Vice president of Women in PR and deputy head of news at Direct Line Group, Claire Foster, Chart.PR, Dip CIPR, MCIPR, MPRCA
I wake up at 6am and check my emails whilst boiling the kettle, a ritual that is only disrupted by an early meeting in central London. I generally eat breakfast when I arrive at the office. Until then, a big mug of black coffee kick starts my day.
One of my commitments to myself this year has been to get more sleep and do more exercise. To make this happen, I’ve joined a second gym so I can attend classes with my colleague Chloe French (PR Moment’s Young Professional and PR Week’s 30 under 30). I pack my gym bag for our 30 minute ‘abs’ class and drive to work in Bromley.
We have our team meeting every Wednesday. Everyone from the brand media relations and social media team attends. The team have been busy in Blackpool and Brighton with Churchill the dog on his seaside tour. The team meeting is also an opportunity to plan which stories are going out, when, and if they need social amplification. We have Direct Line, Churchill, Privilege and Green Flag in our brand portfolio. Juggling brands and products, promoting and protecting their reputation is a real balancing act. We have the highest share of voice and message penetration in our industry, but we have to be careful not to be victims of our own success and cannibalise any opportunities.
In addition to my role on Women in PR, I am the chair of the Bromley community and social committee. We support local and national charities and I am in midst of organising the second year of the http://sprintathon.org/ – trying to beat cancer faster. We have also been selected as a call centre for Children in Need which our staff volunteers always love taking part in.
The PRCA CPD deadline is approaching. I’ve completed enough activities through my role on Women in PR, my training, breakfast briefings, evening debates and mentoring, but fitting in time to log it all is a struggle. I try and do it as I go along so I don’t forget.
Today I have lunch with a national journalist. Building and maintaining relationships with the media is still a very important part of my role. We discuss some of current trends in the industry, upcoming story ideas and a possible exclusive.
Our new team intern, who reports to me, Olivia Shalofsky, has just been featured in the Response Source intern blog. Direct Line is one of the only private sector in-house teams in the PRCA’s internships for all accreditation programmes. We only recruit people from non-redbrick universities and pay them more than the London living wage to promote diversity and inclusion in the industry.
This is the third time I have run an industry placement year and I’m incredibly proud of all that they have achieved. Christopher Meers, who was highly commended at the PR Week PRCA awards, having now graduated, has started a position as a junior account exec at award-winning agency Brands 2 Life.
Earlier this year, I went on a residential management training course. We undertook a very detailed personality profile, which revealed that I am a ‘striver relator’. In its simplest sense, this means that I am driven by output and focused on getting a job done, whilst doing it through people and relationships. Mine was the only profile in my group that stated that I should work in corporate messaging or marketing. I already knew that I loved what I do, but I found it fascinating that my personality profile predicted my career so accurately. I think this is why I enjoy the mentoring so much – helping other students find their ideal job. Jane Baerselman the Women in PR events secretary and I recently did a presentation to the University of Miami at the PRCA.
A quiet evening in after a busy day. We’ve just launched a new discount for members of Women in PR from O2 so I draft the marketing email for that. We have a busy Autumn/Winter events schedule planned and I’ve just secured a wonderful speaker for our November lunch. A lot of the admin for my role at Women in PR has to be done after work at home. We are a very busy group of volunteers who all have even busier day jobs!
I check my emails, just before going to bed, and catch up on The Apprentice on iPlayer.