Describe your role in no more than 100 words.
My role involves creating and developing PR and communications strategies for businesses which help to influence or manage the perceptions people have of an organisation.
I lead the team on client projects, ensuring we are delivering ROI and helping to raise a brand’s profile through whichever communications channel necessary, be it media relations, social media, internal communication or online content.
As MD, my role also includes steering the agency’s growth - understanding the situations the business faces and identifying the opportunities (or risks) that those situations present.
What is it the company does?
Faith PR is a PR, social media and communications agency. We deliver both consumer and business-to-business campaigns across a broad spectrum of sectors, working with companies on a local, regional, national and international level.
Our aim is to understand our clients’ businesses and link PR objectives to business and organisational objectives at all times.
This is under-pinned by straight-talking media relations and increasingly, social media, blogger outreach and digital strategy and content creation. We also offer e-communications and design services to provide fully integrated marketing communications solutions.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far.
After graduating in 2002 with a degree in Modern Language Studies, I joined McCann Erickson in Leeds to work on their Bentley Motors Account. I then moved to JDA as an account manager and quickly moved into their PR department.
In 2007, I took the plunge to leave and with just one £250 a month client, launched Faith PR from a downstairs room at home. For five years I chose to remain as a one-man PR consultant while I had my children. When my daughter was two, I secured my most significant account win to date which spring-boarded the agency’s growth.
After a 14-month stint in an office in Birstall, I moved Faith PR to our current office in December 2014 and after five months, knocked through to the adjoining office, doubling the physical footprint of the agency to accommodate the growing team.
I’m also co-owner of a business café called Big Shots in Brighouse, and I’m the editor of the Kirklees and Calderdale edition of local business magazine TopicUK.
Where did you start your career?
My first job was at McCann Erickson in Leeds, working on their Bentley Motors Account.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
I think most importantly you need to be able to listen to and engage with your people, and take them on the journey that you believe in.
I put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that the team I employ and work with are fully involved with everything we do, are well trained, but are also able to add their own personalities to the business.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
There’s more to running an agency that just satisfying clients. There are plenty of challenges, including cash flow, bad debt, failed bids, client expectations, the next big campaign…
People issues have probably been my biggest challenge. Not only in terms of finding, hiring and holding onto the best staff but also managing them and dealing with issues which are not always in your control.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I have two children – a boy and a girl – under the age of seven so juggling this with running a fast-growing agency can be hard work.
I am constantly on the go and rarely have time to switch off but last year discovered running as a way managing stress and now ensure I squeeze in a run to clear my mind, even if it means going at 6am or 9pm!
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
It varied frequently and varied between vet, lawyer and travel writer.
Any pet hates in the workplace?
Bad attitude and negativity as it drags the whole team down. Also as my team will testify – bad spelling and grammar – especially misuse of apostrophes!
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
I would like to continue to grow our presence across Yorkshire and the UK, and cement our status as PR, social media and content marketing specialists. My aim is to stay ahead of the competition and offer clients the most pioneering and up to date services with the best people on board to do the job. Importantly though, I want to continue having fun doing it!
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Nail your accounting – stay on top of your numbers and think and act like a bigger company. Put in place systems and procedures that will support your growth and allow you to keep an overview of both the company’s and staff performance.
Embrace new thinking – constantly evolve.
Hire the best. Don’t be afraid to hire people better than you.
Ultimately - be connected and be committed – put in the hours, stand out, go the extra mile.