What was your career path to Internal Communications?
I am fascinated with people’s life stories and career paths – what brought them to where they are right at this moment. I started my career in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, and over the years have interviewed many people – from celebrities to Nobel prize winners. Now that I am working in Internal Communications I can’t help but notice what a diverse path the many internal communicators I work with have taken to get here. I have noticed two consistent qualities: good communication and people skills.
I pulled together some of our recent guest bloggers stories about how they ended up in Internal Communications
Katie Marlow – My career path to communication has been colourful and fun. Before getting into communication I ran restaurants, and always had long chats with the owners about managing the teams, that made their businesses successful. I always took the view that if you want someone to help you, you need them to be on side. Being open, honest and listening to their point of view is critical to achieving that. It doesn’t matter what business you are in, you have to listen or you’ll never learn what your employees, customers or partners want. And if you don’t know what they want how can you possibly persuade them to support you and your organisation. The more I worked the more I realised I wanted to work in communication. So, with a couple of business qualifications under my belt I went to Bournemouth University to study Public Relations. Since graduating in ’99 I’ve worked in corporate communications in the NHS, insurance industry, IT and mobile sectors, local government and now I freelance and work closely with CIPR Inside.
Luke Dodd – My background is predominantly in B2B journalism and, during my career, I’ve certainly worked on some interesting titles. Topics have ranged from travel and art, to edible oils, fats and tobacco; you name it, I’ve probably written about it in some way. However, I reached a point where I wanted to look for new challenges, and that led me to Melcrum. Never having dealt with Internal Communication, I joined in 2011 as Features Editor and was immediately fascinated by the industry and the players within it. During these two years within the industry, I’ve learnt that a company’s most valuable asset isn’t products, processes or technology – it’s people. Internal Communication is the key to ensuring they feel connected and committed to achieving groundbreaking business results, creating competitive advantage for the business.
Marc Wright – I started my career making science documentaries for television. Although I read English at University, the theory was that if I could understand the subject then a TV audience probably could as well. But one weekend I moonlighted on a job in corporate communications and I was hooked. I returned to TV later in my career to do a couple of series for BBC2 but it was like dropping a video tape down a well – sometimes you heard a ripple, but often there was no reaction at all. What attracts me to internal communications is you usually get to see the results of what you are doing – for good or ill!
Angela Sinickas – I became aware of internal communication at a fairly young age, probably about ten. My mother worked at Campbell Soup Company, and every month she received the employees magazine, Harvester, at home. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world that there was a magazine that only employees of a particular company would be allowed to read. And it was free!
Penelope Newton-Hurley – By accident! I had been working in international marketing for eight years and was considering my next move when a former colleague offered me a 9-month part-time Internal Communications contract, working on an organisational change project. My initial response was to decline, the role not being my core profession. After some research into what Internal Communications was (as it was still a relatively new and evolving function at the time), I realised my skills and experience could be transposed. I took the role and the 9-month contract turned into a 7-year project to transform the internal communications culture of the company. Fifteen years on I feel very grateful to that first contract, as working in Internal Communications continues to be the most challenging and rewarding work I have carried out in my career.
I would love to hear how you got involved in Internal Communications – add your comment below.