From Journalist to Head of PR and Communications

My career developed to where it is now from starting out in journalism. I began working as a travel and tourism journalist working in Paris; this ignited my passion for both storytelling and travel. I then moved back to the UK and got involved in the “Tech Boom”. As tech at the time was new and a really interesting industry to be a part of. I joined an agency that specialised in technology PR that branched off into both B2B and consumer as well. What was great about that experience is being able to understand all the different industries that you could be part of through PR and journalism. This is why it is really good to try out lots of different sectors before homing in on the one that gives you the most joy.

I then moved from the tech PR agency into an ad agency in Hong Kong, this agency was part of the group GCI which is connected to the Grey Group/ Grey Advertising. There I managed to do work across both PR and advertising. It was really interesting to see how the two industries can function together. From there I moved onto a big giant called Burson Marsteller - which I think was like doing a PHD in PR, because it was such a great training environment where you learned the tricks of the trade in a very difficult and tough environment. It was very satisfying though, as you learned so much. This was also when I started to look at travel and tourism again as I was doing a lot of travel in my job out there.

I started working on the invest Hong Kong account, which was the inward investment file for the Hong Kong government and that was about getting multinationals to set up their headquarters in Asia and Hong Kong opposed to Singapore or Shanghai which were the two big competitors. It really gave me an idea about destination marketing and branding. This lead to me being approached by tourism Australia and I then took my first in-house role with them heading up their PR. This was possibly my favourite job ever! At the time not having the constraints of a young family and being able to travel extensively which involved taking journalists over to Australia from all around Asia and getting them to write fantastic articles about the destinations. What fun that was at the time!

I came back to the UK with tourism Australia, and then after being with them in a European capacity for a while I decided to start a family and took a career break for a couple of years, which is of course a very different life experience. When I decided to get back into comms I really wanted it to be in a role that didn't have quite so much travel and also to be in something that I truly loved, which is of course travel. Eventually after having a few freelance clients myself and after toying with the idea of starting my own agency, I decided to join Travelzoo as a permanent employee. I am still there today and I love it!

For more PR career advice check out Samantha McHarg-Sharp's agency to in-house tips here