SPOTLIGHT ON: MAZAR MASUD, CONSULTANT, POWERSCOURT

Name: Mazar Masud
Company: Powerscourt
Job title: Consultant

Twitter: @MazarMasud
LinkedIn: Mazar Masud

Did you go to university?
Yes, I was lucky enough to be offered a place at Girton College, University of Cambridge, where I indulged in some of the greatest works of literature as part of my English course. Once I graduated, I did Teach First, learnt some Arabic at the University of Damascus and then joined PwC and did my chartered accountancy exams – a far cry from my days of reading Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness or John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

What was your first job in PR?
My first PR job was as an Executive at Brunswick Group where I stayed for five years. During that time, I climbed a steep learning curve, working on a range of business critical issues and clients across various sectors. I worked with some of the most talented communications professionals and learnt a great deal.

I really value my time at the firm and made some amazing friends, who have either stayed at the firm or gone on to make an impact in our little communications world. 

I then joined Powerscourt due to its focus on delivering integrated communications, which I am really passionate about and feel some firms only pay lip service to

How did you get from there to your current role?
After Brunswick, I joined Camargue to develop a wider skill set, particularly on corporate campaigning and stakeholder engagement. The firm gave me the autonomy to put a lot of my skills, knowledge and campaigning theory into practice, including the designing and implementation of campaigns.

I then joined Powerscourt due to its focus on delivering integrated communications, which I am really passionate about and feel some firms only pay lip service to. Here, I have been provided with the opportunity to combine my financial and corporate communications skills; build and deliver integrated and high-impact corporate campaigns; and, help move the dial for clients via creative storytelling.

I am constantly in touch with clients, discussing stories, coverage and/or campaigns.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
A lot of professions claim this, but no two days in PR are the same. In the morning before arriving at work, I peruse the key papers and read all news relating to and potentially impacting on my clients or their sectors. Once at my desk, the work really does vary day-by-day and can involve everything from crafting stories and pitching to/ working with journalists to fielding media calls, and from developing campaigns to researching into different elements that go into a campaign. Above all, I am constantly in touch with clients, discussing stories, coverage and/or campaigns. 

What do you like most about working in PR?
The power and scope of communications to influence or change perceptions and achieving positive results for my clients.

What’s the hardest thing about working in PR?
The constant struggle for reinvention, innovation and something new when it comes to creative storytelling. 

Who is your PR inspiration?
I have worked with many people over the years who have inspired me in many different ways. I hugely respect Rory Godson and Sir Alan Parker for the firms they have built and their overriding focus on client care. I’ve been blessed with working with many talented people throughout my PR career, so there’s too many to name.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given? 
“Network, network, network.” – former colleague

Which PR blogs, news sites and websites do you read?
I tend to use a range of sources for my news. The broadsheets, particularly the FT, The Times and Daily Telegraph, and trades, such as Property Week, Estates Gazette and a range of financial trades, are a must everyday. But, I also use The Guardian, Daily Mail, Buzzfeed, Al Jazeera, BBC, Flipboard, as well as a range of blogs, etc

Read the papers daily and follow journalists in your sector closely

What are your tips for aspiring PRs?
Put your clients first and listen attentively before advising them. Read the papers daily and follow journalists in your sector closely – do your homework before you pitch to them. Develop an informed view of your clients, their sectors and the world at large. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Overall, enjoy your time – PR is a fascinating world.

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