Another team member steps under the spotlight, this time it’s double Blue Peter badge holding literary boffin Georgia Burns.
Why did you join the PR world?
Starting a career in PR seemed a wonderful way to apply my love of writing to a meaningful context where I would be able to shift perspectives, behaviours, and policies.
I also knew that I wanted a career that kept me on my toes and combined the creative and the strategic. On the one hand, there’s the editorial side to things – research, writing for different audiences, story development, collaborating with journalists and industry experts – which as a former literature student I obviously enjoy; on the other, there’s strategy and creative problem solving, from campaign planning to stakeholder engagement and the political and public affairs side of things. Best of both worlds in my view!
Tell us a bit about yourself, how did your journey towards PR start?
While I’d never had any direct experience either in-house or at an agency, I had been involved with several roles that were media and communication-based. For instance, I interned at an EdTech start-up in Beijing in summer 2019, directing its media platform, and in my final year at Cambridge University I was part of the Partnerships team at Watersprite, the UK’s largest international student film festival. These were pretty formative experiences for me career-wise and reinforced what I already knew – that my passion lies in building relationships, facilitating projects, and storytelling.
What are you enjoying most about your role so far?
The variety, as clichéd as it may be. Galibier works across such a diverse range of sectors that each day always looks a little – or a lot – different. On a busy day for example, I may be brainstorming future projects with a client in cybersecurity, working on a whitepaper on the Further Education sector, and selling-in a story to international finance media (!).
It’s also been amazing to be entrusted with so much responsibility from day dot. There’s a real balance between working independently and collaboratively here, which I love.
Tell us something interesting about yourself
I’ve been vegan for over three years now and am slowly trying to convert the team with bribes of vegan cake. I’m just the right amount of preachy, I promise…
Did you always know you wanted to work in PR?
Not at all – in all honesty I’m not entirely sure that I knew what PR meant until I went to Uni. However, as a literature student I’ve always been interested (unsurprisingly) in language, communication, and how different expressive media can shape meaning – all of which are key elements of PR. I also work best and generally feel happiest when I’m around other people – PR is great for that too.
What is the most important skill you think you’ll need in PR?
The ability to manage the macro and the micro simultaneously. You have to be able to marry impeccable attention to detail – whether it’s spotting press opportunities, subtly weaving key messages into features and the like – while executing large-scale campaigns and maintaining a holistic approach to a client and their reputation. I’ve found that in PR you’re as much in the present, keeping up with media trends and dealing with challenges as and when they arise, as you are planning several months, even years, into the future.
What do you do for fun?
Independent cinema is a big love of mine. I recently gave in to a Mubi subscription, which helped to see me through lockdown while another of my passions was on hold – mixed netball. I’d describe myself as quite an active and outdoorsy person; I’ll give any sport a go – roller derby’s next on the agenda – but in the meantime I’ve been trying to convince myself that I like running.
I’m also a huge Francophile, so any opportunity to watch/read/listen to anything French I will! I’d love to visit more Francophone countries in the future, though my French is a little rusty at the moment – I can just about manage “Galibier”.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of a career in PR?
Gaining experience across a spectrum of industries and disciplines may seem a roundabout way to enter the PR world, but “soft” skills like critical thinking and effective written and verbal communication are at the heart of the job. Also, since agencies tend to be highly interdisciplinary in both the nature of their work and the clients they work with, developing a strong news sense and knowledge base across sectors can only be a plus!
What are your proudest achievements?
Graduating from Cambridge with a starred first-class degree during a pandemic has to be up there. It was an undeniable privilege to be able to study there, but the way it ended was all very anti-climactic and upsetting – missed graduation, sitting my finals in my childhood bedroom and so on. I’m just lucky I had some gorgeous people in my life to support me through it!
More importantly, though, I made it onto Blue Peter as a kid – badge and all – after I set up a recycling system in my primary school. My environmental activism started young, apparently… It was a pretty epic four minutes of fame if I do say so myself, and it got me free entry into Alton Towers until I was 16. Oh, the good old days.