Learn more about Sophie Hammond, Account Manager in the Consumer Health team at Pegasus, an Ashfield Healthcare Communications agency, having started as a Junior Receptionist when she left college 7 years ago.
I was in my last year of secondary school when I had to decide where I was going to do my week’s work experience. I had toyed with the idea of being a police officer or a weather presenter but since I could not do either of those while at school, a family friend suggested I emailed Pegasus.
I will be honest and say that back then I had no idea what PR and Communications was so had no expectation other than to get through the week. However, I completely fell in love with the work and Pegasus and I remember coming home on my first day and saying to my mum, “I want to work there”. Not only was the job incredibly interesting, but it focused on health and improving people’s lives – something I am incredibly passionate about.
I returned to Pegasus during school holidays to help and learn more about the industry. I only did small jobs around the office like filing magazines, sending out new products to journalists or scanning for coverage but I loved the buzz of the office and the exciting things everyone got up to.
After finishing my A-levels, I decided I did not want to go to university and instead wrote to Pegasus who kindly offered me a job as a receptionist. I was in that role for two years until an opportunity to do an apprenticeship came up. I was one of the first people in the UK to complete this new comms apprenticeship and after I graduated, I became a Junior Account Executive and have been working my way up ever since. During my time at Pegasus, I have run press events (in the UK and abroad), pitched an endless list of stories to the media, secured countless items of coverage for clients, co-ordinated photo and film shoots with exciting celebrities, developed social media campaigns and ran internal comms initiatives for some of the best brands in the health industry – all with the one goal of inspiring healthy decisions. I’ve also seen our agency transform from a small traditional PR agency to a much larger fully integrated comms consultancy.
I am now an Account Manager on the Consumer Health team working on an exciting portfolio of pharma and non-pharma clients.
Pegasus has always been about the people and teamwork and after the acquisition by Ashfield in 2016, this was even more evident. I am so lucky to work with so many talented people both in my office and as part of the wider Ashfield network. It’s very rewarding to work in a place where everyone shares the same goal of improving people’s health.
The thing I love most about my job is the diversity of the role – no day is ever the same so there is no time to get bored. One day I could be presenting exciting new plans to a client followed by lunch with a journalist at a fancy London restaurant, the next I could be planning a celebrity photoshoot or swimming with sharks (Yes, really! This was at a media event in 2016 to launch a new omega-3 product!).
The three tips I would give someone who was interested in the comms industry would be:
Work hard and learn to juggle – This may be a given in any job but it is especially important in an agency where you are juggling several projects, clients and deadlines at any one time. Some days can be manic so you always need to be on top of your game!
Become a better writer – Writing is the most important skill for a communicator. You will always be writing something. From emails to proposals, press releases and features to social media posts. Understanding how to write for different outlets and audiences and how to get your message across and hook your audience in the first sentence is key.
Stay on top of the media (stories and journalists!) – My director once told me that a comms person should know the three top stories of the day without having to think about it. My advice would be to scan every newspaper (online or offline) before you get into the office and know who is saying what. In addition, invest time in getting to know journalists and influences, as they are the ones who are writing about your clients. A frequent lunch or drink after work will make your life much easier when it comes to selling in stories – interns included. One day they will be an Editor in Chief!
For more information about a career at Ashfield Healthcare Communications, please contact: AHCrecruitment@ashfieldhealthcare.com.