Tag Archives: lifestyle

Going Global Interview: Edward James Herath talks PR in London

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Edward James is a London-based Account Executive at McCluskey International specializing in Travel & Lifestyle PR, with a background in journalism. In this interview, he dishes on life in Public Relations from a UK perspective, and shares his thoughts on working in the industry.

1. Introduce yourself! (current job, schooling etc.) How did you decide on a career in Public Relations?

This is so difficult to do! I’m notoriously rubbish at talking about myself…especially questions like the above, but I’ll give it a go. I’m 27, London bred…if not London born! I went to school in London but went to University outside this great city…and absolutely loved it! I currently work as an Account Executive for a PR agency called McCluskey International. We handle a variety of clients ranging from the Jamaican Tourist Board to Kimpton Hotels, who are very well known in the USA!

From an early age, I’ve been passionately curious about the world and I always knew that I wanted to be a journalist. My inspiration was Tintin – pronounced ‘Tan-Tan’ – the young Belgian reporter created by Herge in the 1930’s. He had a profound influence on me as a child and I would avidly read about his adventures with Snowy, Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus. He always came up with the goods and he was just a young journalist!

That was inspiration enough for me. Travelling the world and seeking stories like the fictional Tintin, is what I always wanted to do. Now, I work on the ‘flip-side’ of journalism, which is to provide the information to the journalist for that particular story. I will go back to journalism one day, as it’s always been my first love and PR is a stepping stone for me in terms of building media contacts and relationships. The moment I fall out of love with PR is the moment I go back to being a journalist. I don’t know when that will be, but for the moment, I’m enjoying my PR career immensely.

Aside from that, I have an avid interest in fashion – I’ve worked at London Fashion Week for a top British shoe designer – and I love music – I’m a DJ! And I love to dance! I’m proof that you can be nerdy but still cool!

2. What’s a typical day like in the life of Edward James Herath?

In PR, you never have a ‘typical’ day. I’m firmly of the belief that no two days are the same, because every day the client will have different needs and something else that needs reactive measures, from a PR perspective. The essentials still stay the same however. The e-mails, the endless reports and the social media management.

The social media management is probably the most interesting aspect alongside the events management and networking. I manage some of our clients’ corporate social media platforms, which is a lot of fun. Getting paid to manage content on Facebook and Twitter is a dream come true!

I do a lot of networking which is always fun and is an essential part of being successful in PR. If you can build and maintain successful professional relationships with your media and trade contacts, then half your job is already done!

3. How does your Journalism background help you as a PR professional?

PR and journalism go hand-in-hand these days. Without PR’s, journalists especially in the travel trade industry, wouldn’t have any stories to write. Having a journalism background helps because I know how a journalist thinks. I am one! I know how to pitch a story to them and not be “PR” about it. The journalist generally wants you to get straight to the point and not include any unnecessary fluff! The key point to remember is that if you are able to convey your message to the journalist quickly and succinctly, then your story will be out sooner rather than later. Most importantly, journalists can write well and our written skills are highly valued in PR.

4. What opportunities are available for PR Professionals interested in making the move overseas? (e.g. London!)

PR is an ultra-competitive industry – no doubt about that – so wherever you go, opportunities are going to be limited. London agencies are always on the look-out for interns and American interns have a reputation for being harder working than their British counterparts. Don’t ask me why, but they just do! If you network with the right people and put yourself in the right place at the right time, then you may get the opportunity to work in London. The best way to do that is to try and secure a secondment to the UK. You’ll basically be paid by your agency to work and travel around London. Not bad at all is it?

5. What do you find to be the most difficult aspect about PR? Most rewarding?

The most difficult aspect is undoubtedly the paperwork! We have so much of it and I don’t know anyone that likes compiling reports, because it is the dullest and most time consuming aspect of PR. The networking is for me, the most rewarding aspect. You have the opportunity to meet some very interesting and quirky characters who you would never get the chance to meet normally. Embrace it and enjoy it, because it doesn’t last forever!

Recently, I was involved in the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race and as our client is the Jamaica Tourist Board, we were involved in launching Jamaica’s entry in the competition. I had the pleasure of meeting some incredibly talented individuals such as Sir Robin Knox Johnston, the first man to circumnavigate the globe solo and Levi Roots, a famous Jamaican chef in the UK. It really made all my hard work rewarding. Find out more here: www.clipperroundtheworld.com.

6. What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in PR?

You have to be really sure that you want to pursue a career in PR. It’s a tough industry to be successful in, as a lot of it depends on being a skilled multi-tasker, hence the reason why women do very well in it. I’m the exception to the rule I guess.

The key thing I would say is to be dedicated, passionate and enthusiastic. Obviously, you have to have the necessary set of skills – writing, communication, flair – but aside from that you need to be remorselessly determined. If that hasn’t put you off, then what I can say, is that it can be very rewarding.

7. What motto/personal mantra do you live by when it comes to your career?  

No matter how much I love PR, just remember that it’s your job, not your life. It’s PR. Not E.R.

When you leave the office for the day, just switch off. It’s so easy for PR to invade and take-over your life, to the point that you find yourself responding to a client’s email at 10 at night! No matter how urgent it is, the email can wait. You’re the client’s PR, not their concierge. We have a life to live and we should make the most of it, when the opportunity arises!

My last word would be to work smart – not hard – and play harder. Working in PR can be very stressful and demanding so make sure you enjoy those Friday nights and the weekends!

Thank you to Edward James for sharing his insight on journalism and the PR industry from a UK perspective!

To read more of Edward James’ work visit http://intellectualmasculinity.tumblr.com/ or follow him on twitter @EdwardJamesH!

- S.

 

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If you can’t take the heat…

Everyone knows that every job comes with a side order of stress – make that a giant bowl. Whether you are pressed to meet deadlines, on the brink of a new promotion, or made a mistake that (you think) everyone noticed, it’s inevitable that you’re bound to run into a mild breakdown at some point.

Amidst all the chaos, it is crucial to stay calm and focused in order to move forward with grace. In case you are looking for a little refresher, especially during this summer heat, here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re plate is piled a little too high!

  1. Take a break – When crunch time approaches in the office, things can get tense. Take a minute to walk outside, or even away from your desk to get some air. The last thing you want to do is take things personally and get upset.
  2. Food for thought – Remember to munch! As event day approaches, we all know that meals can be the last thing on our minds. Keep a handful of almonds or an apple on hand for those times when you need a small pick-me-up.
  3. Meet up with family, friends, or colleagues – In times of stress, the best listeners are the people close to you. Sometimes a break with people who know you best can take your mind off the to-do list in the back of your head.
  4. Set aside a “you” day – Nothing says R&R like a day dedicated to you. Whether you spend all-day Sunday watching movies, or need an extra long stroll in the park, sometimes the perfect stress reliever is time to collect your own thoughts on your own time.
  5. Ask Questions – If something is bothering you in the office, don’t be afraid to ask questions! A lot of the time unneeded stress can be caused by a simple question you are afraid to ask – and most of the time you will be surprised on how much clarity will help!
  6. Zzz … – Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. I can’t say this enough! Try your best to get a full night’s sleep at all costs. You will feel rejuvenated and ready to work when you aren’t exhausted from staying up all night.

Do you have a tip that helps you keep the stress away?

Tweet me and let me know @Sam__Dickson 

- S.

From NYC Dreaming to NYC Living

sex and the city

“Beauty is fleeting, but a rent-controlled apartment overlooking
 the park is forever.” – Carrie Bradshaw

I grew up watching, admiring, and dreaming to live like Carrie Bradshaw. I would have never imagined that years later I would be a 20-something girl making the big move to New York City to embark on a similar journey.

Although searching for the two L’s (Labels & Love) remains at the top of my list, my move to NYC parallels a little more closely to Samantha’s in the PR sense, not to mention the same name. As the official move-in date inches closer, I can’t help but offer suggestions to anyone out there (small-town or not!) looking to make the move. I know I went in with expectations that got tossed out the window the minute I set foot in Manhattan!

  1. Wants vs. Needs – Although your wants and needs might be blurred between the two categories, it is extremely important that you recognize what you can and can’t live without – I learned this fast! That walk-in closet you’re hoping for is largely out of reach.
  2. Stairs are your new friends – Although your job might be in an air-conditioned high rise, realize that the apartment you really want might be on the sixth floor with no elevator in sight.
  3. Divide your ideal square footage in two, and then divide that by two – Anyone who has made the move to NYC knows that space is limited. More specifically, you will get more if you pay more. With close to 8.3 million people living in the city, it’s no wonder they have to fit everyone into small, intricate apartments where the stove might just be next to your bed.
  4. Market trends aren’t always your friends – Since I was only in NYC for the weekend, my broker not only had the task of finding me an apartment in a few days, but also having to collect documents, submit an application as well as coordinating a lease signing with the landlords. After nine apartment showings, and losing my first choice to another applicant in the span of 24 hours, you can already sense the fast-pace reality of NYC.
  5. Application Approvals – The. Waiting. Game. This had to be the worst part of the journey. I handled the showings and decision making with poise, but when it came time to wait for the application to be approved, I was one anxious girl.

So, I encountered two reality checks on my weekend rendezvous with the big apple. First, check your expectations at the door and make room for the NYC realistic expectations. Second, that after all is said and done, you will find a petite loft in your desired location and you’ll be asking someone if it’s all just a dream! Although the search is tough, the pieces will fall into place!

- S.