I’ve worked in comms since 2001. For the first few years I had a had a happy yet cosy time at the BBC. I was immensely proud to work there and I was privileged to work on really cool projects with amazing people who were passionate about being part of the BBC’s utterly unique environment. But it was only when I stepped outside of that bubble that I started to learn about being commercial, profit-focused, and accountable to shareholders and customers.
What followed was an intensely competitive time when I worked for a number of global corporates. My level of seniority grew alongside my knowledge and experience. I felt that I achieved ever-more amazing things as I helped those organisations with all manner of comms needs. I worked in sectors including banking, hospitality, healthcare, technology and my work encompassed the worlds of print, broadcast, live events, and then stepped into digital.
And all the time my role was supposed to be pivotal to inspiring tens of thousands of employees at those companies to do their best work.
Did I inspire? I thought so at the time. I understood the theories and the buzzwords, and I had the best intentions. But looking back within the context of what I do now I feel as though back then my ability to make great things happen was very possibly limited by the sheer size and scale of where I was. Because – for me – it was hard to feel inspired when I was so far removed from the reality of what we did.
Whereas now in a far smaller more intimate environment – without the large team to back me up and with a finite financial resource to call on – anything is possible.
From corporate oblivion …
I keep hearing a phrase being bandied about, encouraging people to ‘find their reason why’. It makes me roll my eyes a little, but I do get what it means. Back in the day I worked towards a higher salary and more impressive job title, as well as for the buzz of making cool stuff happen.
… to inspiration
I thrive in an atmosphere of challenge and adrenaline. Show me a problem and I will project manage you out of it if I possibly can. I’ll always offer the highest level of energy I can manage at work and being empowered to work in this way is important to me.
But these days it’s just as important that I feel I am making a difference. My perspective has changed. Leaving the huge faceless corporate world far behind and growing (a little!) older means I am more in tune with my own ethics and beliefs.
Working in a smaller not-for-profit company brings a sense of purpose. I am even more driven to make a difference, and there is no complacency about the impact of my work. I know that everything I do has the potential of reaching a customer – either directly or through my colleagues. I can’t help but have more clarity and focus because I am closer to the ‘front line’ of our work.
There are compromises to be made but they are good ones. Every pound spent from our budget must be justifiable. Every project delivered must be measurable. Every action taken must be improved on next time.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.