I’m honoured, excited and feeling really proud. It was an unbelievable moment to find out I was going to go, especially at a young age. It’s probably capped off a really good season for me.
You may have guessed that these are not the words of Peter Jackson Eastwood, Junior Account Manager at The PHA Group, on being chosen for the 5W Exchange. Instead, they are the words of Trent Alexander-Arnold, England football (or is that soccer?) star, on being called up to England’s World Cup Squad.
Now, there are some fundamental differences between Trent and me. He takes a much better free kick than I do, but if I may say so his corporate communication skills don’t hold a candle to my own. And yet I identify strongly with the sentiment in that quote at the top of the page.
Both of us are young players who are part of a larger squad that is packed with talent. Both have been chosen to represent our peers on the international stage, and both of us feel a sense of immense pride at our selection.
It is fantastically exciting to sit and write this on the cusp of heading to a different country, to meet new people and find out how a different company works. What I will be more interested to learn is how 5W operates in a media landscape that I am less familiar in.
To continue the football (on reflection it is definitely not called soccer) analogy, I am a PHA academy product having joined as an intern, and this will be my first experience of an alternative agency environment. I feel perfectly placed to teach people in 5W about the kind of place PHA is, what our values are, and in contrast to absorb what makes 5W tick as an agency. I’m sure we will all learn a great deal about each other in the coming weeks.
I have actually heard that American journalists are more polite and reply more often to emails than their English counterparts, but I am extremely sceptical. Let’s see how true that is…
On a more practical note, I last visited New York in 2016, and cannot overstate my excitement at having an authentic New York smoked salmon bagel. I’ve been trying to make my own for lunch and they really aren’t hitting the mark in the same way.
And finally, I really hope this exchange leads to the forging of lasting friendships. The greatest endorsement I can give The PHA Group is that I have made friendships here that will last for the rest of my life. I go on holiday with my colleagues, I see them on weekends, and every day it’s a pleasure to come in to work in Soho.
That is something truly special that we should all cherish. If we can create a similar environment between PHA and 5W moving forward, this could be the start of a partnership that helps all of us to grow and improve.
See you in a couple of weeks. Cricket is better than baseball.