.
More opportunities to access internships, graduate jobs, entry-level roles, senior management and C suite roles will positively impact representation. Many from BEM backgrounds struggle to see comms and PR as a viable career option because they do not see a reflection of themselves in the profession.
Connect with Mahalia on Twitter.