Lucy explored a diverse range of career options – physiotherapy, law, even ceramics – and says hands on experience is the key to finding the job that’s right for you.
She tells us how she ended up in her dream job at tigerbond’s London office.
Have you always wanted to work in PR?
At school I was undecided. I was given an options sheet and told to choose subjects geared towards my career choice and I thought: ‘how am I supposed to pick when I’ve no idea what I want to be?’.
It was much later than I found my calling.
What options did you explore?
When I was really young I broke my leg seven times, and my incredible physio really inspired me so I did some work experience to try it out.
I later thought about a career as a lawyer and arranged a placement to try that out.
But after two rounds of work experience, I realised it wasn’t the right fit for me.
Did you have a Saturday job?
Yes – I was desperate to be a ‘grown up’ and I got a job the second I was allowed to work legally.
It was in GAP kids and I got a 50% discount.
That’s when I realised some jobs came with great perks.
Next I worked as a receptionist in a beauty salon where I got free spray tan and nails on tap, and also moonlighted at a hairdressing salon which also brought the odd freebie.
When did you first consider a career in PR?
I knew there were great opportunities to be had in the media because my dad and my godfather worked at the BBC.
At 16, I met my next-door-neighbour’s sister who had a bubbly personality, fabulous handbags, and told amazing stories about her job at a PR agency.
Her lifestyle sounded exciting and fun, and she brought me in for work experience.
That lady is, in fact, tigerbond’s own Rachel Taylor and I work alongside her in London now.
What did your first PR work experience involve?
I had to clear out a stock cupboard which sounds boring, but it was amazing because I got to learn about all the exciting brands the company was working with and how to promote them (and they even gifted me one or two to thank me for my work at the end of the placement).
I was also asked to set up a display for a festive promotion and realised how fun (and downright bizarre) PR could be as I carried a Christmas tree across a car park in the middle of July.
Did that seal the deal and convince you PR was the industry for you?
Honestly…no! I was still pretty young and there were so many things I wanted to try.
I enrolled at university studying ceramics which I loved. I had aspirations about living a fabulous life as a potter.
How did you go full circle from pottery back to PR?
My course involved a three month industry placement in a gallery in Wandsworth where I helped with marketing and PR for private views and exhibitions.
That’s when it reality hit me.
I wasn’t going to be fulfilled sitting alone making pots for the rest of my life.
I realised I was wasting money on the wrong course when I could be out earning money in the right job.
How did you get your foot in the door in the job you’re in today?
My dad gave me an ultimatum - land a job or return to uni.
I called Rachel Taylor who pointed me towards an internship at tigerbond.
Within days I was helping to prepare for a celebrity-studded client event - Specsavers’ Spectacle Wearer of the Year – and tasked with taking the regional winners out for shopping and champagne in London.
I was with tigerbond’s CEO Laurna Woods and she said that by the end of the day she’d convince me it was the job for me.
What did she say to convince you?
She told me about the career opportunities, the amazing things you get to do and the fact that every day is different.
She was honest about the fact that not every day would be glamorous and that it was hard work, and said she was going to challenge me, which she certainly did.
Ten years later, I’m still here and every day is still challenging in all the right ways.
Can you give us an example of a not-so-glamorous day?
I was touring the nation on Huggies’ potty-training bus as a resident PR expert.
It was a superb, eye-catching campaign for a great brand.
Unfortunately, one of the children thought it was a real-life potty-training class and did a number two in the potty. Oops.
Have you ever rubbed shoulders with any celebs?
When I was an intern I was star-struck when I met Mel C, but had to pretend to be professional and cool. Two of my other favourites were Hairy Biker Dave Myers and Rylan.
I almost got the chance to meet Kylie but one of my colleagues was a massive fan so he got first dibs.
What’s life like as an Associate Director at a PR agency?
I love it. It’s busy and it’s stimulating, every day is different and there’s a great workplace culture.
I work with brilliant people and I get to mentor our up-and-coming stars.
I just got married and we just bought our first home. Life is good!
Are your other jobs a thing of the past?
Yes and no. They got me where I am today and I’m still in touch with former colleagues.
The stylists in the salon did my bridesmaids’ hair at my wedding recently and I put my ceramics knowledge to good use by hand-making all my wedding favours.
But as far as my full-time career is concerned, PR is here to stay.
I want to keep learning and upskilling, and helping those around me to develop their careers too.
And finally – what’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Give yourself a bit of space and don’t pile too much pressure on too soon.
Don’t be in too much of a rush to be an adult!
Interested in a PR career with tigerbond?
Check out our latest vacancies here.