James Gauduchon, Senior Marketing Manager, Whitbread
At Whitbread I currently lead the marketing effort of a project to re-brand Beefeater, the restaurant chain once synonymous with dining on steak. It’s an established, nostalgic British brand that we are reinvigorating.
I’ve launched 6 of the 14 trial sites in the UK and been involved in everything from the interior design to the food, menu and service proposition. I drive past the sites and think, I did that! It’s one of the most satisfactory things about the role. The project will roll out across the country until all Beefeaters have been rebranded. It will take 3-5 years.
Before Beefeater I worked in Dubai for seven years. I progressed up the ladder and found myself in a very senior role relatively early in my career, reporting to a CEO with a team of 14 and lots of responsibility. Quick progress is possible in an emerging market. But by moving quickly I’d missed some marketing fundamentals along the way – things like financial scrutiny, for example. So when I moved back I wanted to cover some of that ground.
Almost immediately I was offered a job as marketing director of a small company in the property field. I soon realised I needed more structure in which to learn and develop so it didn’t work out. That’s when I found f1, via the Guardian, and it introduced me to Whitbread and Beefeater. There was a lot of consultation, establishing whether things were right for both parties. I had a great first interview and continued through the process. I’ve been here seven months and I absolutely love it.
I was very attracted to a big company, although the head of marketing told me, don’t be blinded by the fact that it’s a FTSE 50 company – it’s not all glamorous! I wanted a big challenge. I joined the innovation team, to work on the re-brand, but my role has already expanded to include responsibility for aspects of the core brand.
I think a big issue in marketing is the way we listen to customers. There is so much research and insight available now there is no excuse for not listening. We get thousands of customer feedback forms every month providing a critical mass of insight that we can apply in order to get things right first time.
My top tip is: Be patient. Don’t rush. Work through the different elements of your career. Put the foundations in place because it’s not easy to go back and get them later. Make sure you get agency and client side experience so that you have empathy and understanding of both. Then think about what you enjoy and narrow it down when it feels right. Posted on 17 March 2014.
Hannah Elsy, Senior Account Manager, IMG Consulting
I found out about f1 from an old school friend. I had just finished rowing full time as part of the GB squad and had only the smallest amount of office-based work experience. I didn’t know what to expect but f1 was very thorough. They explained how important it is to be able to tell your story, which was hard for me at the time. When I realised I couldn’t continue to row the only thing I was certain of was that I wanted to stay in sport. The GB rowing squad had sponsors like Lucozade and Siemens so I knew that someone had a job to make partnerships with sports teams happen. While I was rowing I decided to do a Masters in marketing with a sports related thesis. I utilised all my contacts, asking friends and fellow athletes what and who they knew. I had hundreds of cups of coffee with people.
f1 gave me lots of suggestions for work experience and internships and then put me forward for a role at IMG. Why was I excited by working at IMG? Well the name speaks for itself. It’s synonymous with sports marketing.
Working behind the scenes in sport makes you realise how much effort goes into small things. I started as a PA and moved into an Account Exec position very quickly to work on London 2012. After the Games I worked across different accounts, went to Dubai with Formula One and golf and started working on a project with GE and British Triathlon. It sounds glamorous but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication.
People love sport and sponsorship really works. Recently I have worked on projects that encourage employees to get fit and healthy, play sport and engage with their company’s wider values. Employee engagement helps companies create ambassadors within as well as outside a company.
When you’ve been at the top of your game and you have to start at the beginning again it’s tough. You might have been a champion rower but now you don’t know how to book a meeting room on your company’s online system. And you have to be realistic about what you can earn. Everyone starts out as a beginner at some point so it’s best to accept it and get on. If you’re doing something you feel passionate about then the high points are very special. The other day I spent a three hour taxi journey talking to the England Rugby Captain, and I helped Greg Rutherford with a few things after he’d just won Olympic Gold in the long jump. Those are the moments that stay with you.
My tip when you start out afresh is to use your friends and contacts and to learn as much as you can about the industry you want to be in. I often get asked for advice via LinkedIn now. It can be flattering. I’ll never forget those hundreds of coffees I had with friends of friends. None of them led directly to a job but they were all useful. If some one asks you for your advice then offer it to them. Even if you don’t have hiring power, it can still be very helpful! Posted 14 March 2014.
Carlo Cancellieri, Analyst, TEAM Marketing AG.
I was contacted by f1 recruitment at the end of March 2013, regarding an opportunity in the sport marketing sector. At the time I was an analyst in the investment banking department of one of the world’s biggest banks.
I met with f1 in London. After that, I undertook an online numerical test and prepared for the interview before actually meeting with T.E.A.M., the dedicated marketing partner for UEFA. f1 supported me throughout the process with industry intelligence, preparatory material, regular updates and logistics information.
Moving sector seemed a logical step. One the one hand I have always been interested in many sports (basketball, cycling, tennis, athletics), not only football, and I have always managed to dedicate part of my free time to follow sport results and news. On the other hand, working in banking allowed me to develop solid technical/analytical and presentation skills, and attention to details that I believe are useful across a wide range of sectors.
The role at TEAM was and is very attractive because it fits my interest in sport, particularly football, as well as the financial/valuation/commercial aspects inherent in a sport marketing agency. Factors such as the young and nice working environment, the competitive salary and benefits and the nice location, Lucerne (Switzerland), made it an extremely compelling case.
In my current position, I work on a variety of projects, including the financial valuation and scenario analysis of UEFA’s sponsorship packages; standardisation and update of the budget structures; intelligence on technology and other developments in the sport industry; preparation of meeting notes, sales policies and commercial concepts documents and support to the sponsorship sales department in searching and delivering high quality presentations.
The most important trends impacting the sport sponsorship and TV marketing business are likely, I think, to be virtual advertising, the entrance of new, unconventional bidders for premium sport rights and the development of own properties and content by global brands.
My tip for someone wanting to change sector, as I did, is: conduct as much intelligence as possible on the sector and its key drivers/dynamics/trends, in order to arrive prepared at the interview. Being clear about your objectives/motivations/reasons for applying to that specific firm and position is equally important, as well as emphasizing (without exaggerating) the skills that you have that make you suitable for that position. As for the numerical test, it is only a matter of practice. Posted 12 March 2014.
Chris Madsen, Partnerships Manager, Chelsea Football Club
Landing in Jakarta for a pre-season tour match with Chelsea FC and seeing thousands of people fanatically chasing the team bus through the city was a highlight of my career so far. It showed the reach of the brand that I work for.
Before joining Chelsea I worked for London Irish Rugby Club. When it was time to move I was recommended to f1 for its considered approach, its interest in what’s best for you and where you might be in ten years’ time. I knew I wanted to stay in sport and within the partnerships area. I said I didn’t want to work for another sports club but I was encouraged to see Chelsea as a leading global brand as much as a football club. The more I researched and talked to people the more I realised what a great move it would be. I went to other interviews with agencies and governing bodies but the attraction of this job at Chelsea was clear – the gravitas of working within the football industry and the opportunity to work for one of the world’s biggest clubs and sports brands. The knock-on effect of this is that I work on a daily basis with other, equally prestigious, global brands and that’s what has been so exciting about my role here. I joined more than three years ago and I love it.
My job has evolved over those three years. I look after partners that include Samsung, Singha Beer and Rotary Watches and I work closely with our Asian office in Singapore on activation within Asian markets and regional deals. Our biggest fan base is in the Asian market so this is where we focus a lot of effort and time. What I most enjoy is working with a range of different brands across various industries and being involved in the creation and implementation of partnership deals to ensure Chelsea becomes a successful partner for them. That’s where the real interest is for me and where I believe the challenges and opportunities for my future are.
My professional aim is to continue to do new and ground breaking things within the industry and this is complemented with Chelsea’s ambition to be not just be the best on the field but to be the best off it as well.
My top tip for working in sport is: Don’t be hung up on the fact you love sport. Everyone does! Gain a good understanding of the business behind sport and its challenges and opportunities. Don’t look at sport only as what happens on the field of play, where the results are out of your control, rather, look at all the things you can control. Open your eyes to other sponsorships outside of sport because this will help you to work out why a brand is willing to invest in you. Learn from other industries. What are brands doing elsewhere and why? Posted 25 February 2014
Abi Oyepitan, ex Olympic athlete, personal trainer, CSR Co-ordinator, Carphone Warehouse
I officially retired from competitive athletics last year. Until then I was a sprinter specialising in 100m and 200m. I got in touch with f1 after being persuaded to attend a careers day by a friend and picking up a card there. After interviewing me f1 offered to introduce me to some companies – it has an Olympian Programme which helps ex-Olympians and other athletes into work placements in order to make the bridge from competitive sport to a career in marcomms. I wanted to work in CSR but to combine this with working as a personal trainer. I love sport and I have to be active. f1 introduced me to Carphone Warehouse and I did work experience in the summer before starting there two days a week from November.
I love my work at Carphone Warehouse – there’s so much to do from projects like ‘tablets 4 schools’ to Carphone Warehouse’s Race to the Stones, working with our charity partner Get Connected, as well as other employee engagement and green initiatives. It’s mentally very stimulating – very different from working at the gym. Going from being a full time athlete to being full time in an office might have been difficult. Combining the two is perfect.
The CSR department at Carphone is just the two of us, me and Kesah Trowell. Our role ranges from helping implement green legislation, employee engagement to fitness initiatives and charity and community programmes. For example we have got 300 people signed up already for the 100km Race of Stones in July. I’m a sprinter so this is going to be a challenge for me too! Getting energised at work is definitely a trend.
Moving from the up and down world of competitive sport to the world of business has been helped by Carphone being such a good environment to work in. I love switching on a different part of the brain. The most transferable skill I brought with me has been the ability not to be daunted by anything. I enjoy being challenged and if I can’t do something I enjoy getting to grips with it. That comes from being an athlete.
My top tip is: don’t think you have to take the traditional route of working in an office nine-to-five. For me it’s all about diversity and being open to all the opportunities. Posted 13 February 2014
David, former Account Director, MHP
I went to see f1 when I was working as an advisor to the Director of Communications at the children’s charity, the NSPCC. I said that I wanted to be qualified to do my boss’s job at some point in the future, but that I knew I was missing key experience – what did I need to do to get it? f1 was focused and helpful. We talked about communications consultancy experience being a gap and they introduced me to a range of great agencies. I knew I would be going into a tough environment but I knew I also wanted a sense of purpose. I chose MHP, a fairly newly formed part of the Engine Group which had a very distinct style, character and flavour, interesting people from different backgrounds, and a clear ethical code. I joined in 2011 as an account director in the corporate reputation team, which was run by Paul Baverstock – a fun and fascinating person to work with. I worked with brilliant clients on some of their most pressing reputational challenges, and I was able to work with some of the most talented and hard-working people I’ve ever met.
Corporate reputation is an interesting field. Increasingly, people within companies recognise that they can’t set their strategy in isolation of the world around them. If you have customers, shops, factories, members, in a community then you are part of that community and you have to be proactive about your reputation within it. Social media and the international reach of many modern brands means that people have very different views about a company’s activities, and aren’t afraid to share them. In my experience, good consultancies help to close the gap between what the public think and what companies think.
I had worked with Amanda Fone before she established f1, the year I started a politics degree at Leeds. I had already decided that I wanted to work in communications and Amanda set me up with holiday work experience at Time Magazine’s press office, the CBI press office and with a small NGO called Tools for Schools. I can’t be more positive about the experience of working with her and f1. I have never felt under pressure from them to accept offers that weren’t right. All the way through my career f1 has been there to answer questions and give me its view on the right move to make. It has sent people to me to learn about my experience so far. It also recruited many of our team at MHP.
My tip for making a good career move is: don’t feel under pressure to take a job because it sounds good that moment. Make sure you are comfortable with your choice, and that you know how it’ll help you to get on in the future. When you go to the job interview remember it’s as much about the organisation selling to you as it is you to them. Remember to ask all the important questions about career opportunities, what kind of work you’ll be doing, who you’ll work with and how quickly you might progress. What’s the employer brand? What’s the culture of the organisation? Don’t be too English! Posted 10 February 2014
Alex Howells, Senior Partnerships Manager, Sport England
I’d always felt working in sport was for the fortunate few but managed to landed a role at The Football Association after graduating. It was an unforgettable four years that gave me a ‘jack of all trades’ experience but I knew I needed to specialise. f1 really helped me to understand what it was I was looking for not just in my next role but over the long-term. That kind of candidate induction is a really positive experience and out of it came an opportunity to move to (then) FA Cup sponsors, E.ON. It was my first real step into sports marketing and activating such a high profile partnership was a fantastic introduction to sponsorship. When E.ON withdrew from sponsorship three years later I spoke to f1 again, and eventually made the move towards grassroots sport with Sport England.
At Sport England we’re responsible for getting more people in England playing sport. Sponsorship can play a big role in opening up sport to new audiences as well as driving revenue and so my time is split between managing our commercial partners and helping sports governing bodies in England to develop their own commercial activities.
I think the trend bearing down on all of us and especially sports right holders at the moment is the power of data. Many in sport are only just beginning to embrace the opportunities that owned and ‘social’ data offer and are just starting on the path to applying the principles that businesses in sectors like retail and travel have been using for some years. From a sports participation point of view, understanding data, turning it into actionable insights and putting the right processes in place to effectively engage the people who play and watch sport is a key part of helping us retain participants and attract new ones. More broadly, sponsors are increasingly looking beyond traditional rights packages and as that happens I think rights holders will find themselves compelled to provide partners with better access to and understanding of their data. It all points to a rise in the demand for data-specific skills and as that happens the onus will fall on sports marketers to keep their skill sets relevant.
f1 didn’t place me at Sport England but I’m still in touch and they, like Sport England, are a big supporter of the ESA Diploma. The diploma is the first formal qualification for the sponsorship industry and I can’t recommend it enough for those looking to enter the industry or fast-track their progress within it.
My tip for anyone looking to get into the sport sponsorship industry is: be proactive. Be clear on how your passion for sport translates into a profession. It’s fiercely competitive but opportunities are out there. Be tenacious and show willing. Read, broaden your network and ask – people are willing to help. Posted 3 February 2014
Lizzie Allen, Managing Director, City Music Foundation
I remember my first meeting with f1 very clearly. It was 2006. It was possibly the most challenging interview I’d ever had. It helped me to identify the skills and experience that I had, to focus on where I wanted to go in my career and to realise the opportunities ahead of me. f1 thinks of your career as a path, encouraging you to keep your options open, think about the company as well as the role, and to look ahead.
I’d been working in a small celebrity-focused PR company in the West End before moving to the other end of the scale to work for Credit Suisse in Canary Wharf. When f1 suggested I meet Emma Gilpin Jacobs at the Financial Times I hadn’t the least interest or inclination to work there. But f1 was right – we worked well together and for five great years. It was absolutely the best thing I ever did and turned my career round.
The FT led to a job running the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and setting up The City Music Foundation (CMF), one of the causes supported by funds from the Appeal. It’s been a very fast-paced role, establishing charity status of the Appeal as well as a brand identity and systems for it. The City Music Foundation has been started from scratch – everything from HR to online to brand strategy. It wouldn’t have been possible without help from f1 interns. I have had the pleasure of working with three of them in the last two years. It’s admirable of f1 to invest in people at this point in their careers, especially as it’s getting harder and harder at the entry level. I have felt a great responsibility to make sure they had good experience here. Thanks to the calibre of events we put on and the level of responsibility they had to take, they did. They have all gone on to find good jobs.
The CMF has made awards to 8 musicians this year and is supporting 15 musicians to develop their professional careers through a programme of mentoring, skills workshops, performance opportunities and publicity support. We’ve also launched a record label and an international exchange programme.
My tip for getting ahead is not to be scared of trying different things to find out what you want to do. A career is a long time. And I’d say meet as many people as you can. Especially when you come to an uncertain time it’s easy to lose confidence and go quiet. Don’t. Stay out there. You can learn something new at every meeting. Everyone you meet is a mentor of sorts, even if they never know it. You can’t get enough advice. Posted 29 January 2014
Nicola Gilchrist, Director of Corporate Affairs, Central Europe, Mondelez
I started as Head of Public Affairs, a completely new role, following Kraft’s huge and very public takeover of Cadbury. I was able to put in place a proper public affairs programme, which was very rewarding. It was also just before the Olympics for which one of our brands, Cadbury, was a sponsor and this was something very positive to talk to people about. I spent a lot of summer 2012 at the Olympics. I wouldn’t have missed that for anything.
After 18 months I was offered another new role as Director of Corporate Affairs for Central Europe. I work from home and travel regularly to 17 different countries. My job is to develop a fully functioning corporate affairs department across the region. I’d never worked outside the UK before and it’s been exciting to take my expertise and adapt it to the special challenges each country faces.
At Mondelez the company stretches you by moving and changing things all the time. Change is the only constant. And we get free chocolate! f1 genuinely did find me my dream job.
My tip to anyone thinking of moving from agency to in house PR is: Do it. As soon as you possibly can. But it only works if you find a company you love – not just what it does but also the way it operates. Posted 18 January 2014
Nick Caplin, Director of Communications, Sony Computers Entertainment Europe
The launch of PS4 was a very humbling experience. In London we battled through a wall of hundreds of fans to get into the store and then went to Paris and did the same there, but with thousands queuing. That’s what has been so rewarding about working at SCEE – the loyal, passionate fans.
When I first started here in 2006 I was Corporate Communications Manager. Then I became responsible for all Corporate Communications and then took on the PR and Events responsibilities. Two years ago I was given sponsorships and partnerships as well. My job has grown over seven years and remained incredibly interesting. I’m now Director of Communications with a team of 8, creating plans and strategies for 109 countries.
The video gaming industry is a very exciting place to be. You see things that for most people would be unbelievable and it has an audience that is quite unlike any other. The fans are truly opinionated, loyal and passionate about gaming. For example, the recent launches of PS4 and XBox One have featured in not one but three episodes of South Park. Gaming is now incredibly mainstream and an immersive way of life.
I started my career on a graduate scheme at Porter Novelli with clients like Paramount and McDonalds then moved to HomeChoice. I was recommended to f1 and it found me my first job here at Sony. Since then I’ve also used f1 to find people for my team. I know that f1 is fighting your corner for you as a candidate and that’s nice to know when it is presenting people to me. F1 is very selective. I think that’s its USP.
My tip for a career in communications is: Agency experience is invaluable. Always get it. That’s where you learn your base skills. If you truly understand your business, i.e. the financials, your markets, the variations in media (La Reppublica vs Le Figaro, for example) and immerse yourself in your products and audience, rather than just focus on communications, you will do well. You also need conviction – make informed decisions and back yourself. Posted 13 January 2014
Stephan Engel, Managing Director, Regester Larkin Middle East
I was based in Hong Kong and spotted an f1 advert in PR Week for a job in the United Arab Emirates. I was thinking of casting the net a bit wider for my next move. I had a Skype interview with f1. They told me about the job advertised but it wasn’t what I wanted – I was hoping for a smaller, more entrepreneurial environment. We discussed this and f1 networked with various boutique consultancies on my behalf. It happened that there was a senior vacancy at Regester Larkin Middle East.
Regester Larkin is a specialist reputation and crisis management consultancy which works in a wide variety of industries. The Middle East is a fascinating environment. I joined as an Associate Director but was promoted after a year to Managing Director for the region. That’s the nature of this market – it’s very fast paced. For Regester Larkin the key focus here is on the energy sector, supporting multinational oil and gas companies but we also increasingly work with the key local players.
It’s been a great learning experience so far and I’m very glad to have come here. The climate is a bit crazy, extremely hot in the summer, but I got used to it.
My tip for professionals aiming to move to the Middle East: Look at the experience and knowledge you can bring to the table. There is a shortage of skills here at many levels. Sell what you’ve got and don’t worry too much if you don’t have a local track record – most expats are relatively new to the region so employers here are more interested in your unique skills. However, always stay flexible and open-minded. Posted 10 January 2014
Emma Fisher, Account Director, Wardour (previously Managing Director at Editorial Intelligence)
I went travelling for four months and when I came back I scoured The Guardian, looking for jobs. All I knew was that I was interested in Marketing. f1 told me about Editorial Intelligence and I started as Sales and Marketing Manager in June 2008 when the business was new and growing – it was a great time to join.
EI is a knowledge networking business. We focus not just on bringing people together but on the exchange of ideas that takes place when they come together. We curate events that facilitate this exchange and we also work with brands and sponsors, and have recently developed a training programme for managing networks and measuring their success.
In 2011 I became Managing Director and then joined the board. Small companies allow for great opportunities to learn and develop. When I joined we were just starting on two projects that are now very well-established events – the annual comment awards and our residential ideas conference.
Working with EI in a niche, B2B environment, means I have met and worked with a wide range of people from every sector and level. It’s not typical experience – we work with such a range of organisations and people. Being in a small team I’ve gained a deep understanding of the world of work and how different things fit together. Also of the logistics of major events and of company governance, business development and building relationships. After five and a half years here I’m moving to work for Wardour, a content marketing agency.
My top tip for anyone starting out in marketing and communications is: read around about different companies – not necessarily because you want to work for them but to give yourself a context and some understanding of the business, which will mark you out from others. Also be open. Get some experience and doors will begin to open for you. Posted 6 January 2014
Andrea Nirsimloo, M&C Saatchi New York
I first met f1 in 2006. I was aiming for a career in journalism and doing internships, but not enjoying them as I thought I would. Someone I know suggested contacting f1 and we spoke while I was still in based Newcastle. They helped explain what was needed for a career in communications and then fixed work experience for me at Mischief.
I loved Mischief from day 1. Good thing too, because I’d moved my life down to London for it – a big decision at the time. I moved on to its first ever graduate programme and progressed to Account Director within four years. We worked on a fantastic variety of accounts, including Electronic Arts, SEGA, General Motors, the Playboy Club, Krispy Kreme, LOVEFiLM and won lots of industry accolades including PRWeek’s Agency of the Year. It was incredible experience all round and I learned a huge amount and made lifelong friends there.
Two years ago, my husband was transferred to New York and I was keen to get work there also as soon as possible. So I told f1 immediately.
My consultant knew I loved working in sports and set up a meeting for me with M&C Saatchi PR, and I got on really well with the senior team here. f1 knows just how to match people into the right place for them. I was hired and I am currently Senior Account Director working on the U.S. Olympic Committee, among other accounts, as they prepare for the Winter Games in Russia. My career here involves a lot of travel, which is fantastic, but the best bit is coming home to Manhattan. I feel pretty lucky to live here! Posted 5 December 2013
George Woffenden, Account Director, Clifford French Ltd
Meeting Usain Bolt and David Beckham on the same day is a highlight of my career so far. I’m also chuffed to have worked in every sport I love – football, rugby, cricket, horse racing, athletics and tennis.
I got in touch with f1 the moment I decided that a career in sports marketing was for me. Straight after university it found me work experience at Ketchum, Fast Track and Benchmark Sport. My first permanent job was with Arena International working with E.ON and the Barclays Premier League – a fantastic first job for a football fan. Since then f1 has found me every career move.
I worked with Synergy on projects like the RBS 6 Nations and Betfair’s partnerships with Manchester United and FC Barcelona, then at Weber Shandwick for clients like the Jockey Club and PUMA. We also launched Sainsbury’s partnership with the 2012 Paralympics. Then f1 introduced me to Dan French at Clifford French and I’ve been here for two years. I’m an Account Director in a very broad role, which appeals to me because it brings together everything I’ve done in my career to-date. We work across all marketing disciplines, including communications, social media, sponsorship and PR, to produce market leading campaigns for clients like EA SPORTS, Brother, and IBML brands Slazenger and Dunlop.
I really enjoy my work, which I think is quite rare in industries outside ours. I’ve always tried to do what I enjoy in life and I try to work for companies that suit my personality and skill set. But this business isn’t about who you are it’s about how good you are. Getting ahead is about working hard, applying your skills and taking the opportunities to progress when they come.
The emphasis of our industry has changed in one way, but not in another in my eyes. This industry is always about communicating to consumers via media platforms. It’s important as new platforms come along that we understand them as quickly as possible: to embrace new media. It’s that which has changed considerably, the media landscape. We all get to grips with what comes next (for example twitter launched during my career, which is funny to think now) but the basic principles of reaching and engaging with an audience remain the same. It’s a testing environment and the competition keeps you on your toes.
My top tip for getting the best start in sport is: work hard, learn fast and don’t make enemies – it’s a very small industry. Posted 11 April 2014
Amy Williams, Brand Partnerships Manager, Westfield
Getting a new job can be a life-changing experience. I cried when I got mine. I was working for an events company as a project manager. It was my first job after university and it schooled me in many things. I moved up the ranks quickly but realised that I needed somewhere new to go – for a challenge and to work somewhere where I would feel a connection, a vested interest. But I didn’t know what that would be.
I was a bit scared of going to see a recruitment consultancy because I’d never done it before and didn’t want to be just a number. f1 was recommended and immediately after my interview I felt f1 really ‘got’ me, helping me really suss things out and filter what was and wasn’t relevant to my next career move.
f1 found me interviews with many different companies. The culture and dynamic of the team really matters to me and I also realised I wanted a global concern, a world I felt comfortable in and people I could learn a new craft from. Westfield was perfect and I started here last July in the Brand Partnerships team.
Our small team helps brands get closer to consumers in partnership with both the London Westfield sites through events, experience and campaigns such as ice rinks at Christmas and content on our digital screen network. I did a sponsorship deal in my first three months. I felt a sense of wanting to add value and prove my worth. So I raised my game and also had a slice of luck. It was a great start and gave me a taste for more.
It’s amazing what f1 did to pave the way for me making the right next move. I’m now in a brand world, very different from before, and it is right up my street. It’s a bit early for me to comment on industry trends but I clearly see how brands recognise the need to connect and engage with consumers more, to innovate and create partnerships to draw their consumers in and allow them to make an emotive connection.
My top tip to anyone wanting to take the plunge into a new area is: Ensure you are in the frame of mind to be able to let go of all barriers and pre-conceptions. Be open and receptive. Give an honest and accurate picture of yourself so that your recruiter can really do their job. Posted 21 March 2014
Victoria Palmer-Moore, Partner, Powerscourt
When I met f1 I’d been working in investment banking for 11 years and wanted a career change to something more entrepreneurial, using my skills learnt from equity sales. I responded to an f1 ad about financial PR. f1 listened to me, found out what I’d been doing and then rather than me saying “I want X” they matched me very cleverly with Rory Godson at Powerscourt. At the time there were four or five people working there and we hit it off straight away.
I started at Powerscourt the day after my honeymoon eight years ago. I was new to the world of financial PR so I worked in many different areas – writing pitches and managing client accounts, but also helping to build the business. I was made a partner three years ago and we are now a company of 35 people with 60 outstanding clients, including FTSE100 and FTSE 250 companies from all different sectors. On the staff we have journalists and PRs and city people like me. When I first started there was no Twitter and placing stories in the papers came first. Now CEOs ask, which website should I be on?
f1 has helped us recruit four new people in the last two years, two of them directors. f1 understands our business and how to present our company to potential candidates.
My tip, to anyone thinking of moving from the city to financial PR, is: Do it! PR can take you into so many different areas from corporate strategy to crisis management and managing a team. We are a trusted advisor to many businesses and we sit side by side with the board to help on big reputational issues. It’s fascinating. Posted 20 November 2013