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10 Minutes with a Rising Star

Alicia Squadrone

Tell us a bit about your role…

I am an account manager at Grayling’s Bristol office – we are an international communications agency with nine offices across the UK, headquartered in London.

My role involves working on a range of consumer and corporate clients, managing and delivering award-winning creative campaigns that resonate with audiences and drive commercial benefit. My area of expertise is consumer PR, specifically the retail and food & drink sector.

What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing the industry at the moment?

I think one of the biggest challenges the industry has been facing for years is the lack of diversity & inclusion. We’re traditionally a very homogeneous industry, made up of predominantly white British, middle class, heterosexual and able-bodied practitioners, so it’s very important that every company is taking active steps to change that.

There are many ways to create an inclusive working environment, such as changing recruitment practices to encourage diverse applicants, working with organisations that help people from under-represented backgrounds thrive in the creative industries, like Creative Access, among many others.

It’s important that diversity & inclusion isn’t seen as a box-ticking exercise, but rather something essential that every business needs. After all, our job is to create campaigns that resonate with society, but a large part of the audience our clients aim to reach is not being represented in our industry.

If you had to impart one piece of advice to young practitioners pursuing a career in PR in the South West, what would it be?

My biggest piece of advice would be to do work experience if you can, as it’s a great way to get into the industry and gain practical skills you wouldn’t necessarily learn at school or university. There are both unpaid and paid internship opportunities in the PR industry, so have a look around and start building connections with people!

What do you like best about working in the South West?

I love Bristol – I came here for university in 2015 and never left! I like that it’s a relatively small city so it’s easy to get around but feels like a big city since there’s always so much going on in terms of arts, culture and music. It has such a great energy to it, where anyone can be who they want to be without being judged.

In terms of working, I like building relationships with journalists and influencers in the South West and, as an Italian, learning more about the geography of the UK outside of London.

What’s your favourite thing about working in the PR industry?

I love how varied our job is. Just this week I’ve spent one day arranging an influencer sushi-making masterclass event and the next working with local charities on a free meal scheme. Every day is different, and you get to go to events and creative photoshoots outside of the office, which is nice if you need a break from sitting at a desk.