Welcome to our regular profile about who's who in internal comms.
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All Things IC
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Connect with Rachel
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a Blue Peter presenter or an actor. (I ran a bespoke session for the BBC's fabulous IC team this year and admitted my presenting ambitions to them.)
That was closely followed by being a journalist as I loved watching Lois Lane in Superman. It came true the week before my 19th birthday when I started my career as a journalist.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Wherever my family are. I have a six-year-old daughter and three-year-old twin sons, so wherever they and my husband are, is where I'm happy to be.
If you could have one wish, what would it be?
To find cures for the illnesses that are impacting the lives of many close friends and family at the moment.
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
The best career advice I’ve ever been given is to listen to my gut feel and have faith in it. My husband Jon said it to me when I was launching All Things IC in 2013 and making career decisions.
I’ve honed my ability to trust my instinct and take calculated risks, but every so often need reminding, particularly when trying new things.
What's the one thing not many people know about you?
I am a huge LEGO fan. I had to buy a large piece of furniture for my office recently to house my growing collection! I'm currently making Assembly Square and enjoy rummaging through the bricks and seeing it take shape in front of me. I don't have the patience for colouring, so this is my mindfulness activity as it enables me to focus on creativity. I regularly problem solve for my clients while constructing my latest creation. I've been working with The LEGO Group this year to advise them, which is not only a bucket list career tick, but a total joy as the brand captivates me. Plus my children think it's cool, which is always a bonus!
Tell us a bit about your role:
I support and nurture professional communicators so they can thrive. The majority of my role is being a trusted adviser to internal communicators, which is a privilege I take seriously and absolutely love.
Through All Things IC I work alongside and train comms pros either individually, as teams or via my monthly Masterclasses. I create a confidential space where we have honest conversations, problem solve and examine comms theory. I enable my clients to boost their skills, knowledge and confidence so they can go and be everything they need to be inside their organisations.
What’s on your internal comms agenda right now?
I'm working with a lot of IC teams at the moment, creating space and time for them to analyse their work. I give my impartial and honest view and we come up with plans of actions to get them to where they need to be. Conversations wise, I'm advising on leadership communication, business strategy, change comms and personal branding.
The IC agenda is constantly changing, it's one of the reasons why it's the best job to have as you'll never get bored! One day I'm advising a comms director how to restructure their team, the next I'm running a VIP Day for a brand new communicator who needs to get up to speed on IC quickly.
I've got so many plans for 2019 and new services I'm going to be offering, I can't wait!
What has had the biggest impact on internal comms in your organisation in the past year?
My wonderful PA Louise has had the biggest impact on my business this year. She joined me in January and has transformed my ability to focus on helping IC pros. Having her onboard has enabled me to work on, not in, my business and I've finally got lots of ideas out of my head and into reality as a result.
What’s your proudest achievement or best day in your current role?
I'm proud of my Masterclasses. I introduced them in Autumn 2016 and have trained 450 professional communicators to date in that time through my monthly or bespoke courses.
I'm proud of them because I see the changes comms pros make as a result of investing time and effort in focusing on themselves. We get so caught up in doing the doing, that pausing even for a day to analyse why we do things in a certain way can be transformative.
I receive messages every week from IC pros who keep me updated with how they're getting on, which I love. Seeing their successes spurs me on to create even more ways to support them.
How would you advise someone considering a career in internal comms?
Do it! If you are serious about having a career in internal comms, you need to be curious. Ask questions, go to industry networking events, read blogs by IC pros and get known. Build your network and ask IC pros about their work.
There are many specialisms within IC, so explore your options before deciding whether to niche down, e.g. a change comms specialist or intranet manager, explore all options first to see where your energies go.
What do you think the top three trends in internal communication will be in the next year?
1) Face-to-face. Always. Everyone has tried to replicate it through technology over the past decade, but I'm seeing it coming back into fashion in a big way, which I welcome. You can't beat face-to-face for truly effective interactions.
2) Repurposing content so it works harder for you. I'm plotting a blog post on this. I've been championing it all year with my clients and think IC pros need to get better at it.
3) I'm going to leave this one open, I have many I could fill it with, but I think it's healthy to not assume you know what the trends will be.
One of the many joys of IC is the opportunity for us to be involved in the shiny new things, but also ensuring traditional methods and channels are honoured and working hard enough. If we are always looking out for a trend, you can miss what is really going on.
Comms pros need to have a forensic understanding of their organisation's culture and people. It's our business to know our business. That is a trend to protect and work on every single year to ensure longevity.