Working in PR: An insider’s view

By Emily Fishburn, Senior Account Executive

Name, title and how long you’ve been at Whiteoaks

Emily Fishburn (also known as ‘Fishbowl’, a spin on my surname for my love of cocktails), I am Senior Account Executive in Team Taurus and in November I’ll be coming up to four years at Whiteoaks and progressing into a Junior Account Manager role at the end of the year.

In your current role, what does a typical day look like?

Typically, it starts with checking emails and news sites, briefing the content team on their writing for the day, followed by keeping in touch with my team via Microsoft Teams, Zoom and email and catching up with clients on calls.

How did you get into PR?

Once I graduated, I did some work experience at a local marketing agency, where I had the chance to work within each department and found the wide variety of tasks and buzz of the PR department the most exciting. From there my decision was set that I’d aim to work in PR and fortunately found my opportunity to kickstart my career at Whiteoaks as Junior Account Executive for Team Taurus in November 2016.

What did you study and how has it helped you grow your career?

I studied a BA (Hons) degree in business with marketing at the University of Surrey. This degree in particular taught me the importance of keeping up with the news agenda to be aware of the ever-changing world that businesses need to adapt to, which is something that has carried with me into my career. More generally, time management, organisation and writing are also key skills which are instilled in you at uni and helped me to get off to a good start in PR. Whiteoaks is also great in training its employees, I feel the company has always been very invested in me as a person and has always been encouraging and supportive of helping me grow in confidence with these skills to be able to develop in my career.

Why PR?

There’s a lot of great aspects about PR, but for me, I really enjoy the social aspect of networking with journalists and clients and discussing new and interesting ideas. I also enjoy the teamwork aspect of all working towards an end goal, for example seeing a research project through from an initial brainstorm across the content, media and accounts teams, to achieving great coverage of the new and interesting research for the client.

What is the best part of your day?

The best part of the day for me is catching up with clients and my team discussing some of the results we’ve achieved and creating a plan and suggestions for what we’re going to work on next to keep the momentum going.

What advice would you give to people who want to get into PR as a career?

Try to secure some work experience or an internship with a PR agency – you can only get a real understanding and feel for the industry and whether it’s for you through first-hand experience.

What do you like most about your current role?

Using the experience I’ve gained at Whiteoaks  working in varying roles, which has included reporting as a JAE through to pitching to the media in an AE role to advise and support both clients and team members while learning new things from my team members.

What has been your funniest / quirkiest moment in PR?

It’s quite hard to choose! There was one time last summer I turned up to the office early to get a run in before work, then went to change and realised I hadn’t brought the heels I’d planned to wear so spent the whole day in a floral dress with bright blue and neon yellow running trainers – it was a look!

If you didn’t work in PR, what would your ideal job be?

I love a music festival so think it would be quite cool to be a musician travelling to festivals around the world.