Naomi is a PR and communications professional. She graduated with a first-class degree in Business Management from Coventry University, receiving the Course Tutors Prize for her overall academic achievement.
Naomi started her graduate career at Goldman Sachs, as an analyst and HR Business Partner to two divisions within EMEA. In 2017 Naomi pursued a career in PR and communications and has experience in a number of sectors including automotive, financial services, third sector, and local government.
In December, Naomi moved agency side for the first time in her career, as an Account Executive specialising in regeneration communications and community engagement at Westco Communications.
Naomi is a member of the CIPR and is actively involved with the institute. She is a member of the Local Public Services Committee, Vice Chair of the Knowledge Panel and became an Accredited PR Practitioner in less than eight months.
Naomi is a Soji (student) on the Not an MBA (NAMBA) programme by Jolt, and has recently launched her new blog – CommsLabHQ, which aims to inspire the next generation of Black, BAME and underrepresented PR practitioners.
Describe yourself/your background in 5 words max?
Londoner. Career changer. Always learning.
How did you get into PR/communications?
During my degree, I undertook an industrial placement with Groupe PSA in Employee Relations and Communications. The experience provided me with exposure to HR and internal communications. Straight after I completed the industrial placement, I did a summer internship at Goldman Sachs in their Human Capital Management division. Following my performance on the summer internship, I received a return offer to go back to Goldman after graduating and I took it.
I had a brilliant time at the firm, but I knew that HR was not the right career for me, I just lost my passion for it from an execution perspective. I decided that I wanted to change my career path from HR to PR and communications and I took the steps to make this happen (which was a bit scary at the time).
I completed a graduate internship covering communications, policy and research. From here I have spent the last three years working in different areas of PR and communications to understand what I’m interested in. The roles that I have held since that internship include Communications Coordinator, Communications Manager and Digital Communications Lead.
Last December I moved agency side for the first time in my career, as an Account Executive specialising in regeneration communications and community engagement. I am enjoying my time in this area, I am growing, and I am proud and grateful of the journey that I have taken to get here.
What do you love about your job?
I love that I’m making a difference to the communities that I work with and that I get to see the progress in real time. I love the diversity of the team that I’m in and the fact that everyone is kind and willing to help – especially with me being a newbie to regeneration. I also love the realness of the work that I do, earlier this year I was out door-knocking in the community, speaking to residents and local businesses as part of a consultation and it was eye opening and very humbling.
It’s one thing sitting in the office and writing communications, but it’s another thing being out in the community, meeting the individuals, and hearing their unique life experiences. I’ve learned a lot and I’m looking forward to learning more.
What are you most proud of?
I’m super proud of the growth that I have experienced and made in the last 12 months. This time last year, I was feeling rather ‘meh’ about everything. Instead of getting stuck into the usual cycle, I challenged myself to concentrate on personal growth as my priority.
This has included improving my mental health through practicing gratitude more, focusing on the things in my control, pushing myself out of my immediate comfort zone – both personally and professionally, attending Jolt, cycling instead of taking public transport (most times) and more. A shoutout to my friends and family – they have been a major part of this.
I can feel and see the progress that I have made and I’m looking forward to continuing this journey. Remember, health is wealth.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
Perfectionism. I’ve been working hard to move away from the idea of perfection over the last year+. I have found that iterative improvements are far more rewarding and sustainable, versus trying to do something 100% perfect the first time round.
By all means attention to detail is the way forward especially in PR, but remember it’s a journey and that you will learn new things and new ways to execute by moving away from perfectionism.
TL; DR: Don’t get hung up on perfection.
Who are your favourite people in PR/comms and why?
I don’t have a favourite but a group that comes to mind is #CommsHero by Asif Choudry. I’ve been a part of team #CommsHero since last year. I had a brilliant time at their conference and the community are very kind and friendly. I know Asif works incredibly hard behind the scenes and I like being a part of this community because of the positive vibes and encouragement.
What skill do you think every PR/comms person has to nail?
I could go with something bog standard like copywriting, but I’m going to say data analytics.
What is your favourite social network and why?
Twitter – Provides a good temperature check for what people are saying/feeling about a variety of topics. The downside is fake news, but that’s not exclusive to Twitter.
What’s your favourite podcast and why?
It’s got to be The Journal by Gimlet and the Wall Street Journal. Coming from a business degree background, I love staying up to date with what’s happening in the business world and globally. The Journal podcast gives you an in-depth analysis of big stories. Episodes have focused on the Wirecard situation, Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan, tech legislation in India, the Saudi Aramco IPO and more breaking stories.
Listening to The Journal is one of the many things that I do to keep my commercial awareness in check.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Nadine White from HuffPost UK. She produces excellent journalism focused on race and social affairs, especially things that are important to young people. Plus, during the Number 10 Coronavirus daily broadcast, she was selected to ask a question. Nadine used her platform to ask about lockdown fines in relation to the BAME community. When I saw Nadine appear on the broadcast, I started cheering in my room as if I knew her – haha. It made me feel proud to see her amongst the other journalists asking a crucial question to Matt Hancock. Nadine is one to watch!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
The best learning experiences come from failure, we must learn to accept failure as a standard part of life.
Life is not a straight line from A to B, you can only plan ahead so much. Manage your expectations and remember to enjoy the journey, including the ups and downs.
How would you describe 2020 in one word?
Who is your coronavirus comms hero and why?
Marcus Rashford. He used his influence, status and platform to successfully campaign and lobby for free school meals to continue throughout summer, so that children and parents do not have to go without eating or worry about being without food.
Alongside this Marcus raised £20m in partnership with FareShare UK during lockdown, which equates to roughly 3 million meals for vulnerable people.
Marcus is a trailblazer and we need more people like him in this world.
Finally… Which brand impressed you with their response to Black Lives Matter and why?
No particular brand comes to mind. I found the use of white text on a black square to be rather unimaginative – which a lot of brands did. Kudos to any brand that made a monetary donation/pledged support towards initiatives that will support young Black people – after all, they are the future.