Laura Moss, joint managing director of agency The PR Office, says her teenage self would have been thrilled if she had known how her career would turn out. In our quick catch-up, she describes this career and offers advice for others hoping to succeed in the communications industry.
What did you want to be when you were a teenager?
I remember having the obligatory careers advice session at school. I am not sure it was overly insightful but it did get me thinking. Based on this meeting and my skill set, I set my sights on becoming a researcher at the BBC. Somewhere along the way, I am not sure where, this became PR and, as they say, the rest is history.
Would your teenage self be pleased with the way things have turned out?
Yes. Given my answer to the first question, I am not sure my teenage self could have envisaged where I would end up but I think she would definitely give me a high-five for how things have turned out.
How did you get your first break?
My first break came in the charity sector. After finishing university, I interned at Shelter for a few months in the media department. I had previously undertaken internships at PR agencies but wanted to get some experience in the not-for-profit sector. My time at Shelter was a real eye opener and convinced me that I wanted to start my career in the charity sector. Whilst I was interning, a job came up at The NSPCC for a media assistant. With the help of my manager at Shelter I applied. Her assistance was invaluable as she guided me through how to fill in the application form, which may seem trivial to some but if you have ever filled in an application form for a charity sector job, you will know that there is a specific approach that they look for. I secured an interview, was offered the job and off I set on the PR career ladder. My 18 months at The NSPCC gave me exposure to all aspects of PR from drafting statements for the policy team to PRing fundraising events and crisis management. I also got to work on The Full Stop Campaign, a ground-breaking 10 year-long fundraising campaign.
What is the best career decision you have made?
I’m not sure there is one decision – there have been a number that have got me to where I am today. From moving to Lansons which gave me some of the best training in the industry, to my sabbatical in Italy which allowed me to develop skills which were then invaluable to my role as a communications professional, to saying “yes” to spending six months in Manchester Co-op in 2013, during one of the most tumultuous times in its history and then moving to The PR Office and be part of something which is evolving all the time.
Any career regrets?
I don’t have any regrets, per se. Perhaps, if I was doing it all again I would have moved once more in my 20s but I guess hindsight is a wonderful thing and – the fact I didn’t has not hindered my career in anyway.
Why The PR Office?
At the time I moved I was looking for a new challenge and environment. The PR Office had an eclectic mix of interesting and challenging clients across a broad range of sectors. The move also offered me the chance to become involved in the running of a business and the opportunity to help shape and build an agency was, and still is, a compelling one. The PR Office’s entrepreneurial ethos means that there are not multiple layers of management and those who show aptitude and drive are given opportunities to be able to carve out the career they want.
What are the greatest challenges of your present role?
Finding talented and ambitious individuals as well as keeping the current team members motivated and focused.
What advice can you give to others in the communications industry?
Whether it is what is happening in current affairs or the latest industry trends you need to read, inform yourself, form your own opinions and trust these opinions! To seek opportunities for clients and to be great advisors, communications practitioners need to be able to talk more broadly and confidently about what is happening in the world as well as the industry and then relate this, where relevant, back to clients.
(Originally published by PRmoment on 14 March 2017)