Well… here I am, I made it to the other side, and nobody at DawBell has ever sent me to pick up their dry cleaning, reduced me to tears in the boardroom, or sent me on a wild goose chase for a matcha-soy-skinny-green-tea-extra-cream latte.
I can not quite believe it is coming to an end, and I can not say that I want it to. The people I have worked with throughout this year have fully immersed me into this little working family that they’ve built, shaved off those university-embedded bad habits (I still can not do my washing and I’ll get a kebab after a night out, but I reckon I can at least make a 9am lecture now, small wins), and helped build the foundations of my career. The decision to take a placement year has been, and will be, invaluable.
Feeling comfortable and valued is something that is at the heart of DawBell. When I say we’re a family, I mean we call Rich (Daw) and Stu (Bell) our work-dads and we, as a wider team, all work together in the most wonderfully mismatched way. It was a nerve-wracking and intimidating few months securing a placement, and it’s a lot easier coming somewhere and feeling automatically part of the team (cute!).
PR to me before I started was only what I’d seen on Absolutely Fabulous (drinking fifteen bottles of Bollinger a day and going into the office for three hours? Ok…) or Scandal (Olivia Pope running across America trying to keep Congress tight-lipped on the President’s infidelities? Yikes.) The Public Relations industry seemed tough and I did not know what to expect. I can honestly say that I had nothing to worry about at this agency, because the level of dedication, time and nurturing that my seniors have put into my development has been unparalleled. I’ve never once felt irrelevant or unneeded, and it has made this year one of the most enriching things I’ve ever done.
I’m definitely leaving DawBell with a sense of attachment to the clients I work on and as a company, we’re really unique in our closeness with a lot of them. I’m still in awe of our roster: we’ve grown so much just while I’ve been here and I feel immensely proud to say I’m a part of something so big. It has been incredible to be able to work on almost every client in some way or another, especially at an intern level: to feel like you’ve contributed something to a renowned artist or a global campaign is a real achievement - it makes it all the more harder leaving them! Although it’s hard to pin it down to just a few things, I’ve had some crazy, pinch yourself moments over the last year. The BRIT Awards are obviously a HUGE HUGE highlight - as awards ceremonies go, it is literally one of the most prestigious accolades in the music industry. So weaving through the back-halls of the O2 Arena, knowing that such an event could not have taken place without the work your team (and YOU! actually little old you) - have put in over the last few months is really poignant.
DawBell were super keen on getting me involved in as much as possible from the get go. After just a couple of weeks I was on my way to Reading Festival to cover some promo with a band my manager had been working on (no chore to someone that had to beg their parents to let them go to the very same festival at age 15). Nearly a year later, I’d found myself working at the Isle of Wight Festival as part of the press team across the entire weekend (this went on to being the absolute highlight of my year) - I can also add professional golf buggy driver to my CV (apologies to all the photographers I ferried across site for the slightly bumpy ride). On my placement I’ve also attended lots of gigs (got to love a free ticket), been client-facing from the get-go (which has helped forge some really cool and important relationships within the industry), and learned that PR is way more than just damage control. I did not ever realise the amount of effort and care that is put into a campaign - learning the workings of them was seriously interesting, as well as the build up: I’ve even been given the opportunity to make press plans and pitches to actually win new accounts. Not just all making cups of tea is it!
Following on from that, it is probably my biggest achievement to have actually headed up my own PR campaigns this year, which is far more than I could have dreamed of doing at the very start. I did not imagine I’d have done so much: securing coverage across national broadsheets and some of the most prolific style and music websites does not sound like something you’d be trusted with as an intern. But that is just it, I’ve always been encouraged to be everything but an intern in terms of what I could achieve at DawBell. If you’re reading this and thinking about taking a year out to work in the industry, I’d 100000% recommend it.