NE Comms conversation #20 “the North East tends to be as passionate about comms as football”


I worked with Jayne Humble during my time at Northumberland and she’s the latest recruit to the NE comms conversation.

She brings a wealth of knowledge around internal comms and it’s a skills that’s increasingly important and in demand. She’s now working as an internal communications consultant with Northern Rail and has kindly answered our usual questions.

What made you get into the PR/comms business?
I went into marketing straight after university and quickly decided to specialise in internal communications. The rest is history, and I rarely look back.

How have things changed in the last 5 years?
Internal communications has really come into its own in the last five years. When I first started out in my internal comms career (more years ago now than I care to remember) my boss at the time asked me to find a course that I’d like to go on as part of my development. I struggled to find anything at the time that was solely focused on internal communications as a discipline. I just did the same search now, nearly ten years later and I’d be absolutely spoilt for choice. Organisations are finally recognising the benefits of good internal comms. Good job really, or I’d be regretting my chosen career path.

Are you optimistic about the future?

What single bit of advice would you give graduates just entering the business?
Add as many strings to your bow as possible. Brush up on your writing skills. Be different.

What are the key traits people in PR need to succeed?
You need to be passionate, bold and creative, with good writing skills. A thick skin is also useful, as well as a willingness to stay up all night to hit a deadline every once in a while.

For you, what’s the real benefit of good PR/comms?
From an internal comms point of view, it is seeing the tangible difference that effective communication makes within an organisation. Making non-believers see what a difference good internal comms can have on an organisation and its employees makes my job worthwhile.

What advice would you give the younger you?
Choose your battles and try not to sweat the small stuff. Although I probably wouldn’t have listened, so I’d be wasting my breath!

What worries you about the industry?
Ours is one of the only professions I can think of where almost everyone does what we do for a living (albeit to a much lesser degree) in some way in their working life. Everyone from the CEO to frontline workers communicate within a business, whether this is formally or informally. If it isn’t recognised that not everyone is an expert in communications, and a great deal of skill and planning is needed to succeed – it can lead to dodgy ground.

What’s the best thing about living/working in the North East?
I love living and working in the North East, and have always found plenty of exciting opportunities within the region – but most of all, the people are great! I attended a meeting up in Newcastle the other day with 10 people around the table. At the end of introducing themselves and telling the group about their professional credentials, every single person then disclosed to the group whether they were red and white or black and white. The people I have worked with in the North East tend to be as passionate about their comms as they are about their football team, which I really like. (I’m from a long line of red and whites if you’re wondering…)

What do you see as the next big thing?
I’m not sure anyone knows that just yet, but we’ll know soon enough, so be ready.

What keeps you up at night?
Usually too much coffee during the day.

What’s your favourite film?
I’m all about the boxsets these days. Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, The Wire. I’ll pretty much try anything. Recommendations welcome…

Who will play you when they get round to making the biopic of your life?
I dread to think! I don’t think I can offer a sensible answer to this one!

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