Sarah Hughes is the communications co-ordinator – Social and Digital at Teesside University as well as being a multiple CIPR award winner. She was kind enough to give her thoughts about PR in the North East in this guest blog.
What made you get into the PR/comms business?
I have always loved organising things, events, people, plans anything…..Fast forward a few years and a whistle stop tour of Leeds Met and I was in love with the City, the University, the people and importantly the course. And so it began….. My career has predominantly been in the public sector with time in the NHS, local government and recently higher education – people with a strong passion for something really intrigue me and I think it is fair to say that those working in this sector really do have passion and so helping them has led me to where I am now.
How have things changed in the last 5 years?
The focus of PR has shifted massively even since I started my PR degree in 2006, I remember a lecturer posing the question ‘will web 2.0 ever come to the fore’ I think it is safe to say that it definitely came and has moved on rapidly since. The pace has been quick and the skill to respond has been more important than ever. PR is no longer about column inches in printed newspapers and publications, it’s about being part of the conversation and we need to make sure that all channels keep up with this. We are now faced with a switched on audience that have a big appetite.
Are you optimistic about the future?
Yes, embrace the future and it is very bright. I think that we are at a very exciting time and PR is a great place to be, the future is allowing us to adapt, stay connected and enjoy what we do.
What single bit of advice would you give graduates just entering the business?
Don’t be afraid to challenge the norm.
What are the key traits people in PR need to succeed?
Honesty, integrity, a strong work ethic and the ability to smile at all times!
For you, what’s the real benefit of good PR/comms?
For me it’s about being able to make a difference and help people. In my current role at the University being able to reach those daunted by higher education reach their potential and helping to promote the ground breaking research being done here in the North East is really rewarding.
What advice would you give the younger you?
Be an early adopter of new things.
What ‘s the best thing about living/working in the North East?
I think we have it all, great people, a good quality of life and access to some of the most beautiful places.
What do you see as the next big thing? I think we still have more to see from some of the channels we are currently using and I think we have a bigger part to play in being part of these channels.
What keeps you up at night?
Don’t hate me for saying that I sleep quite well!!!!
Who will play you when they get round to making the biopic of your life?
Charlize Theron, for no other reason than, I can choose and she is gorgeous!