Written by Kajal Shah • Published 29th November 2019 • 3 minute read

There are now just two days to go until the PHA/5W Winter Exchange scheme takes place, and with my flight over to NYC with three fellow PHA-ers just around the corner, anticipation, excitement, and a slight fear of the infamous NYC cold is setting in!

After hearing all the fabulous stories from the Spring Exchange group -from PR lessons to all the tasty morsels they ate (trying not to salivate right now!), I feel extremely lucky to be spending a week in the Big Apple and working in 5W – one of the 10 largest independently owned PR firms in the US.

London and New York are two of the most important epicentres of the global public relations industry. Similar in many respects from a cultural and lifestyle point of view but also different in others. Given that I can’t base my interpretation of NYC life on each episode of Sex & The City, I am thrilled to soak it all in, learn from PR professionals, share knowledge, swap ideas on campaigns and build new relationships. It also massively helps that I love all things Christmassy and I won’t even begin to talk about my ever-growing shopping and sightseeing list!

I’ve worked at The PHA Group for a year and a half now in the Strategic Communications team and this has enabled me to be exposed to various sectors from corporate business to PropTech, ESG and legal cannabis.

As a Senior Account Manager, my job is to create and drive the strategic plan for clients including media relations and content development, while generating creative campaigns and identifying new trends that affect clients’ industries and markets.  Spending a week with our 5W colleagues will be a great insight into how they approach clients, build successful PR programmes and navigate a challenging media landscape.

With my personal interest and experience in public affairs, I am intrigued as to how US clients operate in driving opinion and feeding into the media news cycle within a politically charged environment and the upcoming presidential elections.

One area I am keen on immersing myself into is with the dedicated CBD team at 5W. At PHA, we have worked with leading cannabis businesses to position them as thought leaders and experts and forge greater understanding of medical cannabis/CBD in the media. With the explosion of CBD in the US market and the range of innovative companies driving trends, consumer behavior and investment, I am looking forward to learning different campaign tactics and ideas while establishing market links. In turn, I’m hopeful that I can add some valuable insight into the British market from a media, political and cultural perspective.

Our agency is defined by our culture. In this highly entrepreneurial environment, employees are encouraged to pursue their individual passions and are empowered to do things differently. This means, our team members create new service offerings, seek out new clients they’re passionate about, and run initiatives that are focused on making our workplace fun and inclusive. It is also about building endless opportunities – advancing the business but also enriching development opportunities for everyone who works here.  The 5W Exchange is one of these unique offerings that not only strengthens our global outlook but also ensures that we can offer our clients a truly global media platform.

In the fast-paced city that never sleeps there’s always an event to experience, a sight to see, and a memory to make. I’m grateful to be chosen for the Winter Exchange and hope to come back with some lifelong memories and friends. In the words of Carrie Bradshaw (Sex & The City), ‘Anything is possible. This is New York.’