Reflections on a 20 year media and marketing career

During the annual Women in Media Conference in Manchester, I joined a panel of ladies to share my experiences of working in the PR and media industry – with the aim to share my observations and lessons that I’ve learned.

I hope you find these observations transferable, as a blueprint to anyone just starting a new career or someone who needs a gentle nudge to remind you about your value and worth.

Ask yourself ‘what are the values that summarise you and what you stand for?’

I started my working life in retail with my first job being a footwear salesperson at River Island for £2.88 an hour. Weekend shifts at WH Smith, Dorothy Perkins, and Marks & Spencer during my student and university years would follow and I think it was the best preparation for working in the media industry. I learned some valuable lessons about having a work personality and how you conduct yourself. Body language is important for all interactions; arms folded across the body can come across as defensive, avoiding eye contact can seem evasive and a genuine smile can go a long way to building rapport.

I also learned the essence of being professional, having a can-do approach to problem-solving and being reliable for a job. These values have stayed with me throughout my media career and when I bump into ex-colleagues, these are the things that people still remember about me all these years later!

Nurture and build positive relationships

No man (or woman for that matter) is an island and there is no ‘I’ in the word team. I know from my experiences that I have had the pleasure of working with, and for, some great, talented people who have been supportive mentors and shown me great kindness.  Nurturing and building positive professional relationships are key to operating in the media industry. To have trusted people you can speak to for advice, guidance and ideas when you are stuck and need help is always a valuable thing. I have a tribe of work friends who I respect and trust and we work well together. One good turn deserves another and remember that the people you meet will form a part of your journey during good and bad times. Remember to treat everyone with respect.

Know what you do well and what to improve

We all have our talents and skills, things that we’re really good at. This could be a natural skill for complicated maths equations, being able to cook a delicious meal in 20 minutes or the ability to dissolve an argument between your two best mates. Often, we underestimate these skills, but I think it’s important to look closely at the attributes you display and give yourself credit for them. Truly value these skills. I believe our strengths come from understanding what we do well so that we can build on it. But we also have to be honest about the areas we need to improve on so that we can develop our perspectives and thoughts.

Be bold about your achievements

Celebrate you and all the great things you do! We achieve great things in our personal and professional lives so why do we not shout about them enough? I meet many women who are talented and do fantastic work, yet we refer to the ‘imposter syndrome’ of not being good enough. I believe that self-esteem and confidence can blossom, but it starts with us. Celebrate what you do well. I take pride in being a chatterbox because my ability to articulate and communicate led me into a broadcasting career and this is something that I’m always proud to share.

Just imagine introducing yourself to someone new and how you’d like to be remembered, this will help you to stand tall and speak up to represent everything you have worked to achieve.

Be prepared to learn and share

Every day we learn a new fact or piece of interesting information that we can use to navigate life, which can in turn, enhance our career. Learning something new and sharing it has formed the basis of my career. When you meet a colleague or new friend and begin chatting and exchanging ideas, it can be insightful and empowering to exchange knowledge. Sharing ideas about a particular website, place to visit, person to meet, or life hack will make a difference. Think of the ideas that you have learned from someone else and how they made a difference to you! So, pay it forward, learn and share them with someone else.

Louise is a media, marketing and communications specialist with over 20 years experience working in TV, Radio, print and online media for BBC and Commercial brands, businesses, and services.

Connect with Louise on LinkedIn


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