Tell us a little about your career to date.
I’ve enjoyed a 16-year career in communications, which has seen me travel the world, but I started as a journalist writing for trade press publications.
I quickly crossed over to communications where I took on a role to engage a workforce of journalists – not the easiest audience to start with! But it placed me at the centre of the video content explosion as many of the trade publications were the first to use rich media to build and engage online communities.
From there, I joined HSBC as a video content specialist where I spent over 12 years in a variety of roles, most notably as part of the bank’s multi award-winning global digital content and platforms team. It was as a producer in this fast-paced, multi-platform team where I truly learned the power of storytelling to engage a large and disparate employee audience. It also gave me the chance to manage some really exciting longer-term projects, including leading a series of exciting communications ‘firsts’ for the bank.
Now, following a two-year career break in which I fulfilled a dream of running my own cake company, I’m excited to be getting back into the sphere of communications and its new challenges in an altered, post-lockdown world.
What are you passionate about?
That includes anything from a book, film or TV advert to a simple tweet, social media post or even greetings card!
There’s nothing better than consuming a piece of content that is so on the nose that it inspires a genuine gut reaction.
Apart from cakes of course which is my second passion!
What is your biggest career achievement?
There are a few things I am incredibly proud of.
I produced a film telling the story of the Arab Spring uprising through the perspective of employees who lived through the experience on the ground in Egypt. It was one of a small handful of pieces which helped our team win at the Cannes PR Lions awards.
I also led the development and launch of a global staff video app which won awards for Innovation in Digital, Social and Mobile Communications.
It was tough getting the new platform designed to be able to quickly and easily crowd-source user generated content from over 200,000 employees across 71 countries. Working closely with legal and compliance teams in the highly regulated industry of banking.
I also managed the company’s first global Facebook Live Stream and, prior to taking my career break, co-founded a Flexible Working employee network which attracted over 1,000 members in the first month of launch.
What do you think has been your biggest learning over the past 18 months?
I’ve spent the past 18 months running a small business during a global pandemic, so I would have to say coping with uncertainty.
I launched Dizzi Cakes, specialising in Doberge – which is essentially, a large, multi-layer party cake from New Orleans - three weeks before COVID-19 hit. I’ve always been pretty flexible but having to pivot your product offering before even launching it saw me displaying a whole new level of resilience!
What do you think it takes to build an engaged workforce?
Looking back, I’ve been most engaged when I’m clear about the direction of travel, feel connected to my team and its purpose within the organisation. And can put my hand on heart and say that I both respect and trust in the leadership.
What is the role of a leader in building company culture?
Critical. A company can go to great lengths to define its vision, purpose, and values. But if the leadership doesn’t embody the behaviours that underpin this, why should anyone else?
What are you looking forward to most at UC?
Working with VLS again – she's a genius, but so fun with it! And getting to know the rest of the UC team.
I’m also excited to work with their clients and help them to deliver best-in-class work from my new ‘agency’ perspective.