As featured on Meat Business Women's Meet our members
Tell us about how you got to where you are today? What was your career path and how did you end up in your current role?
While completing my degree in Animal Science at Harper Adams, l didn’t really have a clue what path my career would take. At the time, all I knew was that it would have something to do with food and farming – a deep rooted passion of mine stemming from my upbringing on our family beef and sheep farm.
Fast forward a decade or so and I’m very pleased to say I have successfully carved a career in the heart of agricultural working for specialist PR agency, Pinstone.
I first joined the company as a junior account executive in 2010, not really knowing exactly what the job would entail. I had done a stint of in-house marketing, but PR and agency life was all new.
I soon discovered that the job was a great fit for me and have been there ever since, with Pinstone affording me a progressive career in a sector that I truly love.
Despite juggling a family and farm life at home, I’ve had the opportunity to move up the ladder at Pinstone thanks to continual business growth. When I joined, we were a four-person team and now, over 20 women make up Pinstone’s client consultancy team. An incredible achievement on all accounts.
Over the years, I’ve progressed from account executive to account manager and currently account director, a position I’ve held for the last four years.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
In my role, I’m charged with heading up some fantastic client accounts, specialising predominantly in those that operate within the livestock and meat sector. This has given me the opportunity to work with many brilliant people and businesses operating at the cutting edge of the industry.
Developing strategic and dynamic communications campaigns that achieve meaningful outcomes for our clients is something I really enjoy. There’s nothing quite like it when a plan comes seamlessly together. This could be raising awareness of a particular issue within the sector or building reputation and recognition of specific brands.
I have a team of incredibly talented colleagues to work alongside in executing these plans, which day-to-day involves disseminating technical content into a variety of communication mediums, from traditional print media to social content and podcasts and beyond.
It’s the pace of life and variety at Pinstone that keeps me on my toes and there’s always a new project or challenge to get stuck into.
What challenges have you faced in the industry? How did they impact you and how did you overcome them?
Once of the biggest challenges I’ve found of working in a male dominated sector is overcoming the perception that my technical expertise and farming know-how may somehow not be as “robust” as that of male counterparts.
While it’s frustrating that our technical farming nous isn’t always a given, it’s rewarding to prove them wrong. I think being confident and unafraid to build relationships at all levels is key. And as a wider group, celebrating all the incredible achievements of women working in the farming and meat supply chain as loudly possible will only serve to overcome the last remnants of an incredibly outdated view.
What could the meat industry do to ensure we attract and retain top female talent?
Good communications have got to be key to ensure as many people as possible are aware of the breadth of opportunities that the meat industry presents. Even as someone that broadly knew they wanted to work in food and farming, at the time I had no idea of the scope the sector offers in terms of career opportunities. And we need to consider how to attract people from outside of the sector too.
There are multiple communication channels to utilise these days, including a rapidly growing digital landscape, meaning greater outreach potential. Capitalising on all of these opportunities and leveraging the many positive news stories happening day-in-day-out, will help achieve the ‘drip drip’ effect needed to position the meat sector as an attractive career proposition for all.
Could you tell us more about your experience with Meat Business Women?
I became a member of MBW over a year ago and while I haven’t had chance to maximise the networking opportunities fully yet, I have made use of the excellent programme of webinars and masterclasses.
You can easily squeeze them into your working day, and I can honestly say I have found them incredibly useful. Every single time I have come away with a renewed sense of motivation and energy, helping me to overcome obstacles, push my boundaries a little harder and giving me more confidence to just be myself.
What’s your top tip for anyone starting out in the meat industry?
Get yourself out there, start building a network and absorb as much information as you can. Following some of the movers and shakers on social media is a good way to pick up the headlines while regularly listening to a handful of relevant podcasts can help fuel conversations and ideas.