Starting out in PR it’s easy to be swept away by the perceived glamour of the industry – the parties, the launches, the journalist lunches, the fizz! In fact – and I hate to shatter the illusion – PR is not like that at all and as a new exec I quickly realized that.I joined Mason Williams almost a decade ago as a confident Senior Account Executive. I have been a Board Director at the business for almost two years and the journey from one to another has been an adventure.
My PR life began at a small agency in the Midlands where I worked for a little under three years developing the PR craft. It was a thorough foundation with varied days that ranged from evaluating coverage – back then it was still with Pritt Stick, a ruler and an SCC rate (no PR glamour) – to getting a luxury jewellery client in Vogue (lots of PR glamour).
I left my first agency safe in the knowledge that I knew what I was doing. The feeling didn’t last long!
Mason Williams is a powerhouse of an agency – it’s an agency that punches above its weight delivering fantastic work for nationally and internationally renowned businesses. The feeling hits you as soon as you start – these people mean business and I wanted to keep up so I could enjoy the ride.
And a ride is exactly what it was – during my tenure at Mason Williams I have had the honour and the privilege of working on some of the biggest brands in the world, from Star Wars, Transformers and My Little Pony, to Accor, Hilton and Compass Group. I have worked with celebrities on brands as diverse as Selfridges, ibis hotels, Pritt Stick and Wasgij. I have been involved in, and in recent years led, international or pan-European launches and campaigns for Hasbro and Accor brands, to name but a few. I have been part of award winning campaigns delivering business-changing results for our clients. And there has been fizz, lots of it in fact, but all in the name of work and most enjoyed sat at my desk!
The learning curve at Mason Williams is steep, it’s fast and it’s comprehensive. I have hit the phones selling ideas, praying for coverage and calling in favours; run round with a look of panic badly hidden behind a forced smile at events as the first 10 minutes goes by without a guest; I’ve beamed at the same events hours later when the launch was considered by all to be the most successful yet; I have learnt how to manage clients (say yes), how to manage your boss (say yes) and how to manage teams (teach them to say yes); I have helped guide clients through crises, keeping them out of the press and on other days delivered them waves of coverage that make a difference and really change a brand, product or business. In more recent years I have learnt the value of PR in business – I have understood the changing face of PR and helped the business, teams and clients adapt to this; I have seen the media landscape change, shrink and grow in an entirely new direction; I have been taught the importance of strategic guidance, client counsel and creativity; I have learnt the sixth sense of client insight and seen my MDs’ unfailing commitment to the client cause.
I have learnt something new every day and worked with the most dedicated PR professionals I ever expected to come across in this ‘glamorous’ industry.
I remember the feeling of excitement I had when I started life at Mason Williams. I still have that feeling, almost 10 years on. I am proud of the work we do, the fantastic PRs I have worked with, the trusted voice we have built, the vision and creativity that pulses through everything we do and the unfailing commitment of the Mason Williams team. And through everything the business has given me over the last decade, I am most grateful that it has given me the opportunity and support to rise and grow, with no glass ceiling to keep me in my place. I am a product of the business and for that I will remain grateful.
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Mason Williams is the UK Consumer PR Agency for IPREX – a $350 million network of communication agencies, with 1,800 staff and 115 offices worldwide. Read More