My alarm goes off…
At 7am unless I have an early start. Before the manic whirlwind morning routine begins and getting the children ready for school, I check my phone for emails and reply to any urgent ones. I also have a quick look at my various social media newsfeeds too, not only keep up to date with my friends, family and associates, but also to see what news stories are on the agenda or topics are dominating people’s conversations.
Working in PR it’s essential to stay up to date with the rapidly moving news agenda and be aware of the top news stories each day to identify if there are any angles to pitch clients in for. Social media now breaks more news stories than any other medium so it’s a necessary tool to keep an eye on what’s happening as the day progresses.
We leave the house about 8.45am. Living next door to school means that (until September) we have a short school run and commute! I’m usually at my desk by 9am.
I’m responsible for…
Creating and developing PR and communications strategies for businesses which help to influence or manage the perceptions people have of an organisation. I lead the team on client projects, ensuring we are delivering ROI and helping to raise a brand’s profile through whichever communications channel necessary, be it media relations, social media, internal communications or online content.
My role also includes steering the agency’s growth – understanding the situations the business faces and identifying the opportunities (or risks) that those situations present.
I got the job…
Because I created it for myself. After gaining experience in the agency world, I decided to go it alone at the age of 27. I started Faith PR in October 2007 from our downstairs study with one client.
For the first five years I chose to remain as a one-man PR consultant while I had my children (Zachary in 2009 and then Mia in 2011). Within that time I employed my first PR assistant and moved from the downstairs study to our converted garage office, which housed a team of four. Then, when Mia was two, we outgrew the garage and I moved Faith PR to an office in Birstall following my most significant account win to date – representing Swedish Global beauty brand Oriflame in the UK.
We outgrew that space within 14 months and the commute was eating into too much of my day so I moved the business back to Brighouse to our current office in December 2014 – my commute is now just two minutes! After five months, we knocked through to the adjoining office, doubling the physical footprint of the agency to accommodate the growing team.
My typical day…
Usually involves several meetings. This can be a client meeting, an internal strategy meeting with the team or meeting a supplier. I like getting out and about but equally, it can be beneficial to meet people in Big Shots as it means I can fit more into the working day!
My day is usually divided up between working on a new business proposal or client strategy, overseeing and checking the content the team produces, some new business activity and reviewing the finances or systems and procedures in place to see if I can help the agency run even more efficiently. With a team of six, there’s often a HR, training or people-related issue that needs my attention too.
Alongside running Faith PR, I’m also the editor for the Kirklees and Calderdale issue of
TopicUK, a local business community magazine. This means I usually spend about an hour a day overseeing the editorial contributions, as well as looking at our advertisers and distributors for the magazine. As the magazine is effectively run as a social enterprise, we rely on advertising support to cover the print and distribution costs for the magazine.
And when I’m not looking at Faith PR or TopicUK, I can usually be found managing anything from recruitment to menus to marketing for a café I co-own with four other business partners. Big Shots is located in the mill on the site of our offices and is an added value benefit for the Faith PR team as well as the local business community. It’s been a steep learning curve and requires ongoing input and management.
My most memorable work moment…
It’s hard to choose just one! My list of work related stories and anecdotes is nowhere near as long and as colourful as my husband’s but it’s getting there. Most involve the trials and tribulations of pitches, staff and clients but one occasion that sticks out in particular is the week we got fired by our biggest client on a Monday (through no fault of our own) and won the account back by the Friday. That was a stressful week!
There was also the time we hosted a press launch and blogger event in London and had about 10 minutes to relocate from one venue to another. I’ll never forget the sight of Stephen weaving a trolley full of make up, cupcakes, press packs and other paraphernalia through the streets of Soho on a hot summer’s evening, trying to navigate the tourists, pavements and other obstacles!
The worst part of my job…
Being responsible for people’s salaries and doing the forecast. Numbers and spreadsheets are not something I particularly enjoy spending time on but I’ve learnt that if you don’t know numbers, you can’t manage your business properly or increase your sales and profits. My husband Carl’s (and also Faith’s Commercial Director ) experience in running a £20m integrated agency has been invaluable in teaching me this and we now have systems and procedures in place that will support our growth and allow me to keep an overview of both the company’s and staff performance. Even though we’re still a small agency, we think and act like a much bigger one.
The best part of my job
It’s never dull! I have worked with some wonderful clients and companies and had the opportunity to travel to a variety of places, taking part in some memorable events and campaign launches. Being my own boss I can also ensure that I can (usually) make the time to be at the various events in the children’s school calendar, even if it means a late night playing catch up.
Twice a week I do the school run to spend a bit of time with the children – in theory. In reality, I end up playing taxi and rushing around taking them from one after school activity to another while trying to stay on top of emails and any pressing queries the team may have (you can guarantee I receive more emails that require immediate attention on the two afternoons I finish at 3pm).
Once home, I’ll sort the children’s dinner out before getting changed and heading out for a run. I started running a year ago and although it can be incredibly hard to fit in regular training (cue early morning or late night runs), I love it and find it helps me better handle all the stresses my life throws at me. Carving out a bit of me time inevitably means logging back onto my laptop later in the evening though to catch up and I’ll often work till about 11pm.
On weekends, unless there is an urgent proposal to work on, I am quite strict about spending quality time with my family and taking a bit of time out from work – although I often log on for an hour on a Sunday evening to catch up/get ready for the week ahead.