Job Dreams: Communications Director
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As part of our Job Dreams series, we speak to professionals from different careers and share their advice with you. Last month, we learned what it's like to be an Inspirational Speaker. This month, we met Kam, who told us all about what it’s like to be a Communications Director!
What do you do?
I am a Communications Director. Last year I founded Coldr, a marketing communications consultancy to help brands and organisations do better on purpose. By that we mean we partner with brands to help them walk their talk, to create inclusive marketing and PR campaigns that are authentic and engage with mainstream and typically underrepresented communities.
Can you tell us what your day-to-day is like?
No two days are the same. However, there are some common threads including developing communications plans, liaising with partners, writing copy, content and press releases, having meetings and calls with journalists and team members, advising clients and lots of problem-solving!
What do you love most about your job?
Meeting and learning from different people - one of the best things about PR and communications is that collaborating and working with others, including experts in their field, is crucial to doing the job well.
What do you find most challenging?
Achieving work-life balance is one of my biggest challenges. PR can be always on and I try to make a conscious effort to step away from my computer and reserve time for myself, family and friends.
What did you see yourself doing when you were a kid?
I wanted to be a lawyer, fashion designer or scientist when I was younger - all very different!
What challenges did you face in reaching where you are today?
Balancing being a mum and being a PR professional was challenging during the early stages of my career. I also found it difficult at times being a Black woman in predominantly white, middle class environments - I didn’t feel like I fitted in!
Whilst there is still a very long way to go before every PR professional has an equitable experience in the industry there is a great deal more recognition of the need for greater inclusion in the industry and many more communities of support including Women In PR, UK Black Comms Network and the PRCA Race Ethnicity, Board (REEB) to name a few.
If you weren’t working in this field, what do you think you’d be?
I’ve always said I would be a florist, I like the idea of doing something more practical and bringing people joy at the same time.
Where do you see yourself going next?
My focus is on growing Coldr, partnering with even more brands and organisations to achieve their goals and building our team of consultants.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first left school?
That being a PR consultant is an actual job. I had no idea when I left school that the PR and comms industry existed. For me it’s the perfect blend of being strategic and letting my creative juices flow. There is something thrilling about going from developing an idea on paper to seeing it come to life to help achieve an overall goal.
What advice would you give to someone interested in joining your industry?
First off, there are many different communications disciplines and sectors you can work in. I started out in fashion PR, then moved into health PR, spent some time leading campaigns for household names in the food and drinks space as well as travel and youth brands. Think about what industries you are passionate about and whether you would enjoy promoting brands and organisations within that sector.
Then, follow PR and comms industry magazines, bodies and communities on Twitter like: @PRWeekUKNews @Provoke_News @UKBlackComms @comms2pointO @PRCA_HQ @CIPR_Global @AllthingsIC and hashtags like #commshero #comms and #pr.
And finally, don’t give up! The PR industry can be competitive and difficult to get into so don’t get disheartened if you don’t get the first job that you apply for. Find ways to develop your writing skills and to learn about the industry, perhaps by writing blogs or helping to promote a local or charity event.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given?
Be you, everyone else is taken.
What quote do you live by?
Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.