Sabrina Francis joined the Pensions and Lifetimes Savings Association in October 2018 as the PR and Social Media Officer. She is part of the Media and Government Affairs team and supports the development and co-ordination of the Association’s lobbying activity and is responsible for the social media strategy.
Prior to joining, Sabrina worked at City, University of London. In this role she was strategically responsible for all of their official social media pages and offered training and support to staff and academics that used social media as part of their work. While at City she was shortlisted for Digital Professional of the year at the PRCA Digital Awards.
Sabrina is serving her second term as a local Councilor in Camden representing Bloomsbury and has a particular interest in housing and employment policy. In this role she advocates for Bloomsbury residents and campaigns on issues that affect them.
Sabrina has previously worked as an education worker for a charity that aims to get disadvantaged children into higher education and held digital roles in an agency and on a political campaign. She has a BA (Hons) in Social Policy from the University of Birmingham and in 2017 she was recognised on the New Year’s Honours List for services to the University of London.
Describe your background/yourself in 5 words max?
Native north Londoner, supportive family.
How did you get into PR/comms/creative?
Via social media, and wiggling my way into working more and more with the press/PR team in my previous job. I was always interested in the news and how we could create impact with our stories so officially moving into PR seemed like the logical next step.
What do you love about your job?
I’m nosy and ask a lot of questions, so I like looking at a story from all angles and working out what potential pitfalls there may be and what is likely to be newsworthy. I also like trying to think of ways to make our messages thumb-stopping on social media.
What are you most proud of?
Being one of the first afro-Caribbean women to be a Labour councillor in Camden. When I was elected I didn’t realise that I was paving the way, but now I do my best to be an inspiration, rather than a cautionary tale. I’m hoping all of the political parties will have more candidates and councillors that look like me in the future. Politics, much like PR, will be better with diverse voices and viewpoints in the room.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
You have little control over whether your story will get pick-up. In a crowded media landscape you can really love a story and know that it’s important to your industry but it just might not get the media attention you think it deserves.
Who are your favourite people in PR and why?
Taylor Herring. I feel like all of the slightly crazy PR stories and stunts that break through and get lots of attention come from them. I’d love to be in their brainstorms and pitch meetings.
What skill do you think every PR/comms/creative has to nail?
Creativity. What you have to “sell” might not always be glamourous or fun but you still need to get the message out to the right journos and the public. Creativity is even more important now as we have think in multiple formats such as how will a message work on social media? Is text the best way to convey the information?
What is your favourite social network and why?
Twitter! At its best it’s a place for eloquent conversation on a range of subjects and full of some of the funniest people I know. Sadly, at its worst it’s also a bit of a trolly cesspit. I’m also a big fan of Instagram but only because my feed is just my friends and foody stuff. All the Tummy Tea #SponCon posts from Insta celebs can get a bit tiring.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Amelia Tait. I love tech and pop culture and her pieces always explain the darkest corners of the internet in a fun and interesting way. Want to know what’s kicking off on Reddit or read an interview with the parents of young YouTube stars? Amelia is your woman!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“You’re great – but if you had more confidence you could be amazing” from my friend Gary. He probably won’t remember saying it, but it has weirdly stuck with me for years. Thinking about it gives me the push I need when I’m wavering.
Best campaign of 2019 so far?
Nike: Dream Crazier. I am a sucker for a well-made video with a message. This ad followed on from their work with Colin Kaepernick and highlights successful female athletes reclaiming the word “crazy”. It showed that being crazy about something, in their case a particular sport, led them to achieving great things.
Finally, on the D’ word… What can the sector do to encourage diversity?
Be better at showing the range of roles available. A wider variety of people are likely to apply for jobs if they can see how their skills fit into the industry. It’s not all parties and schmoozing. Having insights from different types of people is really valuable, it helps organisations produce better work.