Growing up in a sleepy coastal town an hour from Sydney, Australia, I voraciously consumed a diet of coming of age, romantic comedies set in New York. From New York Minute and 13 Going on 30 to Uptown Girls and Sex and The City – there’s no debate these films are iconic, timeless classics, obviously.
These cinematic masterpieces (okay, that’s a stretch) also shaped my desire to move to a big city and “make it on my own” with a glamorous career.
When I discovered I was eligible for a five-year British Ancestry Visa, London became my first choice. Dreams of exploring New York, the Statue of Liberty and hailing a yellow cab (to escape from truant officer Eugene Levy or otherwise) were superseded by London’s red phone booths, Big Ben and yes, ultimately, the proximity to Europe.
I’ve now lived in London for three years and have worked at The PHA Group for one. I can honestly say it’s been the best career move I’ve ever made. I’ve learnt an incredible amount about every facet of corporate life in a PR agency, from British office politics and client handling right through to the UK’s media landscape and political climate (Brexit has been a joyous time to live here…).
Last year, a re-run of one of my favourite childhood films, Raising Helen, reignited my long-distance love affair with New York, further fuelled by the announcement of the PHA x 5W Exchange Scheme.
I learn from some of the best here, whether they’re PR pros or former Fleet Street journalists. The experiences, development and training are second-to-none. But I’m curious to see how they do it in the Big Apple. So when I was selected for the exchange, I was nothing short of ecstatic. It’s certainly my career highlight to date – and the realisation of my childhood dreams!
I’m keen to understand how an agency runs across the pond. I’ll be taking in everything from account management and client relationships to internal staff development and campaign brainstorms. I’m curious to see their sell-in strategies and how Americans build relationships with journalists. As one of the States’ top ten independent PR agencies, 5W is well placed to offer valuable insight.
Prior to joining PHA, I worked in social media and digital marketing for a number of years. The integration of social media into the PR remit is an emerging area of the field, so I’m particularly keen to understand how our trans-Atlantic colleagues tackle this challenge, while also sharing insight into our strategies here in London.
It will be interesting to get a glimpse of corporate life in America. Is it everything Jennifer Garner’s character made it out to be when she was Suddenly 30? But it won’t be all work and no play. I’ll be immersing myself in all aspects of American culture.
After work, you’ll find me shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue, walking the High Line, hanging out with the Statue of Liberty, admiring the skyline from Top of the Rock. I’ll be eating my body weight in pizza, donuts and of course, sidewalk hot dogs. And finally, browsing American “candy” to bring back to London for my team’s #PickNMixChallenge.
Siri, play Empire State of Mind by Jay Z and Alicia Keys.