Two Minutes With… Helena Jones, MRM
Tell us about yourself
My PR career actually began in the food industry, where I sat in the in-house comms/investor relations team at a chilled food manufacturer. Aside from regularly over indulging on dessert and pizza samples, this is where I first learned how to write press releases so I have fond memories for multiple reasons.
I loved the media relations side of the job so eventually decided a switch to agency was the way forward. This is where I first found myself in financial services…a culture shock indeed!
Where did your interest in FS come from
It’s fair to say I ‘fell’ into FS – in fact I can still remember the strained smiles from people when I told them I’d be working on pension and investment clients. I was quickly sucked in when I realised the very real impact the businesses I was working with had on every day people’s financial situations, and saw these reactions as a worrying demonstration of the engagement problem in our industry.
What I’d always loved about PR is being able to take important messages that people may otherwise find ‘confusing’ or ‘boring’ into something they can understand…you might say that working in FS keeps me busy.
Why did you join MRM?
It’s a small industry so I’d known of MRM and had always heard good things. Aside from that, when I met the team and discovered they loved snacks as much as me, I knew I’d found the right fit.
If you could give one piece of financial advice to a teenage version of yourself, what would it be?
When I started my first weekend job, my mum told me to set a weekly budget and withdraw cash to that amount so I’d be able to see what I had left.
Unfortunately I didn’t listen to her which is probably why I came out of uni with two overdrafts, but I think having that tangible demonstration of the finiteness of money would’ve been a good grounding for when I got my first pay check.
What would you do if you were Prime Minister for a day?
I’d make it mandatory for employers to have to provide basic financial education for first-jobbers, and/or banks when they have someone opening a current account for the first time.
Contactless cards and payment apps make it more convenient than ever for us to spend. Very handy for on-the-go parents carrying children etc., but slightly worrying for a teenager with no concept of money management (my frivolous 16 year old self comes to mind)
What is your biggest pet peeve, or makes you angry?
I was attacked by a savage Brighton seagull for a churro a few months back and have been traumatised ever since. We’re based just off Trafalgar Square, which is fantastic, but the feral pigeons have ignited my new found bird phobia and I find having to dodge them highly upsetting.
Now, tell us a little about your life outside of work, do you have any hobbies?
I moved house at the weekend so recent life outside of work has been limited to trying not to trip over cardboard boxes.
I’m a keen runner and was due to run the 2019 London marathon until sustaining an injury that meant I had to pull out. After several months of physio I’ve had the all clear to get back out training so will be on the road again soon, but I’ll admit motivation has been lacking with the rainy days we’ve been having. Anyone who feels like holding me account on this in the coming weeks, you have this in writing..!
What is the one column or website that you read every day?
I browse the Showbiz section of the Mail Online more regularly than I’d care to admit, and I love the Daily Mash for a bit of light relief at lunchtime.
When I’m in the mood for something a little more intellectually challenging, the FT and Times tend to be my go-tos.
What would you do if you received a windfall of £10,000?
I’ve been having notions of becoming a pub landlady when I retire, so I’ll put it towards a future down payment on a cosy country pub.