What sparked your interest in public affairs? What do you enjoy most about working in public affairs?
I am a political geek and I was drawn to the fact that it would be my job to read the news, monitor the political landscape to help clients make their case to politicians and influencers. What I enjoy most is that there is a large element of team work and I have wonderful colleagues at Interel.
What does your current role entail on a day-to-day basis?
It’s cliché but no two days are the same. Most broadly, it involves providing advice to clients and helping deliver public affairs strategies. This can include organising events, building external relationships, or providing intelligence and advice on political developments. New business is also a significant part of my role and I am often drafting proposals and speaking to companies about how we can support them.
How do you divide your time between client delivery and business development?
In a busy week, business development can often become the last thing you get around to. To keep things ticking along, I set myself one achievable goal each week. I also research companies that I would love to work with so “new business” is an exciting prospect.
What is your best networking tip on how to build and maintain good relationships in the industry?
Networking can seem daunting, especially when starting out your career. As with everything, it’s something that gets better with practice.
The most important thing is to be brave and remember that everyone is in the same position as you. Definitely avoid the temptation to just stand and check your phone.
In terms of fostering relationships, make sure to ask for a business card and write on it where you met. I have also found that dropping someone an email to say you enjoyed meeting them and asking to go for a coffee is a great way to build relationships.
You can also gain experience in supportive environments such as Women in Public Affairs networking drinks or APPC events. You’ll gain confidence and feel more at ease in other networking situations.
What makes for a good communicator?
A good listener.
Which campaign/issue are you most proud to have been involved in?
I recently worked with the Dogs Trust to distribute their investigatory report on Puppy Smuggling and put out a call for action on the issue. It was great working with the amazing team at @DT_Pawlitical on a creative campaign, which delivered results and received great feedback from parliamentarians.
We came up with the idea of a “top secret” briefing pack. This included the report, a secret agent style mission briefing, which was put in a wax sealed envelope with a paw print seal. This was sent along with a floating puppy pen and a dog shaped USB, which contained a template letter to the relevant Minister. On receiving the packs, parliamentarians sent out some fab tweets such as this from Andrew Gwynne MP and this from David Stewart MSP. MPs accepted their mission by writing to the minister and tabling PQs. The Dogs Trust team then built on this to secure meetings and a Westminster Hall debate.
This campaign was a good reminder that creativity stands out in a sea of generic briefing documents and you can deliver great results even on a small budget.
You are a member of both the APPC’s Young Consultants Committee and the Women in Public Affairs Executive Committee: what challenges do women face within the public affairs industry? Is the industry rising to meet these challenges? And if not, what more should be done by the representative trade associations to address change?
There has been significant progress in the industry but there are still not enough women in the most senior positions. I think the industry is rising to the challenge by adopting more flexible working options, however more can be done and that is something industry bodies can help with.
I think a challenge that remains for some women is the self-doubt which can hold them back from, for example, asking for a pay rise or promotion. Women in Public Affairs, set up by Ella Fallows and Laura Gilmore, is a fantastic initiative that seeks to help with this. There are some successful and inspirational women who we can learn from and that’s what Women in PA is all about.
Will a post-Brexit trade agreement with the EU be signed by March 2019?
What’s been the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Make sure you’re regularly doing things outside your comfort zone.
|Which politician, past or present, would you like to be stuck in a lift with? What issues would you raise?||Barbara Castle: her life and political achievements – the Equal Pay Act, child benefit reforms, tackling drink-driving|
|LinkedIn or Twitter?||Both|
|Tweet your career-to-date in 140 characters or less||Intern @Essex_CC & @HouseofCommons. Grad @Champollion and now Senior Consultant @InterelUK|
|What’s your Media diet?||Gluttonous - Broadsheets, Times Red Box, Politico, New Statesman, various podcasts, Today Programme and much more|
|Favourite Film||A Single Man directed by Tom Ford. Disclaimer - it's heartbreaking, have the tissues handy|
|Favourite Book||Nineteen Eighty-Four|
|Guilty pleasure||Shania Twain c.1997|
|Favourite restaurant for a business lunch?||Depends on the business but Astor in Victoria is a current favourite|