How did you get involved with the financial sector?
Like many people I’ve met in financial services PR I actually fell into it. I started my PR career in the press office at Shelter before moving on to a consumer personal finance and financial services agency. As someone remarked to me at the time, if you can make financial products understandable and interesting then you’ll be one hell of a communicator!
Originally I thought I would last about a year and gain some valuable experience before moving back into the charity sector. However, nearly 11 years on I’m still here, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I enjoy working with clients that generate real news and as I’ve understood more and more about the sector it’s clear what an important role it plays in people’s lives. Our industry makes and impact and headlines and it’s that harder news edge that keeps me interested on a day to day basis.
Before you came to MRM, what organisations were you involved with?
Having started at housing charity Shelter, I then joined Lansons as an Account Executive. After nearly two years there I went to work for a small two person London PR agency called Rostrum Communications with the ambition of helping to establish its financial services practice. Eight years on and the agency was over 20 strong and I headed up the thriving financial services practice looking after some household name clients. It was then I felt it was time to take a step up and seek a new and exciting challenge as Associate Director at MRM.
Tell us a little about your life outside of work, do you have any hobbies?
I’m a huge sports fan. I’ve got a season ticket in the Upper Centenary Stand at Anfield which means I travel the length of the country every two weeks to cheer on Liverpool Football Club. This can be a little tricky as of MRM’s founder Richard Wheat is an Evertonian! Peace reigns at the moment but in my time here we’ve only had one derby to deal with. Luckily that ended in an amicable 1-1 draw!
I’m also an avid (but limited) boxer and enjoy sparring at the North London Boxing Gym on the weekends I’m not at Anfield. On certain days of the week I do lunchtime combinations and pad work with my trainer in Holborn. In fact if you’re up early enough on weekday mornings you might see me shadow boxing in Lincoln Inn Fields before I start work. I have to admit that does tend to attract some rather confused glances from those passing by and understandably so!
What is the one column or website that you read every day?
I tend to get my news from Twitter but I do enjoy The Guardian’s summary email of its headlines every day. It gives me a good overview of the overall news agenda. BBC Business News is also invaluable for more financial services specific headlines while the FT and City AM help provide some more of the detail behind the headlines.
What is your biggest pet peeve, or makes you angry?
People who lack appreciation of personal space. I’m a born and raised Londoner and as many people reading this will know, space is at a premium here. It’s a fantastic city and, despite a reputation to the contrary, full of friendly people. However, when traveling around it you’ve got to get your elbows out. So, people that refuse to use space sensibly on packed public transport, dawdle or aren’t aware enough of how their behaviour may delay or impact others make my blood boil.
What would you do if you were Prime Minister for a day?
Introduce three-day weekends
If you could give financial advice to the next generation, what would it be?
Take control of your financial destiny by learning how to decode all the jargon that still plagues the industry. Your future freedom will be dictated to some extent by your financial freedom so take it seriously from day one. It’s harder than ever for young people to survive and thrive financially so don’t slow yourself down with unnecessary debt and make sure you save.