Mary is a senior account executive at Bluestripe Media, a strategic communications agency for the media, advertising and tech industries. Most recently Mary also founded her own marketing consultancy that specialises in tech for good and health tech companies. She has already helped two health tech startups to launch in the UK during the pandemic and is very passionate about her work as a PR consultant.
Before Mary began her professional career in public relations, she took five gap years to go travelling and to get a sense of what she wanted to do with her life. During those years she worked and travelled in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. When Mary returned from her travels she was keen to go to university to get a degree. That’s when she found herself in London studying PR. Fast forward to today, she has worked in the industry for over four years. It hasn’t always been easy but she loves working within the communications industry and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Describe yourself/your background in 5 words max?
East Londoner, Iranian, Finnish, sassy and passionate.
How did you get into PR/communications?
After high school, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life, so I took my time and went travelling for almost five years. Taking some time off (okay quite a lot of time actually) really helped me to find what I was passionate about which is communications and creativity and for me that summarises PR.
What do you love about your job?
I love helping clients to find new creative ways to communicate their message to a wider audience. I love working in the technology sector because it’s always evolving and innovating. For example, one of the health tech startups I helped to launch in the UK helps people with communication disabilities to create a digital voice from their iPhone, how crazy amazing is that? Our job is to make a difference through communications, and I find it really challenging and fascinating at the same time.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud of starting my own business during lockdown. It’s always hard but it was terrifying during lockdown when the whole world was literally shutting down.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
London is a hard city and it will really test you and sometimes even break you, but it can also be very rewarding and incredible. Also, people won’t always have your back, especially in big cities I guess because you meet so many people on a regular basis, but those who do are rare, and you should do everything you can to keep them in your life.
Who are your favourite people in PR/comms and why?
I really admire my mentor Pema Seely because of her raw honesty and the amazing advice she gives. I also admire Charlie Sanchez, an independent marketing consultant who helped me to set up my own side hustle. He is literally one of the most talented communications professionals I’ve ever come across in my career.
What skill do you think every PR/comms person has to nail?
The ability to strategise while being creative. Our clients pay us to come up with new strategic ideas, break the boundaries and get them good coverage. It sounds very simple but too many PR agencies get it wrong.
What is your favourite social network and why?
Instagram Stories definitely. I’m a very visual person and I love to watch (stalk) my favourite lifestyle vloggers and bloggers.
What’s your favourite podcast and why?
I listen to a lot of podcasts. Some of my favourites include Kayla’s coffee talk, The diary of a CEO and Almost thirty. I feel like podcasts are valuable content that you can consume while cleaning or laying in bed and after each episode, you feel very productive because you’ve just learned something new. They are short enough to keep you interested but long enough to actually teach you something valuable.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
I really admire Madisyn Taylor, the founder of DailyOM, an online magazine which features daily articles around holistic living and aims to support people who want to live a conscious lifestyle. I also really admire the founders of Positive News, a magazine which focuses on creating an inspiring news medium.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Someone I met in Cambodia once said to me “Whenever you’re unsure whether to take on a new adventure or if you have any doubts about a decision you want to say yes to, just think to yourself, never try, never know.” I really like it.
How would you describe 2020 in one word?
Who is your coronavirus comms hero and why?
Honestly, it would have to be my flatmate. We made a conscious decision to not leave our flat during lockdown which meant, we had to see each other almost 24 hours a day, 7 times a week. Somehow it made us better best friends and it was really nice to experience the madness with someone and become so close.
Finally… Which brand impressed you with their response to Black Lives Matter and why?
I think powerful brands such as Nike and Adidas have done a great job supporting Black Lives Matter but I’m more impressed to see how friends and family still share content and collectively try to change the status quote. To me that’s more impressing.