For our Day in the Life series, we look at the daily work habits, schedules and routines from people in a variety of roles and careers around the world.
Ishtar Schneider, Account Director (Health) at Edelman London
Ishtar Schneider is the Account Director (Health) at Edelman London. With over a decade’s worth of experience working in the PR industry, Ishtar’s clients and projects have been recognised at the state and national levels by leading industry bodies.
As you know, there isn’t really a “typical” day in the life of an agency PR person – that’s one of the things I love about our industry, it always keeps me on my toes!
My days usually start with a podcast on the commute into the office – I’ve been loving some Radiolab ones and The Dropout about the rise and fall of the Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes.
Then it really depends on what campaigns we have on at the minute – I might be:
- working with my team to sell in a story about research into the benefits of horseback riding therapy for children with autism
- working on a creative approach to drive increased awareness and action on diseases like tuberculosis
- showcasing healthcare innovation in Africa.
I’m also involved in the Edelman diversity and inclusion (D&I) task force – about 25 different representatives from across the London office – who are helping drive forward our initiatives that aim to make our agency more open and inclusive for people from all walks of life.
We have some great initiatives in place and it’s been really inspiring to see leadership “walk the walk” – I was incredibly impressed to see one of my colleagues receive a promotion while on maternity leave.
My team is about 50 people so it’s a really fun, collaborative environment to be a part of. My afternoons are usually the best time to regroup with my US-based teams and clients – so I’m usually on a number of Skype calls keeping things moving.
Ashleigh Bonica, Senior Account Executive at Edelman
Ashleigh Bonica is a Senior Account Executive at Edelman where she works on executing communications strategies across various channels. In addition, she is also a tutor in the Master of Marketing Communications program at the University of Melbourne.
It sounds cliché but it’s very hard to describe what a day is like as everyday can be so different. If my day isn’t swamped with meetings, I’ll usually spend the morning creating a to-do list and going through emails to ensure I can have a productive a day as possible.
I’ll usually then follow this with drafting and sending out tailored pitches to media. If we get great feedback on a story, most of my day can be spent liaising with media and organizing the logistics for interviews with our client spokesperson.
More recently, I’ve been planning for an event, so my day usually consists of collaborating with influencer talent managers to create briefs and concepts, liaising with the event manager to confirm all the logistics for the event space, working with my team to ensure briefs, guest lists, props are all under control and then of course, cross checking the budget!
Maya Ivanovic, Account Manager at Palin Communications
Maya Ivanovic is an Account Manager at health PR agency Palin Communications, where she is working with a range of clients in the pharmaceutical, consumer health, natural therapies, not-for-profit and medical innovation sectors.
I don’t think I have a typical ‘day in the life’ – which I absolutely love, but it can be tricky to find your ‘groove’ sometimes. This is especially true as working life has changed significantly in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
I usually kick off my day by reading and doing some brain training. Then it’s full steam ahead with whatever is on for the day. This could be:
- Getting creative in a brainstorm for a prospective client
- Working with my team to pitch an exciting health story
- Attending a shoot, pitch, event or conference
- Announcing the registration or reimbursement of a lifesaving medicine
- Doing a fun team activity – we went axe-throwing recently!
- Meeting with my fellow Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) NSW Young Guns – a committee focused on professional development opportunities for PRs in the early stages of their career.
Things change so quickly in PR, it keeps things interesting and on your toes.
Danielle Veivers, Account Manager at Honner
Danielle Veivers is an Account Manager at corporate and financial PR agency Honner, where she works with a range of clients in the financial services sector, including property, banking, superannuation, ethical investing, asset management, and private equity.
It is a dynamic industry and my role is quite varied. But there is always one constant – coffee!
Typically, I start my day by catching up on emails and reading the papers. This helps me feel organised, in control, and starts my day off right – it is the work version of a big bowl of Weet-Bix! It also sparks my creativity as I often come across story ideas and angles that I can workshop for my clients.
I also like to start my day with the ‘big ticket’ items. I find I am most energised and inspired in the morning and having ‘focus’ time leads to higher quality work for clients and the team.
This may include working on content, such as media releases or contributed articles, strategy and message development, brainstorming creative ideas and proactive pitches, or hosting interviews and planning events.
If possible, I prefer to schedule meetings in the afternoons, which may include client WIPs, team meetings, or mentoring sessions.
I love that no day is the same in my industry. With a 24-hour news cycle we must be adaptive, flexible, and responsive. It is a very exciting role!
Venus Landero, Account Manager at Soda Communications
Venus Landero is an Account Manager at boutique PR consultancy Soda Communications, where she works with brands across beauty, lifestyle, food, health and non-profit sectors.
There isn’t really a “day in a life” in PR. Every day is different especially with everything going on with COVID-19. I try to keep everything streamlined, doing things like it’s a normal day in the office is key to surviving back-to-back days at home.
I always start my day with clearing my inbox, I can’t stand an inbox that has countless flagged emails and e-newsletters that need to be filed or deleted.
With the team having been working from home, every morning I’ll create a to-do list and circulate this with the rest of the team. This ensures that everyone is across my time as I am with theirs.
After emails have been filed and to-do lists have been circulated, I take few minutes to scroll through news sites and google, this gives me ideas for coming up pitches and I like to be informed with what’s going on in the world and if this ties into or affects the brands I’m workig with.
Daily morning zoom calls are a MUST for working at home! At Soda, we’ve started doing a check in zoom at 10am, which can be used to discuss current work or deadlines or even to just brainstorm.
After this it’s a free for all. Pitching, writing media materials, reporting, planning media send outs and the daily running of each client. This will change every day really depending on what’s needed and what’s urgent. Using project management sites like Asana, are a god send to keep track of everything.
I do have one rule that I follow every day and that is to step away from my computer and have lunch / take a walk. I have to make myself step away because I know if I don’t I’ll literally be sitting staring at a screen all day.
Usually when I’m working from the office, I drive into work and then drive home, I’m constantly traveling which helps me differentiate from work life to home life. What I learnt while working from home is that it’s hard to have a work and home life when your home is also your office (it kind of blurs into one), by actually closing my screen and stepping away to have lunch helps me keep balance to my day.
Ayla Fitzgibbon, Account Director at Red Havas
Ayla Fitzgibbon is an Account Director at public relations agency Red Havas, where she specialises in technology (B2B, B2C), business, and whisky PR.
As the saying goes, no two days are the same, and it has become more apparent since the beginning of the pandemic. I begin my day with a morning meditation followed by a nourishing breakfast.
My team has moved to a working from home format which kicks off with a daily morning call to discuss highlights from the past 24 hours, to training and introduction of new initiatives.
Just last week we introduced Havas Hustle, an initiative to offer free advice and support across the complete spectrum of capabilities within Havas to those who have been impacted by the pandemic.
My days are spent in meetings with my team and clients via virtual calls. I reserve space in my calendar to complete larger tasks and review items. These days it can be anything from developing brand strategies, to liaising with media, to programming chatbots and organising virtual events.
Since I’ve been home, I’ve be mindful to take a break from my desk by having lunch outside and taking a walk around the neighbourhood.
Karina Durham, Associate Director of Client Services at Palin Communications
Karina Durham is an Associate Director of Client Services at PR agency Palin Communications, where she works with clients across health and medical sectors.
I’m sure every PR professional will say a similar thing, but no two days are the same. One thing that is relatively consistent is that I’m a (very) early riser.
I’m often up and active by 5:30am to exercise, tend to emails and work on any major strategy development or writing before 8:30am. That way, my mind is clear and I’m in a calm rhythm by the time my whole team has started their day.
Recently, my days have been filled with taking briefs on exciting new projects, overseeing my active client portfolio, preparing for competitive pitches, liaising with journalists at consumer and health professional media platforms and staying on top of my own and my team’s professional development plans.
I also make time to progress our new agency initiative, The Mindful Movement. I wanted to make sure our team was getting the support they needed when COVID-19 hit, so I worked with some of my consultants to create this bespoke initiative to keep the agency focused on good mental health and wellbeing practices.
In a very short period of time, we have managed to fully engage with our whole agency, decipher what they really want from the business in terms of mental health support and implement changes that matter.
These include establishing a mental health and wellbeing policy, better over-time tracking, education sessions with the experts in this space, and importantly, a thriving social calendar so we can keep having fun even while in isolation.