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Career Summary:

I’ve worked in and around Westminster for 9 years: as policy researcher at the Department for Work and Pensions, head of skills policy for think tank Policy Connect, and in public affairs for social enterprise Horsesmouth. I joined Save the Children as parliamentary adviser in 2009.

Academic/Professional Qualifications:

Degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, Oxford University

How did you get into public affairs?

I‘ve worked in policy and political roles since graduating. The government internship I did whilst at university was helpful in getting my first job at the DWP. I got into Policy Connect by responding to an online advert, and was then headhunted for Horsesmouth. I applied for the Save the Children role after seeing it advertised.

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

Meeting politicians and special advisers to discuss development and foreign policy issues, briefing MPs ahead of debates, advising colleagues on strategic approach to campaigns.

What are the differences between working in policy/public affairs for a think-tank versus a charity?

Working at Save the Children is incredibly fast-paced – there is a lot of reactive work, firefighting and capitalising on opportunities which have just arisen. In my experience of working at a think tank you can largely set your own agenda and stick to it, and it’s less demanding in terms of hours and pressure.

Is public affairs growing or decreasing in importance within your organisation?

Public affairs is definitely growing in importance within Save the Children – our team has expanded over the past couple of years. Our CEO and Advocacy Director understand the importance of having a high performing public affairs team.

How do you work with other comms departments to ensure ‘integrated communications’? Or is the term overated?

We work closely with the comms and media teams – all our work is run through project groups which have representation from public affairs, media, comms and campaigns.

Which campaign/issue are you most proud to have worked on?

It was great to work on the Enough Food IF campaign this year, with over 200 organisations in the development sector. I chaired the parliamentary group for the campaign, which was fun – if hard work at times! It was great to see the government become the first G8 country to meet the UN target to spend 0.7% of national income on aid during the IF campaign.

What do you enjoy about working in public affairs?

I like constantly being in and out of parliament, not being stuck behind a desk. I’m a politics geek so like following all the political gossip and trends.

What are the challenges for the charity sector of the public affairs industry over the next five years?

The lobbying bill could have a detrimental impact on charities’ ability to campaign ahead of the general election.

What's your prediction for Scotland's Independence Referendum?

Comfortable No result.

Quick-Fire Round  
Favourite restaurant for a business lunch I work for Save the Children so no entertainment budget here! If someone else is paying then the Adjournment.
LinkedIN or Twitter? Twitter
Tweet your career-to-date in 140 characters or less Research for DWP, skills policy for think tank, public affairs for web start-up, government relations at Save the Children.
What’s your Media diet? Today programme, Paul Waugh’s memo, Benedict Brogan’s briefing, Guardian politics blog, ConservativeHome, Marr Show
Favourite Film Some Like It Hot
Guilty pleasure Grazia


Read Flora Alexander's advice for students and recent graduates in the GraduateForward Advice Centre where she answers questions including: How relevant is Degree subject for a public affairs career? If you could timetravel back to your final year at University, what career advice would you give yourself? What skills and characteristics are most important in your job?

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