Name: Louise Vaughan
Job title: Managing Director
Did you go to university?
I studied English language and literature at Birmingham – my husband jokes it took a university education for me to master what most kids nail at primary school. It does however reflect an inherent love of language, story telling and communication which has driven my career since.
What was your first job in PR?
I got my first break when I convinced the Environment Agency I could manage communications around an £83M, 11km flood relief channel on the River Thames. The development was incredibly contentious, involving the compulsory purchase of gardens, celebrity objection and construction in high profile locations including Windsor Estate and Eton College. It was a baptism of fire but one that taught me the value of personal relationships in PR and the need to use ‘F’ words in a crisis – namely to be first, frank and fast in managing your response to a negative issue.
he was then and still remains the most ambitious, effervescent and best dressed PR man I know
How did you get from there to your current role?
I’ve had a pretty varied career which stood me in good stead when I finally made the jump from in-house to agency. I made a conscious decision when I left the public sector to gain both B2B and consumer experience. I landed a role heading up the PR and IC functions for the Royal Bank of Scotland’s car retail division. Its businesses spanned 3,000 employees across almost 100 locations, including major B2B and B2C vehicle brands such as Direct Line and Lombard. It was working on the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games however that brought me into contact with Acceleris Chief Executive Peter Davenport – he was then and still remains the most ambitious, effervescent and best dressed PR man I know. Four years later I joined him to launch Acceleris and have never looked back. We’re at the start of our tenth year and in that time we’ve generated over £9M in fees, have opened offices in Yorkshire and the West End, have won over 50 national and international awards and have launched the Acceleris Academy to provide our team with rewarding and fulfilling careers.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
My role is divided between the financial and operational elements of running the business, providing strategic support on client accounts and overseeing new business – the lifeblood of any agency. We have an absolutely amazing team and I’m often in awe of the ideas they have the results they achieve. A big part of my role is giving them the right support and environment to thrive.
The PR industry has a phenomenal opportunity before it thanks to Google and the increasing relevance of earned media.
What do you like most about working in PR?
The fact it’s constantly evolving. The PR industry has a phenomenal opportunity before it thanks to Google and the increasing relevance of earned media. According to the PRCA’s most recent Digital PR Report, blogger outreach, web design and build and content strategies hold huge growth opportunities for agencies in 2016. To capitalise on this agencies need to change their approach, upskill their teams in digital strategy and showcase their capabilities to the people in charge of paid media.
What’s the hardest thing about working in PR?
The fact it’s constantly evolving!
Who is your PR inspiration?
Along with Peter Davenport, it would be Former PR boss, friend and entrepreneur Helen Davies for being once of the most inspirational yet grounded people I know. An expert at influencing both hearts and minds in any campaign. Others would be Frank’s Andrew Bloch for keeping my Twitter feed so entertaining; BBC’s Nick Sutton for #tomorrowspaperstoday – a great way to keep ahead of the week’s news agenda and Stephen Waddington – the current #FuturePRoof project with the PRCA on the future of the agency model is worth a read for those that haven’t done so.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given?
“You can gain ten year’s experience, or you can have one year’s experience ten times over.” What you make of any opportunity is down to you. Sage words from my better half.
rejoice in results and seize every opportunity to try something new
What are your tips for aspiring PRs?
You’re master of your own destiny. Work hard, read lots, understand the wider agenda and how your business, product or service fits into it. Build your network, believe in your ideas, rejoice in results and seize every opportunity to try something new. Who knows where it will take you.