Thanks to Aysem for this inspiring alumni interview; it's so intersting to see how our former pupils have progressed into different industries!
When did you attend Francis Holland School?
What is your fondest schoolday memory?
Gosh there are so many. The ‘review’ showpieces, ski trips, school plays, singing epic works with Harrow boys school, playing sports in Regent's Park...all shared with some very special people, many of whom are my closest friends today.
Which teacher did you find most influential?
Mlle Gustave who taught French was very encouraging of me wanting to pursue Languages at A Level and university.
What have you been up to since leaving FHS?
I studied French and Turkish at UCL and SOAS (some of the best years of my life) before falling into my first PR job by chance. I had always assumed I would become a translator/interpreter. Several years later whilst at my first company, I decided to pursue an MA in Translation and Linguistics at the University of Westminster which I thoroughly enjoyed but realised was not suited to me. Ironically I now work right across the road at The Langham! I got married in 2014 and gave birth to my daughter Ayla four months ago.
How did you come to be in your current career?
Totally by accident in fact - I was working in a high end boutique on the weekends right after uni and a girl there mentioned a travel PR agency she was based at during the week were looking to hire. I went in for an interview and ended up staying three years. It was my first foray into travel PR and the clients were very prestigious. I took some very memorable press trips whilst based there. I then studied my MA before venturing into a FMCG agency before heading to Mason Rose, sales and marketing agency for the travel industry. From there I moved to lifestyle agency, Purple, before getting my first in-house position at Preferred Hotel Group. After several years, an ex-client based at Langham Hospitality Group was looking for a Regjonal Director of PR EMEA and the rest is history. I was promoted to Director of Marketing Communications last year based at The Langham, London.
What are your role's most/least interesting parts?
The creative process is very rewarding. I love the interpersonal element too, the contacts you make within PR become very much your Black Book of need-to-know industry people, many of whom have become firm friends. The media has changed so much from when I first started; I distinctly remember faxing my first ever media request to a client whilst starting out, now we are living in the midst of social media and influencer marketing. There has been a huge shift to digital media. Hospitality is very much like a family and a hotel environment is uniquely rewarding, intense and buzzy, fast paced too. It was always my dream to work in house and I’m so pleased the hard work was worth it.
What advice would you give to FHS alumni/pupils?
Believe in yourself and follow your gut.
Are you still in touch with any other FHS alumni?
Yes, many of whom are my closest friends.
What will you be doing next?
I’m on maternity leave until the end of the year. I'm also planning to complete a few courses with the PRCA for additional training. No rest for the wicked.
If you would like to take part in our alumni interview series, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, we would be delighted to hear from you!