My Life in PR – This Much I Know, is an interview series that talks to PR professionals about their career journey and what they’ve learned along the way. From the innovation that they wish they had invented, to their favourite books and the biggest challenges that they face on the job. This series covers more than just career advice and takes a look at the person behind the title.Pamela Kavanagh is PR, Marketing and Communications Manager at Special Olympics Ireland, a sporting organisation for children and adults in Ireland with intellectual disabilities. Pamela joined Special Olympics Ireland in 2013, where she works on key campaigns and implements the organisation's communications strategy. Pamela graduated from a Diploma of Education, Journalism with Online Public Relations in December 2021.
Name the one work tool that you couldn’t live without.
Trello or any decent collaborative project management tool.
What communications innovation do you wish you had come up with?
The mobile phone. It has enabled communications professionals worldwide to tell more stories.
What is the best book you have read in the past year?
‘Shantaram’ by Gregory David Roberts. Based on his own life, it transports you to the streets of India and is so beautifully written you are brought on a roller coaster of emotions. Definitely worth a read this summer.
Why did you decide to follow a career in PR?
I fell in love with the excitement of the role early on in my career. Working at the epicentre of an organisation is both thrilling and challenging. No two days are the same and I love that.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at the start of your career?
The importance of a business mentor. A person that you can go to for advice, help keep you focused, bounce ideas off or give you perspective when things are getting on top of you.
What are the biggest PR challenges that you face?
Resourcing, both within organisations and within the media industry and competition for attention. There's a lot of change going on as the media industry tries to cut costs.
Tell us about a campaign or piece of work that you’ve worked on that you are proud of.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a lot of challenges but it also forced many of us to get really creative. During the first lockdown period in 2020, I was lucky enough to come across a group of amazing creative professionals, operating under the name of Good Brains for Good Brands. This group of people found themselves temporarily out of work due to the pandemic and volunteered their time to help charities. Together we came up with the 'Can't Stop Now' campaign for Special Olympics Ireland. Not only was it commercially a huge success, but it was also a great example of the best of humanity.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in their career in PR?
Be curious. This will help you to unearth better stories and build relationships.
What are the three biggest lessons that you have learned throughout your career?
- Storytelling is at the heart of everything, it's in our DNA.
- Every day is a school day, whether I am working with a photographer or interviewing someone for a story, I always come away having learned something new.
- Keep it simple.
Name three principles that you hold dear when it comes to your PR work.
- Cut the jargon.
- Talk to people like humans.
- Building and maintaining relationships is essential.
If you could make one lasting change in the PR industry, what would it be?
Change the over-reliance on emails.
What are your top three media relations tips?
- Pitch relevant stories.
- Pick up the phone.
- Most of all, journalists are people too. Treat them as such.
What do you love most about working in PR?
Meeting interesting people.
Who in the media do you most admire and why?
Businesswoman and broadcaster Norah Casey. She speaks so authentically.
Who was your first boss in a media related job and what did you learn from them?
I have been lucky in my career to have worked with some amazing bosses who have taught me to champion others which is such an important lesson and something I try to practise as a manager.More about PamelaLinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/pamela-kavanaghTwitter: @PamKavanagh5
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