Where do you work and what job do you do?
Ariatu PR, PR consultant
How did you get into marketing/communications?
I started my business and became self-employed in 2004, I was still in a standard 9 to 5 management role, a role in which many people my age would have been happy to have stayed in for many years. It was an interesting position with lots of responsibility, however, I became a robot, unhappy with what my job was turning me into, I was stressed and would often take that stress home with me. My life lacked dynamism and to some extent purpose. I felt strongly that I was not following my true life’s purpose and so I made a choice to start my own business. Many people thought I was crazy, I was after all only 23 years old and my only starting capital was my savings, I was taking a big risk although thankfully back then I still lived at home with my mum so that helped. I wanted to create a life that I loved and by starting my own business I felt that I was able to do that. One of my first clients was a corporate interior designer but I was offering more services than I could handle then because I was so young so I wanted to be taken seriously. It wasn’t until I took a business sabbatical and spent a few years as the CEO of a local chamber of commerce that I was able to return to my business fully, rebrand and focus on PR and communications.
What are you most proud of in your career as a marketing/communications professional?
The very fact that I am still recognized as a leader in my field after starting so many years ago! Well, that is something to be proud of. I have been able to keep going and growing and thriving and most of all I have kept my integrity and that is definitely worth celebrating! I am also happy to be an active mentor which enables me to provide some insight and pragmatic advice to others in my field. Also being a trustee/NED, hopefully, adds value to spaces that are open to growth and change.
How has marketing/communications helped the organisations you’ve worked for?
Many clients still come to me for media relations which is a valid service offering but I am also glad that startup founders and entrepreneurs are recognising the need for media training and personal branding. I have been offering more one to one consultancy and seminar facilitation around personal branding which has been having a major impact not only for individuals but for overall organisation’s reputation. Another one of the key ways my services have helped has been crisis management and identifying strategic measures to ensure crises are handled effectively.
What challenges have you overcome on your professional journey to where you are today?
I think being taken seriously in an industry that doesn’t have many people that look like me has been a challenge and it has been quite exhausting. There were also instances when I got in my own way because I felt like a fraud when I started to become successful in business. Perhaps other women can relate to that feeling of constant self-doubt and uncertainty. It takes a lot to silence that voice that tries to convince you that you’re a fraud with your own success and that you don’t deserve great things especially when society tries to reinforce those blocks. It may not always be silent but I recognise it now and know what to say when it starts up again….”I am worthy”.
Do you have any words of wisdom for someone starting out in the marketing/communications industry?
Always be open to learning new things, be open to widening your circle and trust in your own uniqueness, it really does add value to the industry. I believe that wherever you find yourself it’s important to find a way to live a life that you love. With work I say give everything your best shot, you have to aim for excellence. But if you make a mistake show yourself compassion and be willing to learn, also remember that if you find yourself in a place that is not using your gifts or part of your purpose then know when to move on. Use your voice and your platforms to make an impact in any small way that you can, we are in an exciting industry which can shape so many narratives, take a moment to realise how you can make an impact.
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