Well, here I am – the newest member of FieldHouse Associates (for now at least; we’re hiring, FYI).
If you asked me a few years, months or even weeks ago whether I foresaw this, the answer would have been no. Not at all.
The reason for that is simply because I’ve worked on the other side of the fence in journalism for the past ten years.
That said, I’ve been aware of FieldHouse since its inception over seven years ago.
It was in my role as editor of Mobile Entertainment (ME) when I first met Neil Robertson, FieldHouse’s first employee. In fact, I remember – vaguely, it’s all a bit fuzzy – one or two legendary nights out at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona with him and Cordelia back in the day.
Neil, otherwise known as Cordelia’s “nut”, is now a company Director. This in itself shows there’s a reason for his longevity, so clearly something must be going right.
From ME, I moved over to Real Business (RB), broadening my knowledge of the mobile tech market to focus on fast-growth startups and digital disruptors. Of course, with that entrepreneurial landscape being such a key focus for FieldHouse, the opportunities for us to work together continued.
In fact, I got up close and personal with both Cordelia and Neil as part of the Black Cab Entrepreneurs series at RB when FieldHouse hit its fifth birthday, during which I was able to find out in detail just what drove her to launch a PR agency. And as a journalist, what Cordelia told me about the outlook on her industry made perfect sense:
“Having been in so many different agencies and seen how PR people behave, they don’t understand a story, they don’t understand what a journalist is looking for, and they don’t understand it’s about relationships,” she said at the time. “Largely, they stick a press release to all and sundry and think that’s doing a good job for a client.”
Given that understanding and ethos when starting up FieldHouse, I’ve found the agency has been able to sidestep such bad habits. When there are easily over 100 emails hitting a journalist’s inbox each day, you need to stand out. And circling back to Cordelia’s point about relationships, receiving an email – or even a WhatsApp if you’re that tight; what up, Neil? – from someone you know is going to help achieve that.
My next move from RB was to join Elite Business (EB). It was a good opportunity because not only would I cover startups and entrepreneurs through EB, I was also in charge of Elite Franchise. Additionally, it was much closer to home and I was able to drive to work, which meant no longer travelling on up to five trains each way to the RB office in deepest, darkest Chelsea: Imperial Wharf. It seemed like a dream.
Recently though, I reassessed my working situation. Did I want to stay in my post? Increasingly, it seemed like I was doing far less writing and networking and more administration in the role, which isn’t what I signed up for. The time to meet with the entrepreneurs I was telling stories about just wasn’t there – and so my search for something new began.
I was open-minded about what I wanted my next step to be and looked at everything from journalism to marketing and in-between. And as soon as Neil heard where my head was, I quickly found myself in the Waterloo office of FieldHouse for a chat.
The chat rapidly turned into a job offer, which I accepted. So here I am. Back in London after an 18-month absence working in an unfamiliar, yet familiar, field.
If it was just any other traditional PR agency I was invited to join, I wouldn’t have been interested. But as I said, FieldHouse isn’t about doing PR traditionally – and that’s what appealed.
With a view of leaning very much on my previous experience, I’ve taken on the newly-created role of Content Manager and I’m really excited to be getting stuck in. It means I’ll be making up for lost time and working closer than ever with entrepreneurs.
Like many of the clients FieldHouse serves, the company and team are incredibly ambitious and keen to achieve further scale. So, to be part of this growth journey itself – after writing about such developing businesses for so long as a journalist – is incredibly enticing, even if it is through a different looking glass.
On that note, as the transition takes place, the career switcheroo reminds me of a quote from a wise philosopher (and Neil’s pitch), which it seems rather fitting to conclude with.