Marian Diyaolu, also known as Oyinade Diyaolu to some, is a hard-working communications consultant. She started her career in communications during University by taking up intern opportunities at a range of agencies and companies. Often, people say to be a strong communicator, you have to possess all the relevant skills which range from creativity, writing skills, organisation and attention to detail. She is someone who, not only embodies those exact skills, but is always ready to continue her development. She is a firm believer in ‘never stop learning’ and this is evident through the opportunities she has been exposed to in her career to date.
Marian gained a position at one of the big four professional services networks in the world as a senior associate with two years’ experience due to her drive and dedication to continue learning in the industry. She has been privileged to lead on some internal and external projects whilst working at various organisations. A project she is most proud of was her involvement in the transformation of a major in-house newsletter from print to digital form. She takes pride in the fact that she was able to transform not only the newsletter, but the mindset of her colleagues and audience in terms of how to consume particular content.
Describe your background/yourself in 5 words max?
Discovery via London to Nigeria
How did you get into PR/comms/creative?
I got into communications after working as an intern at Hill & Knowlton during my degree. I remember walking in on my first day and thinking it didn’t look like the agencies in the movies (naïve, I know. But I can be excused, I had not started my adulthood process) but it was even more than what I was expecting. It was challenging but so rewarding and from then, I knew that communications was definitely the career path I wanted to go down. There is nothing like seeing the results of your hard work, especially when it is somewhere you spend most of your time – five days a week, minimum 8hrs a day. This is key and important for me.
What do you love about your job?
The fact that I can bring my whole self to work. I am not pressured into pretending to be what I am not so as to be comfortable or ‘fit in’. Forget the stereotypes and throw them out the window! Everyone grew up differently and has gone through different experiences. Therefore, being able to be myself at work and bring my different experiences into discussions with confidence is the main reason I love my job so much. People underestimate how important being content at work is. If I have to go somewhere every day, I better be comfortable. Right?
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my journey so far and my ability to combine my two passions and show true dedication to both. Aside from my passion for storytelling through everything communications and public relations based, I am very passionate about storytelling through the arts and film. I train as an actor part time and I appreciate my job and company because of the flexibility it affords me to do this. I enjoy the challenge of managing both because University taught me the beauty of seeing things through and how the end result is always worth the journey when you put your mind and soul into it. I am proud that I am still chasing both of my passions and have not had to give up one in order to achieve success in the other.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
You are the ultimate driver of your development and career success. In as much as organisations provide guidelines and can support you with specific opportunities, the responsibility and ownership lies on an individual to steer their own career path. It is key to remember to take control of what you want out of your career and to make sure you stay focussed on how to arrive there.
Who are your favourite people in PR and why?
My favourite person in PR has to be Yvette Noel-Schure. She is Beyoncé’s publicist and also heads her own agency. I love how bold she is with her campaigns and the fact that she clearly isn’t afraid of taking risks. That is something I aspire to do because I have always been told ‘The biggest risk is not taking any risk…’
I am sure those that are true Beyoncé fans will know about the 2013 PR stunt her team pulled with the launch of her album entitled Beyoncé. If you don’t, please read about it because it really is what you define as creative and bold. The team launched an album overnight without any promotion whatsoever. That is what we refer to as taking a big risk?
What skill do you think every PR/comms/creative has to nail?
The ability to sometimes challenge the status quo. As a creative, I think it is vital that you develop the skill and confidence to be able to occasionally challenge the way things have been done in the past and change when necessary, this is to open the door for new opportunities and experiences. As ‘creatives’ we should be determined to create experiences which transform challenges into exploration, risk into reward, and fear into determination.
What is your favourite social network and why?
Twitter is definitely my favourite social network. I mean it is informative, very interactive and extremely funny. I find the digestion of content to be better received on twitter and you really do feel like you have your own little Twitter family. I rely on it quite heavily when looking for public opinion on a range of topics. Sometimes, before I watch a TV show or movie, I search its title on twitter to see people’s comments and ratings. So much for google right? I mean I love you google, but Twitter does it better at times.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Lola Mosanya, she works at BBC Studios. She is definitely my favourite journalist because she takes pride in producing content around topics which I always find very relevant to me. I love visual content. Most of her recent stories are done through visual production – interesting to watch and the best way to tell a real story, in my opinion. Her content focuses on stories relating to race, identity and feminist issues for a young adult audience, so it’s nice to be able to engage with content on those topics in such a way.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting”. The idea that the most successful people are not the people who just have strength, but perseverance. Everyone knows sometimes life gets complicated when you plan something and it doesn’t go how you expected. However, always persevere and remember the end game and destination. Having that at the back of my mind has definitely helped me throughout my journey so far.
Best campaign of 2019 so far?
Definitely Nike’s most recent ‘Dream crazier’ film which debuted at the Academy Awards! Not only was the iconic Serena Williams narrating the film, it was a beautiful follow up from the previous controversial ad starring American football player Colin Kaepernick. It was relevant, powerful and a beautiful reminder of the impactful position women have in sports. I loved it because it wasn’t corny or cheesy like most campaigns touching upon controversial topics are.
One of my favourite quotes from the ad was “”If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic” which is very true for most women in all industries. It did not just touch upon these statements, but also left us with a message and goal to follow through as women striving for a bigger dream: ‘Show the world what crazy can do”. It was definitely a thoughtful ad to start the year with, with underlying messages of encouragement, power and motivation to kick us through 2019!
Finally, on the D’ word… What can the sector do to encourage diversity?
1. Get diverse individuals in the interview room, if they aren’t in the hiring process, how do we plan to encourage diversity?
2. Continue to promote existing diverse leaders at certain positions, it is nice to have people to look up to. If there aren’t any, the next step is to question, why not?
Connect with Marian on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Marian is a mentee on the BME PR Pros/PRWeek Mentoring Scheme. She will be mentored by Dev Mistry, Internal Communications Executive, Virgin Media Business.