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Career Summary:

I started as a civil servant in Edinburgh before moving to a small consultancy in London with clients in Brussels. I moved to Edinburgh as a consultant before running communications in Scotland and Northern Ireland for a UK-wide NDPB. I am now a Director at a small but growing company in Edinburgh.

Academic/Professional Qualifications:

BA (Hons) Politics, University of Stirling

How did you get into Public Affairs?

I wrote to every consultancy I could find on the, then very new, site with a copy of my CV. I then kept chasing until one of them, fortunately, gave me a job as an Account Executive.

What does your current role entail on a day to day basis?

It’s a total cliché but no two days are the same. One day it is what appears dry data entry to a spreadsheet, then it’s a public exhibition on a new development, a more strategic discussion with a Scottish Government Minister or planning the company’s business growth strategy and securing new business. Always interesting is the only common theme!

What do you enjoy about working in public affairs?

The constant changing aspect of the job. Policy is always developing, the politics of an issue keep changing and the wider context in which you are working keeps evolving. Understanding and explaining that to clients can be very rewarding. I would also say the variety is another key factor – it’s not usually very glamorous work but it is very interesting.

What skills and characteristics are most important in your job?

Adaptability, explaining complex issues quickly and understanding other people’s perspectives and motivations.

How relevant is Degree subject for a public affairs career?

The detail of it perhaps not that much if I am totally honest but, being a political geek, it opened my eyes to issues I hadn’t thought of.

If you could timetravel back to your final year at University, what career advice would you give yourself?

Perhaps actually spend more time on that dissertation!

What advice would you offer to graduates seeking to break into the Scottish public affairs industry?

Just keep being persistent – any knowledge or experience is valued by employers. If there aren’t jobs going at a firm, ask to meet for a coffee and a chat, you might learn something or at least you can make that person remember you.

Read Graeme Downie's Public Affairs Profile where he answers questions including: What are the main differences between working for a charity versus consultancy? What are the challenges for the Scottish public affairs industry over the next five years? What's your prediction for the Scottish Independence Referendum result?

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