Making career decisions is never easy – especially with incomplete information at hand. Public Relations sounds like a hoot.. and it is, but it requires long hours, incredible patience and being quick on your feet.
Patience, commitment, organization, curiosity and tenacity.
Do you have what it takes?
To understand a career, its associated lifestyle, perks and pitfalls, you need to know what a PR professional’s day look like and that’s exactly what we did. We caught up with Elena Gramaticca, Managing Director & Partner at Twister Communications in the Middle East – also known as the queen of Italian PR in the UAE.
Here’s what her typical day looks like:
My day starts very early, at 6 as I have to prepare my kids for school. Waking up early is sometimes a sacrifice, but it also gives me more time for my personal interests and work. Twice a week, I do some training from 7 to 8 and then I head to the office very early – usually by 8 I’m already at my desk reading emails , preparing the job lists for the day and organizing my appointments. My team arrives at 9, we have a catch up meeting to define the priorities and each of us has a precise task to complete within the day. The rest of the day runs from client meetings to location visits for our events to press meetings. What I like about this job is the variety of tasks that we need to accomplish. Every day represents a different challenge.
Elena moved from Milan after a decade in media, to Dubai in 1997, worked at Emirates Airlines, and later joined Leo Burnett as a Communications Director. She now runs her own PR agency.
Let’s back-track and understand what she studied to be where she is.
I attended the University Ca’ Foscari in Venice, a renowned and ancient University in Italy, established in 1868. The University is very famous for the Oriental Languages faculty – in fact my major was in Arabic language and literature.
From language to Public Relations – How did that happen?
She always wanted to work abroad and discover new cultures.
During the four year program, she managed to travel very intensively to large parts of the Middle East: Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and met people of different cultural backgrounds and languages. These experiences broadened her view of the world, and she says, helped her immensely in creating relationships professionally and personally.
While working for Emirate Airlines for two years, she studied for her Masters in Communications organized by IATA.
This is how I started my career in PR and Communications and since I’ve never stopped working in this field.
A few more insights? Sure.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
You need to be multitasking. We don’t deal with only subject only – we go from talking to a Fashion Stylist for a photo shoot on a glossy magazine to the launch of an adhesive for of our corporate clients. The tone of voice has to change and the strategy is different but everything has to be run at the same time.
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What is the most exciting element of your job?
Every day, you learn something new. Our job goes deeply into company strategies and you get to know how different types of businesses work. You always have the temperature on how markets are going.
What advice would you give to students considering this career path?
Study hard, attend a course in journalism as this background is fundamental to know an Editor’s needs. Study different types of languages and attend internships in different fields.
Are you a PR professional in the UAE? What’s your take of the field? Give us your valuable insight in the comments below.