SPOTLIGHT ON: PAUL MYLREA, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE

Name: Paul Mylrea
Company: University of Cambridge
Job title: Director of Communications

Twitter: @MylreaPR
LinkedIn: Paul Mylrea
Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk/

Did you go to university?  
First the University of Birmingham to study French, then, many years later, I did an MBA with the Open University. Both were excellent. I can bore you for hours on the different strands of structuralism – especially as applied to classical French theatre – or Samuel Beckett. Mind you, most of my team think I can bore whatever I’m talking about.

It was a great switch from journalism after 20 years as a foreign and political correspondent

What was your first job in PR?
Head of News for Oxfam GB. It was a great switch from journalism after 20 years as a foreign and political correspondent for Reuters based in Europe and Latin America. I think a switch into a commercial role would have been too tame.

How did you get from there to your current role?
Via Transport for London, the Department for International Development and the BBC. I like to keep moving. But I am finding the University of Cambridge so stimulating and complex that it will probably take me more years than I have left in my career to get bored.

we punch above our weight thanks to the quality and creativity of that team

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
Survive… We have a small team and it is a challenge driving a global brand with limited resources. But we punch above our weight thanks to the quality and creativity of that team.

What do you like most about working in PR?
The constant challenge, and the need to translate complexity into simplicity – without dumbing down

What’s the hardest thing about working in PR?
The need to translate complexity into simplicity – without dumbing down

Who is your PR inspiration?
There is not a single person, but many. All the teams I have worked with have supported and challenged me. They know who they are (and they know all the stories!). And we have already lost one of those – Stuart Ross. I worked with Stuart at Transport for London where he was an inspiration. He died in January this year, far too young. But people – at TfL and at the CIPR – are working to ensure his legacy lives on.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given and who gave it to you?
“Do the right thing, not the expedient thing.” I know who told me but I never reveal my sources! It was an important piece of advice at an important time.

Which PR blogs, news sites and websites do you read?
I’m really enjoying Influence – the CIPR’s magazine.

listen to your heart

What are your tips for aspiring PRs?
Join your national institute, the CIPR, get trained – ideally via the CIPR – find a mentor or mentors, and listen to your heart. Oh, and enjoy it. It’s a great career.

 

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