Ceri- Jane Hackling
Ceri-Jane takes an all guns blazing approach to her work in PR, specialising in thought leadership. When not working, her friends take up her time and money!
Ceri–Jane Hackling is Managing Director of award-winning PR agency Cerub PR. Ceri-Jane is very proud to be Bucks Ambassadors’ Entrepreneur of the Year and Sue Ryder Woman of Achievement.
She has worked in PR for almost 20 years working on B2B, B2C and third sector campaigns before starting Cerub PR in 2013.
Cerub PR works across a variety of sectors including health, lifestyle, education, and business and works with thought-leading individuals to help them raise their profile.
Cerub PR’s clients regularly appear on national television and radio as well as in national newspapers and magazines.
Ceri – Jane, Welcome to the Leadership Interview
How do you start your day?
I wish I could say I get up and do yoga for an hour but I’m more of an owl than a lark so I never spring out of bed but the cat meowing outside the bedroom door is normally enough to wake me up and get me moving.
I don’t believe in keeping my phone or tablet in the bedroom so only once I’m up, showered and dressed do I check my emails and messages so I know what I need to deal with urgently when I reach the office.
If I don’t have any meetings I walk to work and have breakfast while going through emails and my to-do list.
What was your first job and what is the worst job you’ve ever done?
My first ever job was a paper round but I’ve always been interested in current affairs so I used to read the papers on my way around which didn’t make me terribly popular with the newsagent or his customers.
One of my worst jobs (there have been more than one!) was cutting metal at my Dad’s factory during a university holiday. I used to have to find ways to vary how I made and packed the boxes and how I systemised things to try to make it a little less dull.
What advice would you give to others about furthering their careers?
I think it’s important to put things in perspective.
Making a mistake or a bad career move isn’t the end of the world.
There’s so much pressure on young people now that they’re scared of making the wrong move and taking risks but it’s only by making mistakes you can find the right path for you and it may be that where it leads is better than your original plan.
I’d also encourage people to ask for help. People are usually happy to share their knowledge and expertise and you never know where a conversation will lead.
Who inspires you and why?
Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx. Her determination and belief in her product made it a reality despite being told that it wasn’t possible and wasn’t going to be successful.
Her hard work and perseverance have made her the world’s first self-made female billionaire.
Do you think a talent to lead is nature or nurture?
Some people are always going to be more likely to take the lead in business but that doesn’t necessarily mean they should.
Everyone can learn different techniques to become a more effective leader but I believe that there are some people with an innate ability to take charge.
How can a leader fail? Do you have a personal example?
Leaders are under pressure but there’s no point in pretending that you know everything.
Leaders need to ask for help and take on board advice from their network and ask for help from their team.
The success of a business is never down to just one person so you need to make sure that you operate as a team and that everyone understands what the business is trying to achieve.
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
My greatest strength is my enthusiasm.
I strongly believe that PR people need to be able to find something interesting in everything and I really enjoy talking to people and finding out about them and their industries.
My biggest weakness is probably my impatience.
I’m always in a hurry and when things get busy or we have to react to a news story quickly, I get into super-focused mode where I expect everyone to drop everything and go in all guns blazing which isn’t always the right approach.
I’m the same out of work though. God help you if you’re walking around the supermarket too slowly!
What do you find most challenging about being a leader?
As I’m fairly stubborn, I find it difficult to accept new ideas from other people, but eventually I’ll come round to it, have a discussion and take their opinions into consideration.
Quite often they’re right too so I am getting better at being more open-minded and receptive to new ideas.
What are you most proud of?
I’ve been running Cerub PR for 15 years now, which, given that most businesses fail in the first year, is something I’m really proud of.
On a more personal note I’m also proud that I’m in touch with a lot of people who’ve worked here over the years and though they started as employees, I can now call them friends.
What’s your biggest self-indulgence?
My social life.
I love seeing friends for dinner and drinks so that tends to take up a lot of my time and money. That and books.
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