Name and title
Alex Sweeney, Account Director
When did you start working at Whiteoaks?
I joined Whiteoaks in June 2016
Tell us a bit more about your career progression within Whiteoaks.
Landing at a dusty office split across three floors on Farnham high-street almost five years ago turned out to be one of my better life choices. Starting as a media focused Account Executive, I quickly felt at home building up journalist relationships, developing creative media pitches to secure publication opportunities and coverage for a range of technology clients.
From there I began to work my way up the account management ladder, which while demanding was thoroughly enjoyable. My two years in account management was a crucial learning curve to finding ways to prioritise and juggle different tasks, while keeping a close eye on ensuring client campaigns remained on track, and that the team stayed motivated to make sure the magic happened. This coincided with a move to our new office – a heaven sent, new open plan space in Hook, which has been a game changer.
Fast-forward to April 2020 and I was promoted to Account Director, which has been a refreshing step change to help keep the job varied. The role combines client facing work with also the internal focus of being able to impact changes and decisions within Whiteoaks by acting as part of the business’s management team. The client aspect of the role is something I thrive on, delivering impactful and creative PR campaigns that help clients fulfil their communication and business objectives. All of which, leads to strong client relationships and working as an extension of their internal teams. I also play a key role in securing new business for the agency, both from existing clients and supporting the business development team in winning new ones typically through a pitch process.
How did you get into PR?
My lead into PR campaign came through my degree in sports journalism at Sunderland University, which included a few PR modules within it. Previous experience writing for local newspapers such as the Peterborough Telegraph, Cumbria Times & Star has been crucial to developing my skills for spotting and writing news stories, while spending two years as the Press Officer for the Newcastle Diamonds speedway club was perfect for honing my interview skills and writing to short deadlines. Riding a speedway bike was also an absolute bonus!
What’s been the highlight of your Whiteoaks career so far?
My career highlight is the long client retention rate that my team has been able to develop over the last couple of years. Despite the turbulence of 2020, we retained all our clients and have an average client relationship length of 3.5 years, which down to the endless hard work and determination of the entire team.
What makes you smile at the end of the day?
When it’s summertime and the daylight holds out just long enough to squeeze in a game of golf after I clock off. During the winter, playing 5-a-side football after work.
When I’m not PRing I like to…
Watching live sport, I will either be at the football, the races, or the cricket.