Emma initially joined BDO on a 12-month contract. Five and a half years later and she’s been able to explore her aspirations of working in PR and had the chance to take on a role that would usually be based in London, without leaving the Midlands. This is the story of why she’s stayed.
How did you first join BDO?
I joined as a Marketing Adviser supporting a Business Development Manager. The role was in the Midlands Marketing team and it was initially for maternity cover. While the role was based in the Midlands, it was also very much part of the national Marketing team, which meant that I got to see things from both perspectives.
What attracted you to the role?
It was a completely different role for me and it was a step up from what I was doing before. I had experience in a tech firm and a creative marketing and advertising agency, but I hadn’t worked in professional services. My manager at the time had just started looking after the whole of the Midlands area and the role I came into then was to support her. Part of the role was focused on local growing businesses and the local economy, which was really interesting and I felt like it gave me a real purpose as well as the opportunity to meet local business leaders. I also really liked the idea of working in central Birmingham in BDO’s modern and attractive office.
What happened next?
Well, I had an amazing first year. I worked on a lot of different projects and got to travel around the Midlands with partners, learning what they do and getting out of the office. The Business Development Manager who was my boss was an incredible support, I learned loads from her and we worked really well together. She’s actually one of my close friends now. Then the maternity cover contract ended and I moved into another role as a sector marketing advisor.
Shortly after that I decided that I wanted to go into PR, so I started looking for other opportunities. The Head of External Communications, who I had done some work with already, reached out to me about a Senior PR Adviser role that had become available in his team. I had an interview with him and I knew other people in the team well so I spoke to them about the role. Then it all just fell into place really. The best thing about it was that they gave me the chance to do this national London-based role, while being based in the Midlands, with a bit of time spent in London. I was lucky because another senior PR Manager in the team had done something similar while being based in Manchester and she proved that it could work. There aren’t many people who get the chance to do that kind of role, so it was an amazing opportunity. I did travel to London a lot in the first few months and not everyone would have been able to do that because of other commitments outside of work. So I think I was lucky in that respect too. It was just the right time for me.
How has your role changed since then?
I’ve been in the PR team now for four years. I came in as a senior PR Adviser and a year ago I was promoted to a PR Manager. My manager is really encouraging and while we work closely as a team, we also have responsibility for our own projects and areas of the business, so it hasn’t been a massive jump. I’m getting to work with so many people from around the business and that’s one of the things I like the most. Our team reports directly into the Leadership Team and we have a Communications Partner. So I’m working in a really well-respected part of the business and that helps because you know you’re making a difference.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The team I work with are really good. Every week you’ll be working on something completely different. The media agenda changes all the time and we have to stay on top of that. I enjoy working with journalists too – it’s so interesting meeting people and getting an idea of what they want to write about. I get to see BDO grow as a firm. Even in the five and a half years that I’ve been here, I’ve seen how we’ve grown and we’ve got big ambitions going forward, which is really exciting. It’s a great time to be working for BDO.
What would you say to anyone thinking of joining BDO?
It’s quite different, working in Professional Services. If you don’t have that kind of background, it can be a bit of a change – but my advice would be don’t let that put you off.
It’s a great place to work, there is a great culture here at BDO. While we take our jobs seriously, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. It’s really enjoyable work and there’s opportunity to learn a lot about so many different areas of business.