Meet James, Alive’s communications consultant and former journalist, with a burning passion for the public sector and a penchant for horse racing of a slightly unusual kind….
How did you first get into comms?
Having spent three years completing a science degree, I realised that spending my days in a lab coat surrounded by test tubes just wasn’t for me! I had always loved writing and journalism fascinated me, so I arranged to do work experience at my local paper the Bournemouth Echo.
How was life as a journalist?
Following in my big sister’s footsteps (she was also a reporter), my work experience turned into a job and I went on to retrain, gaining my National Certificate in Journalism (NCE).
Being a small regional paper, I was able to get involved in loads of different things. I started on the sports desk before moving across to news and really enjoyed the variety. But after five years I decided it was time to try something different and began to investigate PR and comms roles.
First agency job?
I joined a specialist tech PR agency for a year and gained some valuable experience, before spotting an inhouse comms role at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service. It immediately appealed to me, especially as I’d had a lot to do with the emergency services as part of my job at the paper.
It was fantastic and what started as a one-year contract gladly turned into something permanent. I found the role to be a perfect fit for me and it was while there that I first met Alan, co-founder of Alive.
When did you join Alive?
I continued to follow Alive from afar and a few years later got talking to Alan and he mentioned an opportunity had opened up, which I may be interested in. I’d left the fire service by this point and was looking for a new challenge, so I applied and happily got the job.
I’d always loved what Alive does and had heard great things about them, so the chance to join the team and to be part of that was very appealing. I knew Alive was an agency with a great culture that ‘walks the walk’ – they don’t just support clients to create amazing workplaces through creative and thoughtful comms, they’ve done it themselves.
What are your key responsibilities?
As communications consultant my key responsibilities include working with the design team to help build out campaigns for clients, considering different channels and platforms and how to optimise results. Basically, applying the experience and ideas I have to help the design team produce what Alive is known for – amazing creatives!
I love the variety of what I’m doing and get stuck into everything from pitch documents, to campaign evaluations and copywriting. I’m also working on some stuff for a fire service client right now, which has given me a chance to put my public sector experience to good use.
Finally, something we’d never guess about you?
My party trick is that I can say the alphabet backwards in less than three seconds.
Something else you’d probably never guess about me is that I’ve run a full lap around Ascot race course, including climbing over every jump I met along the way. The whole thing was very tiring and also not the most comfortable of experiences, as it was minus any clothing (being part of some heavy 21stbirthday celebrations!). It’s fair to say I’m a little older and wiser now and my racing days are probably over!