Calling all PR pros – aspiring or seasoned – we’ve got some fresh careers advice for you from #CAAlumni and steering group member, Abs Gandhi.
Abs started off as an intern at Freuds back in 2014 and he is now the PR manager – EMEA at tech company, Snowflake. If you want to know how you can leverage your agency position to go inhouse, the importance of relationship management and why those from under-represented communities should work on their personal brand, then read on…
Can you briefly tell us how you got into the role you’re currently in?
Snowflake used to be one of the clients that I represented when I was working at a PR agency. I helped launch Snowflake into the UK market in 2017, and it was my favourite account to work on. It really helped me to grow and flourish in my role. A role came up to lead the PR in EMEA and it was the perfect opportunity for me. I knew how great the company was, as well as the employees within the company. The client I was reporting into is now my boss, which really helped me fit into my role easily and lead the Snowflake PR engine in EMEA.
What skill would you say is essential to possess in your role?
Relationship-management. There are so many tools and skills that help you flourish in a role in PR, but without the ability to form good connections with fellow colleagues, senior leaders, and of course, media, you will really struggle to drive real impact in your role and for the business. If it wasn’t for my abilities to focus on relationships, I may never have secured my current role.
What’s the best/most helpful career advice you ever received?
PR is not just about what you do for the company or clients you represent – it’s how you conduct PR for yourself. If you’re bringing something to the table, whether that’s unique or otherwise impactful, you should really shout about this. I have often felt that people from ethnic or low socio-economic backgrounds always have more to do when progressing in their career, and it’s essential to take the time to focus on your own brand, as much as you do in your job.
What project are you most proud of working on?
Being responsible for the growth of PR across EMEA is a project in itself, and one I’m most proud of. When I joined the company there were only three core markets. Now we have PR presence across 17 countries which shows massive growth, and one that I’m truly happy to have played a key role in.
Why should people consider a career in PR?
Diversity in each working day. I often get asked, what do you do in your day-to-day role, and it’s the most difficult question to answer because every day is a new day. And that’s what really separates PR from other industries. You have the ability to be creative, expressive, strategic, be at events (domestic or international) – all completely different experiences and which help you develop skills all-round.
What can people do to move up the ladder in the PR industry?
One thing that I tell anyone starting their PR career, and one that I think is essential in the creative industries, is to remain authentic and be true to yourself, without compromising too many of your core values.
The other thing more specific to PR is to find your niche. There are a number of PRs out there, but to climb the ladder and make yourself known in your agency/company/amongst colleagues, you should hone in on something that you’re interested in (just as writing or another specific skill set), and one that makes an impact. For example, in agency life and still in my role now, developing strong and authentic relationships with media has really helped me in my career in creating trust and of course, landing the right stories.
Which creative industry trailblazer inspires you and why?
A great deal of managers I’ve had have really inspired me, and have become mentors and great friends at the same time. I’ve always looked up to them because they have enabled me to be authentic, support my career, and always been a great sounding board if I’m ever facing any difficulties. Having a good manager can really propel your career, and I’m grateful to have had such an amazing group of people manage me.
Looking for a new role in PR, check out our opportunities board!