Tell us a little about your role…
I’m the head of corporate communications & engagement for two police forces, covering the largest geographical area in England and Wales. I sit on the executive groups of both police forces and advise two Chief Constables. My department deals with everything from proactive campaigns and marketing to digital media & web in addition to internal communications and running two very busy media offices. I also manage a mapping unit, a design and print function and a heritage centre. The nature of policing means that a large portion of time is taken up dealing with issues that would be classed as crisis management in many other organisations, but are pretty much our bread and butter. The work is demanding and emotional but also incredibly rewarding and interesting – on any given day we can be working on issues as varied as child sexual exploitation or murder to road closures and crime prevention. Nationally, as a part of my role I also sit on the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) communications advisory group.
What’s your best Communications moment to date?
Within policing, working with my team during a critical or major incident unfailingly makes me proud.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing the industry at the moment?
Day to day I think the ongoing, and constant, changes around digital are proving a continual challenge to comms professionals. The changing landscape forces us to change our approach with both the media and our service users, but also brings enormous opportunities as success is no longer reliant on large budgets.
More strategically looking at ways to make the industry more diverse and effectively addressing issues like the gender pay gap are both vital both to allow us change and evolve as an industry.
If you had to impart one piece of advice to a member of your team, what would it be?
Believe in yourself and your professional skills. People think that communications is easy and that anyone can do it. They can’t or, at least, not successfully! Your voice is every bit as important (or often greater) than that of other professionals around the table so make sure you use it.
Has pursuing a career in Communications lived up to your expectations? Why?
Absolutely. I’ve worked in the charity, public and private sectors, both in-house and agency. Communications is a really varied career that is integral to the success of any organisation. You have to be creative and passionate but above all strategic and forward thinking to really add value.
If you could work for any brand, which would you chose? Why?
I’m pretty sure that my six-year-old son would want me to say Pokemon!
We all love the South West but what do you consider the key benefits of working in this region?
Having worked in London and the South East for a large part of my career, returning to the South West was the best move I ever made! The talent we have in the South West is often underestimated, but we have a creative communications sector stuffed full of brilliant people. Plus we have vibrant communities, beautiful towns and cities and the best beaches in the country. What’s not to like?!
What’s your Communications secret?
It’s not really a secret, but it’s all about enjoying what you do.