Andrea Sexton is a Director of Admire PR, a company with clients from the world of business, charity and sport. Andrea tells The Industry Leaders how she transitioned from professional horse-riding to a career in PR and tells us why being relentless is everything.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
After University, I was a professional horse rider for several years, but I always had a job to help pay for my sport. During this time, I always did my own PR and sponsorship. In 2005 I was fortunate to get a job as UK brand manager for a sportswear company that I adored, and the rest, as they say, is history. Since then, I have gradually built my expertise and client base and now have clients from business, charity and sport.
What kind of work does your role involve?
I love my job as it's so varied. We mainly deal with creating press coverage opportunities for our clients. This can be news, opinion and comment, award entries, forming partnerships with charities or other organisations, and creating speaking opportunities. There is also a reputation protection role, which can be dealing with negativity or crisis communications.
What gets you excited about your industry?
Getting our clients the right publicity, helping them create and maintain a great reputation and seeing the part we play in their success is what gets me out of bed each day. Every time one of the clients receives a press mention, the whole team are excited. That joy never dulls.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Keep on keeping on. I can't even remember who told me this first, but to be honest, in my line of work, it is what is needed. To be a great PR, you need creative writing ability, superb observational skills and then to never, ever give up.
What, or who inspires you?
Several people inspire me daily. One of whom is Monique Van Dooren-Westerdaal, a client and a friend. She saw in me a talent that I didn't even know I had, and it's thanks to her that I am here now.
My mentors James Cook, Gary J Keating and Jane Carvell, give me so much confidence and sage business advice. I'm incredibly lucky to have their knowledge at the end of the phone.
Two of my clients Sunjay Singh and Gareth Sanders, also inspire me greatly - they have incredible business minds and inspire me to be better and get out of my comfort zone.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
I read. Lots! I love Campaign and PR Week but also read all sorts of business books and attend webinars. I have a thirst for knowledge and love to learn from all the places I can.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
The biggest challenge and the best day of my PR career came on the Royal Visit to Bristol in 2019, where I was looking after the press for one of my charity clients, Empire Fighting Chance. It was a fabulous day, one that pushed us all to work at our very best level.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
I would use part of it to invest in the business to accelerate my plans to enable young people to gain experience in PR. I have a mentoring and apprenticeship scheme that I am keen to expand. I would also take my three children on an extended trip around European cities to soak up art history and architecture. Personally, I'd love to ride horses again and have my own horse again in the future, so as a treat to myself, I'd enable that to happen.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
I love reading crime novels - something with some culture in too, like Donna Leon. I'm also a keen runner and love to get out on the trail in the stunning countryside in Gloucestershire, where I live. If I get the chance to have the occasional ride on a horse, that's also a lovely way to unwind.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
In the UK, the PR industry has little ethnic diversity. My wish is that young people at school who are talented and creative writers know that PR is an amazing career for them. All young people deserve a chance to create a good career for themselves. I am planning to do what I can to help make this happen.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
The top 3 books that have changed my life are;
Untamed - Glennon Doyle
Relentless - Tom Grover
Good to Great - Jim Collins
How should people connect with you?
You can connect with me via:
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