29 Mar Looking Back at a Year in the Pod
One year ago, our lovely Alisha had just stepped through the front door, looking smart, and ready to become our new trainee account executive. Twelve months on, we asked Black Vanilla’s Easter holiday work experience student, Beth Brown, to interview Alisha about her first year in the job.
Beth: Congratulations on your first year with Black Vanilla, Alisha! What’s your favourite thing about your job?
Alisha: Thank you! I love the variety and every day at BV plays out differently. The team is also a big reason for why I love my job; it’s a small team, so we’re like a little family. I also like the creative nature of the role, especially copywriting for our clients.
Beth: What skills have you picked up from being a trainee account executive?
Alisha: In the year I’ve been here, I’ve developed a lot of skills like event management and being able to work to tight deadlines. My media relations and copywriting know-how have both improved a lot. Working here has given me a solid insight into the mechanics of PR. I think the most important skill I’ve picked up is learning how to juggle a busy schedule because there’s never a quiet moment at Black Vanilla.
Beth: What is the most difficult thing about your role?
Alisha: Account management can be challenging occasionally. Prioritising work can be quite tricky as well because when you have a hundred things on your to-do list for the same day, it can be quite tough to manage.
We use lots of tools like Toggl and Trello to help keep our time and activities on track, and I’ve learnt that being super organised is the key to flawless campaign execution.
Beth: What is the most valuable thing you’ve learnt from your time at Black Vanilla?
Alisha: Teamwork and managing clients’ expectations – the last thing you want to do is overpromise and underdeliver. We are very client focused, and it’s down to us to advise our clients on what is achievable.
Beth: In your opinion, what makes working at Black Vanilla a unique experience?
Alisha: It’s unique that we’re all women, well for the time being. Nichole was awarded CIPR Chartered status last year and both she and Jade set up their own businesses, so I’m surrounded by inspiring people. I have a background in finance where, even in 2018, it can feel very male-dominated, so it’s nice to have a change.
Working at Black Vanilla is very hands-on, and it’s part of our ethos to get stuck in to get the job done. Because we offer four different key services – public relations, copywriting, events and media buying – one day I could be writing a press release and the next I could be helping to set up an event or supervising our promo team in town.
Beth: What’s the funniest thing to have happened in the Black Vanilla pod?
We do have lots of laughs but one standout moment was when our usual mascot wearer couldn’t be Darcy the Donkey for an Island Games event. I’d only been here for a couple of weeks and I didn’t know anyone that well. Thankfully, I was too short to wear the costume, so I zipped my colleague Pip into it and led her towards the Bailiff. That experience really solidified our friendship!
Beth: What advice would you give to someone interested in working for Black Vanilla?
Alisha: You need to be a great team player, willing to get stuck into anything. You have to be unafraid of working under pressure at times. There are moments when you get thrown a curveball from a client under a deadline and you have to quickly find a solution.
A good sense of humour is mandatory in this office to survive! You have to love chocolate too, and be up for fun because it’s not all work, but if you’re serious about joining the BV team, then understanding that PR isn’t just about media relations, and solid copywriting skills are a must.
Do you tick the boxes? Good news. We’re hiring.
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