For a more formal professional profile go to LinkedIn or read the anecdotal account below.
Although most of my working life has been spent in the media, my original plan was to be a barrister. But when I left university with my law degree in hand and place at Law School ready, the bright lights of Soho proved more alluring and I changed tack, starting work on Accountancy Age magazine for VNU Business Publications. About a year later, I joined Tony Brainsby PR, whose client list was a who’s who of music industry giants from the ’70s and ’80s. I cut my PR teeth publicising a tour for David Essex, which seemed fitting as ‘David Essex’ was the first album I bought at the tender age of 8. My taste broadened later…
I worked on numerous high profile launches and national press campaigns, mostly within the music industry and publishing sector, and proved I had a nose for a good story and the confidence to handle the media. And, as this was the era of Ab Fab, I went to a lot of glamorous parties and met a lot of celebrities, some of whom were genuinely famous. My personal favourite was Magnus Magnusson, who worked with us on an impressive cultural festival for the Embassy of Iceland. The Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Charity was a very inspiring client, for whom we promoted the Sliver Clef awards, held an exhibition of David Oxtoby paintings and opened their new centre with the Duchess of York. I also handled political awards for Green Magazine and the launch of OK! Magazine.
Balancing the Ab Fab lifestyle with sessions at the Sivananda Yoga Centre in Putney, I became increasingly interested in yoga and Vedanta and a more introspective way of life. After meeting the Dalai Llama and studying at the Tibetan library in Dharamsala on travels to India, Australia and Thailand, I decided to use my media skills for something more worthwhile. I set up Dedicated PR and began to work in the burgeoning alternative health sector. I specialised in the aromatherapy industry, working for the Aromatherapy Trades Council, leading manufacturer Fleur Aromatherapy, Amberwood Publishing, launching their range of accessible books in this new field, and Christine Westwood Training, which pioneered qualifications for practitioners.
Later, moving to Brighton, I joined Raft PR as a Senior Account Director and did occasional prestigious launches such as one with Muhammad Ali for Electronic Arts, but mostly worked on business publishing projects for clients like Wiley, Prentice Hall and Bloomsbury Publishing. I enjoyed the complexity of marketing multi-platform products to an astute business market and developing new e-commerce skills; and in co-ordinating author interviews and article placements in the business press, I researched strategy and management style. This fitted my passion for how business ticks.
Outside of Raft PR, I worked on a number of my own accounts profiling arts projects for the Arts Council and the Coastal Currents festival for Hastings Borough Council. My favourite of these was Steve Pyke’s exhibition and book Life in Art, a beautiful series of portraits of older artists, which we launched on newly refurbished Hastings Pier, creating a new gallery space for the purpose.
I have also been very involved with Steiner Education since my children started school within the Steiner system, doing pr and marketing for Brighton Steiner School for many years. It was with this type of client in mind that I began to develop the idea of marketing differently for smaller, ethical organisations. One of the key qualities of Steiner Education is whole-heartedness, and this needed to be reflected in their marketing and business development strategy.
Through my work at the school, a number of smaller arts and education clients came to me looking for something a bit different. They had a desire to grow but had tiny budgets, no professional marketing skills, and found that traditional marketing did not fit their set of values. My work with them involved assessing their needs, creating a programme for them to follow and then training them to be able to do it for themselves. They needed transferable skills and a sustainable programme for growth that fitted their time and financial resources and did not compromise their core values. Out of this work developed marketing with heart. Through my training in Systemic Organisational Constellations, this broadened into art of becoming.