Communication can be a struggle. Communication can also be ruthless, reckless and rather rapacious. However, it’s my calling and despite constant battles that dogged my progress, I was nominated for Outstanding Young Communicator of the Year. An honour that can’t be overlooked; an honour that made my parents so proud.
This is ultimately the point of this blog post. As a youngster, I struggled to string three words together and had many speech therapy sessions so I could interact with other children my age. My parents had great fear for me. However, it was just one of life’s obstacles that defines you. It probably defined me as a communicator too.
Ever since the teenage years, I wanted to be with people and talk to people, and more importantly, influence people. I was always a fan of History and Sociology; the latter was a subject I almost studied at the University of Surrey before being rejected after not receiving good-enough grades.
It was the best thing that ever happened to me.
It was then I came across an article, which changed my thinking. It directed me towards the type of career I wanted to pursue.
Many may remember the article; many hated the article. For me, it showed a true reflection of what a communicator can achieve and how it can influence people.
Oliver Holt wrote a scathing piece criticizing my football club, Reading FC. It was not the content that interested me, but the sheer impact it had on the town of Reading. Whether he still likes to giggle or gag, it’s up to him – perhaps he’s been reading 50 Shades of Grey – but I will never forget the impact a journalist can have. If you read the article all the way through, you will see a comment from me – probably my first ever attempt at writing in a journalistic way. Don’t laugh.
Following this article, I decided to undertake a degree in Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University. After three years of hard work, which included interning at Hampshire CCC, having work experience at Get Reading and Southampton FC and writing for countless websites and publications, I went travelling and still felt unsatisfied.
I was enjoying my academic career too much to stop. After heavy consideration in Australia, watching England win the Ashes and Andy Murray making his way to the Australia Open final, I decided to pursue a Master’s degree – especially with the job market as it was.
Come September 2011, I was firmly in the PR hotseat being given a dressing down by the course leader – Catherine Sweet – about how horrible journalists are. She was someone who inspired me, and became a figure to really look up to.
One of the units, Professional Practice, changed my manner of thinking. One of my objectives and goals I set myself was to tackle my speech wholeheartedly and do anything to improve. Because of this, I went for a dyslexia and dyspraxia test, something I avoided through my teenage years. It turned out, I was quite dyslexic and had speech dyspraxia. This changed nothing, however. It gave me reason to work harder.
As someone who loves a project, my ex-tutor John May introduced me to Winchester City and more importantly, their owners Paul and Bernie McCarthy – two truly lovely people, with no clue about communication. I rubbed my hands together and saw some real potential.
In the space of a year, I produced and provided a whole new social media presence, generated over fifty back page leads for local and regional press, and contributed to community relations as well as doubling the average attendance for home matches.
At the beginning of this project, I made the bold decision to call the campaign ‘Champions in the Making’, and the team were a success and subsequently won the league. A glorious ending.
It was this work that I was put up for Outstanding Young Communicator of the Year, something I did on a whim. I haven’t regretted it one bit. I have recently started a job with 33 Digital, a sister company of Hotwire PR, and Microsoft, and it proves how quickly you can progress in this industry.
It was an honour to be nominated for Outstanding Young Communicator, and it was a huge honour to have won two Gold Awards with the team at Southampton Solent University about Loving Your Bin.
If my first year in PR has anything to go by, I will be having a very enjoyable career.