For someone who writes about other people’s stories for a living, I am at a loss on where to start with my own.
I’ve been living in London for three and a half years now, which has flown by. It’s safe to say, though, that my northern accent has still stuck to me like glue these past few years, even while living in the big city. It feels like only days ago that I was studying a Masters in Public Relations in my home city of Sheffield, and preparing to move to London.
I started my PR journey as part of the Taylor Bennett Foundation, a 10-week intensive training course created to help BAME individuals kick-start their careers in the field. This course taught me more about the practicalities of PR than I had learnt from my Masters books. I visited different agencies, and quickly realised there were different types of PR: from corporate comms and B2B, to pubic affairs, to consumer.
It was through this course that I realised that PR went beyond the glamour and schmoozing portrayed in shows such as Absolutely Fabulous and Sex and the City. Public relations goes beyond fashion and celebrities; it can be used to raise the profile of anything from a man and his dog to a big conglomerate worth billions!
For the past three and a half years, I have worked in agency, and my background is primarily in financial and technology b2b communications. I have worked with startups and billion-dollar listed companies, writing about artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, analytics, digital transformation, regtech, the list goes on…
Nothing beats the rush of crafting a story from scratch, pitching it in to a journalist, and getting a media opportunity for your client. Compared to marketing and advertising, it isn’t the money talking, it’s you – how well you know the client, the industry, and the media landscape.
I can safely say that there is never a dull moment when it comes to agency life. The environment has always appealed to me. I love the idea of coming into work, putting a different cap on (or hijab in my case) to tell the story of my client and really develop a relationship with them.
I am joining FieldHouse at a special time of the year for me – Ramadan, a holy month in the Islamic calendar.
What drew me to FieldHouse was the high-impact work – highlighting to clients the value FieldHouse creates for its clients and how it ties back to their commercial objectives and growth plans. I have never been attracted to the big agencies, as I feel it can become easy to get swallowed up. Having looked at Glassdoor reviews, and from talking to Tom and Ellie in my first interview, it quickly became evident that this was where I needed to be. At FieldHouse, I would be supported and nurtured to take the next steps in my career.
Being put in front of the MD of a company has the potential to be daunting, but with Cordelia it was exactly the opposite – I was made to feel at ease and it felt more like a friendly chat than a formal interview. For someone who spends most of her time trying to make her family and friends understand what I do for a living (I’m kind of the Chandler Bing of the group – nobody knows what I do), a memorable part of the interview was when Cordelia asked me “what’s the difference between PR and Marketing?” and I responded with the three magic words she wanted to hear: “third-party endorsement”.
FieldHouse was the only company I interviewed with. After my initial meeting with Tom and Ellie, I had a really great feeling, which pretty much cemented for me that FieldHouse was the kind of place I could see myself at – a place where I could thrive and grow.