Emily has been one of our subject experts for the last three years and joins us this month as a partner. We asked her to tell us the story of her career.
“Like most people starting in PR just after the millennium I sort of fell into it. My dad reckoned I’d be good at it after speaking to the PR Officer at the local authority he worked in. In the 18 years since he made the recommendation, it has been consistently apparent that he has no idea what the job entails. At one point, though, he was very dedicated to cutting out one of my client’s weekly adverts in the Daily Telegraph and posting them to me.
With all the logical forethought that falling into a career hints at, I used my history degree to great effect by landing in a technology PR agency (Axicom) and never looked back.
I have been lucky enough to work in some excellent agencies during hugely interesting periods of their development. I was with Hotwire as it grew from 17 people to a post-acquisition global entity. That gave me the opportunity to move to Sydney as a director, where I worked for a year and a half in the sunshine. I came back and joined Octopus, staying there as a director through the fascinating and exciting transition from a PR specialism to becoming the ‘brand to sales agency’. That’s where I earned my content marketing stripes.
After Octopus, I started to work as a consultant, focusing on smaller tech start-up clients, as well as being parachuted into accounts in a couple of smaller agencies. One used me for all their messaging work as it’s one of my favourite things. The other dubbed me their ‘PR Doctor’ and had me consult on problematic accounts, coach team members and generally lend an outside/in viewpoint.
Most recently, I had a foray into the world of larger group agencies, spending ten months at FleishmanHillard Fishburn.
Over the years I’ve encountered a smorgasbord of client personalities and requests, team dynamics and project briefs. Clients have ranged from huge brands (Philips, O2, Cisco, SAP, BlackBerry), to startups… where name dropping doesn’t serve the same purpose….
My love of training started while still an account manager. I started a lunchtime learning event called Bytesize – short sessions, over lunch AND about technology (I never tire of the triple pun). Ever since I’ve really seen my role with agencies and clients as having a fundamental basis in the encouragement and facilitation of learning.
Probably the best enlightenment I’ve had around knowledge and skills acquisition has come with the noisy life-invasion of my son. Watching how he approaches new ideas and skills has really helped clarify how similarly adult brains work and has given me lots of useful ideas that I now use in my working life.”