How did I get into IC?

I’ve been wanting to start my own blog for quite a while now but never really knew where to begin. However, earlier this week it was announced that we had been shortlisted for a CIPRinside award which has thrilled me to no end. So I thought that this was a perfect week to start my journey into the blogging world.

I thought I’d dedicate my first post to my actual physical journey into Internal Communications as I’m often asked by people how my career started! It’s a bit of a longish one so might be worth grabbing a cup of tea and a slice of cake. Promise my future ones will be much shorter.

Internal Communications has been part of my life for around 10 years in some form or another. I never saw myself as a writer or particularly creative, I liked science and all things technical.  I left university with my 2.1 in IT tucked under my arms, ready to face the world with ambitions to become the next female Bill Gates. Fast forward six months and I was working in an organisation data inputting prescriptions. My dreams of working in web developing were slipping away. Work was limited in the North of England and I really didn’t want to leave behind my beloved city, Manchester. So I persevered in the role for a further six months before my parents intervened as they were concerned that I wasn’t my usual bubbly self. I used to wake up in the mornings dreading work, no one spoke as it was all about targets and I spent much of my time wondering what on earth had happened to the enthusiastic 22 year old, who was so looking forward to her future. After the chat I decided it was time to take control of my life back and I handed my notice in without another role to go to. It was a risk but I needed some time to reflect and figure out what I wanted to do. It was this point in my life I decided I would never work another day in a role that made me so miserable – life is too short!

I started applying for basic admin jobs to tide me over and I booked myself a trip to Kenya for a few weeks. A few days before my flight I was called in for an interview to become an admissions officer at MMU. This is where my IC journey really started.

I was offered the role and started work as soon as I got back. During my time I noticed that the faculty didn’t really communicate with each other about business, changes in teams, new starters etc so I decided to create a newsletter called ‘Toasty Times’ as our building looked like a toast rack (clever hey!). From this fortnightly newsletter I was asked to support my marketing colleagues a couple of times a week. It was a wonderful lady called Katherine who gave me encouragement to apply for a masters in Strategic Marketing as she saw how much I enjoyed the work. I completed the masters over three years whilst working part time and in my final year I moved to a new role at the NHS as a project support officer for a mentoring/coaching scheme.

This was a brand new project that helped develop my skills in Communications, from creating newsletters, intranets and websites to brand development. My boss Becci was one of the best and she was hugely encouraging. Which gave me a huge amount of confidence in my ability and skills.

A few years later I applied for a Comms Officer role at a Mental Health Trust. Again this was a brand new role with a huge focus on IC. I loved this job, it helped me develop into a specialist. I loved working with colleagues and cresting new channels. My biggest achievement was developing a brand new intranet from scratch as I was able to tap into my, albeit slight rusty, web development skills.

Of course it wasn’t always plain sailing. There were plenty of challenges along the way, things that tested my resilience (more on this in future blogs), but I have no regrets!

I decided that after almost seven years I wanted to move away from the public sector and gain some commercial experience. It was a tough decision but the best one I’ve made to date.

I started working at Manchester Airports Group almost three years ago as a specialist in Colleague Engagement. Soon after we had a change in our team and I moved to manage internal comms for operational colleagues based at East Midlands and Manchester. Working with remote colleagues took me back to my NHS days. I learnt so much in this role and my manager Anna was fantastic and a fabulous mentor. It was around this time I decided I wanted to expand my networks and help out in the IC community, especially by expanding networks in the North. I joined the CIPR inside committee last March and it’s been a fab experience. I’m looking forward to continuing my work with the committee and seeing what the future brings. A couple of months after I joined CIPR inside we had another change in the team and I became Comms and Engagement Manager for Manchester then a few months ago I moved on to managing our Group and MAG US services. This is a really exciting role as it has taken me into international markets which I’m loving.

This is a whistle stop tour of my IC life and even though it hasn’t been easy I’m extremely proud of where I am today and what I’ve achieved.

Internal Communications is a huge passion of mine and no matter how tough the day has been, I always wake up the next day with a leap in my step, excited to start all over again!

Thanks for reading! If you want to follow my daily musings on IC and other random stuff then you can follow me on Twitter @Advita_p.


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