Nadia is a creative writer with a passion for talking stories and telling stories. After graduating with a BA in English Language and Literature from Cardiff University, she spent a year navigating the world of postgraduate unemployment before joining Cowshed, an integrated communications agency in the heart of Cardiff.
As a Campaign Assistant, she works across a range of private and public sector clients, delivering award-winning campaigns and creating content for the likes of Welsh Government, Social Care Wales and FOR Cardiff.
Alongside PR, she is a part-time blogger and freelance contributor for Book Riot. She is passionate about diversity in the publishing industry, and champions BAME and Muslim authors through her blog. When she’s not working or blogging, she’s also an aspiring author, most likely writing a novel she’ll never finish.
Describe yourself/your background in 5 words max?
Unapologetically British-Muslim. Made in Wales.
How did you get into PR/communications?
By way of luck and determination. I was a confused graduate who explored PR as a potential career option but didn’t have much success with any of the internships I applied and interviewed for. Until I randomly stumbled across a BAME internship on Twitter and thought there was no harm in trying again – at least, this time, I’d already passed the first hurdle. It was six hours before the closing deadline, so I panicked, sent in my application and hoped for the best.
I was completely new to PR at the time, but it didn’t take long to realise that it was what I wanted to do as a career, and I pretty much spent the rest of my internship hoping I would impress everyone enough to stay on permanently. (Spoiler alert: I did!)
What do you love about your job?
I love that I’m always learning about something – whether that’s an interesting statistic, a new organisation or a new way of doing something old. I love that it creatively challenges me as a writer to adopt a different tone of voice for every client. And I was born and raised in Wales, so I have a lot of Welsh pride. I love getting to work on so many Welsh clients, even if I can’t speak Welsh fluently!
What are you most proud of?
Putting myself first. Albeit I’m still working on this one, but as a South-Asian with a degree in English and a career in PR, I’m usually met with confusion, disappointment and judgement whenever I’m asked that dreaded question: “So, what do you do?”
No one really understands what PR is, except that it isn’t a doctor, a lawyer or a teacher. But I’m proud I followed my passions (as opposed to my parents!) and the journey I’ve been on so far – it’s been a huge learning curve and I’m excited to see what comes next.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
That as a young, brown and visibly Muslim woman, the odds are stacked against me. Not that it’s stopped me from pursuing anything, but on most days it’s disheartening.
Who are your favourite people in PR/comms and why?
I don’t feel like I’ve been in this industry long enough to have favourites so this might be a cliché answer. But I’m really grateful to be part of this mentoring scheme so early on in my career because I’ve been able to connect with some incredible people that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise – my fellow mentees, my mentor Kat, and Elizabeth!
As for brands, I really love innocent for their quick thinking and creativity on social media, and also Ikea (but who doesn’t love Ikea?)
What skill do you think every PR/comms person has to nail?
Listening leads to greater understanding and empathy, which is pretty important when you’re communicating to so many different audiences. As an introvert, I don’t usually speak unless I have something valuable to say but I’m always listening.
What is your favourite social network and why?
I have a love-hate relationship with Twitter: it can often be a toxic environment, but it’s also the only platform where I feel comfortable enough to fully be myself. There’s something really reassuring about being able to go on a rant and actually gaining followers instead of losing them.
What’s your favourite podcast and why?
I don’t listen to podcasts, but I deeply envy anyone who can record a podcast and not cringe at the sound of their own voice.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Someone I’ve been following for a while is Mariam Khan, a freelance writer and activist who recently edited It’s Not About The Burqa, a non-fiction anthology of essays from Muslim women discussing a range of topics including faith, feminism, sexuality and race.
Many of the contributors in the anthology are also journalists, such as Nafisa Bakkar who wrote a really thought-provoking piece on the token representation of Muslims in various industries.
Nafisa is also the CEO and cofounder of Amaliah, a media platform that amplifies the voices of Muslim women, so I’ve admired her work for a while. But I honestly just love any platform that amplifies underrepresented voices in the industry.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
It’s a Sylvia Plath quote that my creative writing tutor at university drilled into us, and it’s something I always come back to because creativity is the core of everything I do, whether that’s campaign planning, writing, bullet journaling or decorating my island on Animal Crossing.
How would you describe 2020 in one word?
Bittersweet. Like dark chocolate.
Who is your coronavirus comms hero and why?
There have been so many great community-led initiatives that it would be difficult to choose just one, but when it comes to world leaders, I’ve really admired Jacinda Ardern ever since her response to the Christchurch mosque shootings and her handling of the pandemic is no different. I also don’t know anyone who can do a live interview during an earthquake and still remain calm and collected.
Finally… Which brand impressed you with their response to Black Lives Matter and why?
Not all streets are like Sesame Street. I think anyone still struggling to understand racism and Black Lives Matter should listen to Elmo’s dad.
As for brands, I can’t say any one brand truly impressed me. One of my favourite quotes of all time is ‘Solidarity is nothing but self-satisfying if it is solely performative’ from Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, so I’m interested in seeing how many of these brands making statements will now walk the walk as well as talking the talk.