Natasha studied journalism at university, walking away with a BA Hons and three NCTJs. After realising the life of a journalist wasn’t for her, she started her PR career at a small consumer healthcare agency where she learnt the basics of PR. Six months later, she joined the team at Chamberlain Healthcare PR, where she spent five years working on global pharmaceutical brands such as Amgen, AbbVie and UCB. She worked on several projects including a European filming project, large scale media events with European and global journalists and an award-winning internal communications programme. She is now an Account Manager at Ogilvy Health UK.
Describe yourself/your background in 5 words max?
British Punjabi, London via Wolverhampton
How did you get into PR/communications?
My love of writing and wanting to meet/speak to new people led me to my career in PR, after deciding I wasn’t cut out for life as a journalist.
What do you love about your job?
Being able to work on a variety of different projects. It sounds like a cliché but no one day is ever the same. One day, you can be writing a press release and developing pitch points and then writing copy for social media or interviewing patients on another.
What are you most proud of?
Getting out of my comfort zone and making a positive change for my career. At the time, I was comfortable in my job and knew the clients and the agency inside out. After being told that I wouldn’t be promoted and realising that I was unhappy for a while, I decided to stop thinking about the ‘what ifs’ and make a change for the better. Spoiler alert – it was the best decision!
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
Not everyone will like you and that’s ok. I’ve worked with senior people who clearly had favourites and bias within the team, and I took that to heart. It took me a while to realise that I can’t change that thinking in some people, so I should just focus on myself instead.
Who are your favourite people in PR/comms and why?
An old colleague of mine, Daniza Mahenthiran. I learnt so much from her – she is very knowledgeable, creative, smart, supportive and an all-round strong PR professional. She also has the best laugh, it brings me so much joy.
What skill do you think every PR/comms person has to nail?
Being organised. Meeting deadlines for account work, sharing information with a journalist, even managing your calendar with conflicting meetings – it all takes strong organisational skills.
What is your favourite social network and why?
Recently, I’ve started to get back into Twitter. It’s a great way of catching up with national, global and local news, and it’s an easy way to waste some time. Naturally, there are some ‘interesting’ people on there, but they are on every platform. I must admit, I’m very much a lurker on there though, I can’t remember the last time I actually tweeted something.
What’s your favourite podcast and why?
I feel like I’m in the small minority of people (we do exist) who don’t listen to podcasts. I have asked for recommendations and always promise myself I’ll listen to one, but then it never happens. If anyone has any must-listens though, let me know.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
I’d say Sathnam Sanghera. I like his writing style and the fact that he includes personal anecdotes within his writing. He is also active on Twitter where he has a nice mix of being funny but also discusses real issues too.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
You don’t always have to say yes. It’s natural to want to please or help people and it’s so easy to get into a mindset of saying yes. But doing this doesn’t help anybody, especially not yourself. Practise saying no for those times when you don’t have the time or brainpower. People will understand (and will appreciate the honesty).
How would you describe 2020 in one word?
Who is your coronavirus comms hero and why?
Maria Spollin. She is the head nurse at a nursing home in Nottingham, and thanks to her great work, she managed to save the lives of so many residents. When care homes were getting a bad rap (and still are) she was able to call on her experience, make a difference and ultimately save lives.
Finally… Which brand impressed you with their response to Black Lives Matter and why?
Ben and Jerry’s, the ice cream company. They developed such a strong statement in support of BLM, and I love that they weren’t afraid of using terms such as repression, marginalisation, prejudice and racism. I felt like a lot of brands jumped on the bandwagon, whereas Ben and Jerry’s thought through their statement and set out a call for action. This isn’t the first time they’ve spoken out too, which I love to see.