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In this regular look at life at work we ask individuals about their careers. Here director and publicist at CL Communications, Caroline Newson Lennox goes under the spotlight.
How long have you been in your current position? I set up my business in early 2009 while living in Canada, working with production companies on both their corporate PR and their production slate for networks such as the CBC, HGTV Canada, Discovery Channel and Slice. Other clients have included international media relations for the Toronto International Film Festival and even the world’s largest speed dating company. Since moving back to Scotland last summer, I have continued to work with Toronto-based companies but focused on building up my UK client base. To date I have been working on some innovative projects including Savalas/Bang! Productions’ Edinburgh Film Festival hit The Dunwich Horror and with renowned public arts practitioner and ‘wastelands’ photographer Dan Dubowitz.
Describe your route to this position I have been working on the communications side now for almost 15 years, primarily in the broadcasting, film and creative industries including jobs at Channel 4 Television (Nations and Regions office in Glasgow), the BBC both in London and Glasgow, Edinburgh International Film Festival and the year long program Glasgow 1999: UK City of Architecture and Design. My television publicity experience has covered the gamut of genres from period dramas such as Pride and Prejudice (starring Colin Firth!) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall to the soaps Hollyoaks and Brookside, from BBC Scotland’s acclaimed arts series X-S to Channel 4’s Late Night Poker. On moving to Toronto in 2001, I also worked for a number of specialty Canadian television networks including Alliance Atlantis (HGTV, Food Network) and Corus Entertainment (W Network, Movie Central, YTV, Treehouse) before holding the position of Director of Publicity at Canwest Broadcasting for Global Television (equivalent here in the UK would be ITV). In early 2009 I decided to set up CL Communications to offer clients full-service PR.
When you started out what was your dream job? My first love was theatre, so after graduating from Glasgow University with an arts degree, I worked as a house manager at the Citizens Theatre. My big break into PR and dream job was my role as publicity assistant at the National Theatre on London’s South Bank. This experience provided a fantastic opportunity to hone my PR skills, promoting internationally renowned theatre productions boasting such acting talent as Judi Dench, Jude Law and Bill Nighy. There were always last minute tickets for West End shows up for grabs courtesy of the friendly box office manager Michael. I would usually go to see theatre and dance performances around three evenings a week – such a treat!
What’s your dream job now? Continuing to work on projects that involve a close collaboration with the creative team and an opportunity to drive both the strategic communications plan and to contribute to the overall business plan. Increasingly I am getting involved in projects that offer up a broader role, forging new commercial partnerships and promotions. More and more I am taking on (and thoroughly enjoying) a producer role, taking a project from initial creative concept to final delivery.
What’s the best thing about your current job? Spotting promotional opportunities or possible partnerships for clients to help them achieve their goals. These goals might be to bring their work to a wider audience or to brainstorming a project to get it from concept to commission. I truly love working in the creative industries as it attracts amazingly talented people.
What’s the worst? Part of the challenge of what I bring to the table is to manage expectations and being very realistic about can be achieved. Working in the creative industries you collaborate with very passionate people, my job is to share their enthusiasm but balance this with the bigger picture.
What advice would you offer to someone starting out? Be a keen bean! Employers and colleagues really do enjoy and appreciate working alongside someone who is keen to learn and will pull out all of the stops to help them do a job really well.
Build up your own intelligence network not just with those in your department or in your company but find ways to connect into like-minded folk. It’s surprising what this broader prospective can do to help you build on your marketing and business smarts.
Anything else? The media landscape is every changing and evolving, stay on top of your game and be a connector.
Caroline Newson Lennox is director of CL Communications.
WORKING THE DREAM