Creative Lives — Senior PR account director Sophie Pettifer on being brave and seizing exciting opportunities
Within a week of joining PR agency The Academy for a two-week work experience placement, Sophie Pettifer was offered a permanent role. This quick success is unsurprising given Sophie’s approach to her career, which has seen her say ‘yes’ to every opportunity in an effort to constantly prove herself. Now the agency’s senior account director, Sophie speaks to us about how much she enjoys working with inspirational people to create work she’s proud of.
Senior Account Director at The Academy
BA Drama, Loughborough University (2009-2012)
How would you describe your role at The Academy?
I direct and activate integrated campaigns with publicity at their core for entertainment and lifestyle brands like Amazon, Alton Towers Resorts and Zizzi restaurants. Along with my teams, I’m responsible for making sure my clients turn up in the places that their audiences are, such as international press junkets and premieres for TV shows, talent management and interviews, creative features, announcing new products, attractions and menus.
Another part of my role, and one that I love, is developing the people in my teams and the agency and helping them grow. I work with the agency leaders on creating a nurturing environment and one that people thrive in, as well as providing the right training so that we’re really setting people up to win.
How did you land your current job?
I was doing an initial two-week work experience placement and, at the end of the first week I was offered a permanent role at another agency. I knew I couldn’t turn down a permanent role, but I also knew I wanted to stay right where I was, so that day I told my director at the time that I’d had this offer but would rather stay and she put a contract on my desk the next morning.
I’ve always felt a need to prove myself at every opportunity; to go over and above and stand out with my work and my approach to work. I said ‘yes’ to everything that came my way and I listened and asked questions which meant that I learnt quickly and could do more and more for my teams. I think that makes you invaluable early on and it’s a piece of advice I always give to people starting out in the industry. Be a sponge, absorb everything around you and then apply it – and be a nice person while you do it! That makes you memorable.
“Be a sponge, absorb everything around you and then apply it – and be a nice person while you do it!”
What do you enjoy most about working at The Academy?
It’s an amazing feeling coming into work every day and doing work that you’re proud of with people that inspire and support you. It’s a challenging industry and working on high-profile campaigns comes with its pressures, so to know that your team have your back and are in it with you is so important. I love that I learn every day, no day is the same and every new account, every new campaign, every new show launch brings with it an opportunity to grow and develop which I am really grateful for.
Words of Wisdom
What advice would you give to a young creative wanting to get into a similar line of work?
Don’t let a lack of experience hold you back, own your newness to the industry and see it as a way to bring fresh perspectives and ideas. Be brave, ask questions and say yes to an opportunity that excites you. Be interested and be interesting. Read the news, read things that aren’t the news. Have an opinion. Stand for something and don’t be afraid to show it.
The Academy is a Lecture in Progress agency partner. Every year, Lecture in Progress partners with like-minded brands and agencies to support our initiative and keep Lecture in Progress a free resource for emerging creatives. To find out more about how you can work with us, email [email protected]