BY: Esme Banks Marr
Two years ago, I met Cathy Hayward for a coffee and a chat. I’m sure if you’re reading this you’ve done the same thing, at some point. A few weeks later, the day before Good Friday, I started as an account executive at the enigmatic Magenta Associates. I was met by three very friendly faces in the office. I then had a four-day weekend… I obviously enjoyed my position immediately.
Day two consisted of a 5.28am train up to Banbury for a kick off meeting with a new client. A combination of these first two experiences has, in retrospect, helped me understand this very varied and beautiful business.
I don’t mind admitting that I’ve learnt the ropes of PR (and to a certain extent, FM) on-the-job. I’m now what’s affectionately (I hope) referred to as a ‘Magenta original’. Since I’ve been part of the team, Magenta has moved to new offices, doubled turnover and employee numbers. I’ve shared multiple glasses of champagne, bowls of crisps, smoothies and strong coffees with my incredible colleagues over the past two years. And in honour of my work anniversary, I thought I’d jot down a selection of other things I’ve learnt and experienced, since day one:
- I guess I’d call myself a survivor of Southern Rail – I’m sorry if I’ve ever been late to a meeting with you. How much longer can we blame “trains”?
- I’ve been to two BIFM award ceremonies… That’s enough said.
- I’ll happily chat about cleaning, security, fire dampeners, employee engagement, nutritional programmes, change management, productivity or fit-outs, all day long.
- I’ve become a data snob – I’m client-spoilt in this regard; we all know why.
- I know [most of] my FM acronyms, and the phonetic alphabet (try spelling my email address down the phone).
- I tend to think I’m a coffee connoisseur, as well as an actual barista (no, I’ve never worked in a coffee shop), thanks to the in-house Magenta espresso machine.
- I developed a new-found respect for journalists. You guys are great, I mean, my childhood dream of wanting to be an investigative journalist died when I became a PR, but… despite the faces I might pull at my desk, we really appreciate when you hear us out. Truly.
- I genuinely care about the workplace issues I’m knowledgeable on, such as biophillia and ergonomics.
- I’m comfortable being (and eager to be) an extension of a PR team in both a large corporate, an SME or a small start-up.
- You could call me a workplace guru, but let’s be honest, we all have a long way to go in this education.
- I’ve celebrated too many awareness days to keep track of.
- I’m a pro at the underground and finding the quickest route from A-B in London (don’t ever listen to the GPS man on Jo’s phone).
- I’ve been lucky enough to have tried and tested some of London’s greatest restaurants and some equally fab shell garage lunches after driving to client meetings outside of London (yep, we travel far and wide).
- I’ve been to Germany and Spain with my Magenta hat on.
- I’ve just this week won my second contract for Magenta, who will be starting in May.
If you’re lucky enough to work here, you’ll just smile (or laugh, knowing inside knowledge) reading this (do we really read each other’s blog posts?), if you know us I doubt you’ll be shocked, and if you don’t – you probably should. Through the individual influences of my amazing colleagues, and my own learning along the way, I’ve learnt not to be afraid to bring my own approach and ideas to PR (some will inevitably be shot down, banked, shelved, loved, hated…). I acknowledge and appreciate it’s an endless cycle of rejection, and winning. I can’t say I’m ever bored. I can voice my opinion and brainstorm ideas in confidence to the intelligent, strong and innovative people I share an office with. Oh, and I’ve learnt to love working anywhere and everywhere.
Long may it continue.