06 August 2020
Celebrating our Little Victories…
On 23rd March 2020, the world as we knew it changed. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced during a TV address the start of a nationwide lockdown, as a result of the spreading Coronavirus pandemic, having a huge impact on every facet of each of our lives.
It’s been a tough time for many, but in the spirit of taking the rough with the smooth, we’re launching our Little Victories campaign – celebrating everything our team and talented associates have achieved during this period.
Now, as the lockdown is beginning to ease with varying degrees of restrictions in place across the UK, now seemed like a good time to catch up with everyone and reflect on the wins we’re taking away with us as result of living through a global pandemic. No matter how big or small, these are all our Little Victories – in the strangest (and possibly hardest of times), they deserve to be celebrated.
First up, we interviewed our Managing Director, Anne-Marie, to find out about her experience of lockdown, how it’s impacted her both personally and professionally, as well as chatting about the Little Victories she’s taking away from it all…
How has the coronavirus lockdown impacted your business? Feel free to talk about the good, bad and ugly!
Absolutely – where there’s challenges there’s always opportunity too. As we work with a lot of clients in the lifestyle, leisure and entertainment industries, they had to shut their doors pretty damn quickly and equally they’re some of the last sectors to be able to re-open. Even then there’s a lot of restrictions in place and a huge strategic communications piece to be done around that in engaging with customers, suppliers and other stakeholders.
Initially, I’ve was helping clients with crisis management in response to the lockdown. Then over time it’s moved to recovery planning and strategy setting. Now I’m in the throes of rolling out these comms programmes while scanning the horizon to see (if it’s ever possible to tell with these things…) what might be coming next, so we can be best prepared and ready to face what a potential second wave might throw at us.
Like so many, it’s a case of prepare for the worst but pray for the best!
In addition to supporting clients with their comms throughout the crisis, I’ve also been doing a lot more teaching. As well as being a dissertation tutor for MA students at Newcastle University studying for a post-graduate degree in Public Relations, I’m also a tutor at nesma, where I teach on the CIPR and CIM courses.
With everything having to shift online and move to a virtual learning environment rather than physical face-to-face teaching in the classroom, it’s meant I’ve been able to support more students than ever before. It’s always a joy for me when I see how much they develop and grow as comms professionals during our time together.
On top of my paid work, I’ve continued to volunteer with the CIPR as Chair of the North East committee and Co-Chair of the national Influencer Marketing Panel. The latter has kept me pretty busy. Only last week we launched three brand new skills guides for PR practitioners about how to ethically and legally work with influencers to gain maximum impact for the brands we support. It’s been months of work in the making, including a lot of consultation with the ASA and CMA. It’s great to see it all finally come together with the resources now available to CIPR members.
What have you been doing during lockdown?
That’s a really good question! In addition to running Filament PR, teaching virtually and volunteering, I’ve actually been very busy growing a baby during lockdown! The country ground to a halt on 23rd March 2020, and the following day, my husband and I found out we were expecting a baby. How’s that for timing?
We know we’re having a little boy and he’s due late November – we’re so excited yet slightly terrified with what’s going on in the world right now. It’s also a heightened time of anxiety for us because, sadly, this isn’t our first pregnancy.
That’s another thing – throughout lockdown I’ve actually been on the ‘other side’ of media relations. I was the one who was being interviewed by Stephanie (standing in for Lisa Shaw) for the mid-morning show on BBC Radio Newcastle about my experience of being pregnant in a pandemic; rather than setting up the interviews, briefing key spokespeople, and managing the whole process behind-the-scenes.
If you’re interested, you can listen to the interview here. It’s split into two parts – just scroll to 3 hours and 21 minutes in, and then again scroll to 3 hours and 44 minutes in, to catch the whole piece (it should be available until 20th August).
What life lessons have you learned from lockdown and how will you be taking them forward once lockdown is fully lifted?
The art of letting go. I think lockdown has been a super stressful time for a lot of people – especially business owners who have qualified for absolutely no government support (that’s another story for another day – Filament PR is one of the #ForgottenLtd) and then throw in being pregnant during a pandemic on top of that…
As someone who is super organised and loves a good plan, not knowing how a situation is going to pan out and equally having no control over its outcomes has been really tough for me. I’ve had to learn to accept that sometimes I just need to let go and focus my time and energy on the things that I can control.
What have you enjoyed about lockdown?
Getting to spend lots of quality time at home with my husband. He usually works in an office for a fintech company on shifts, so sometimes we’re like ships that pass in the night. His place of work moved really quickly – before lockdown was even imposed – to have all staff working from home. It’s meant that we’ve had so much more time together than we would do normally, which has been really precious, given that we only have a few more months of being ‘just the two of us’ before the baby arrives. Then it’s all about being a family of three.
What have you hated about lockdown?
The uncertainty of it all and feeling like we have to ‘go it alone’ – in every sense of the word. If you listen to my interview with BBC Newcastle, you’ll hear that I’ve had to attend scans alone, haven’t had a midwife appointment face-to-face, even antennal classes (at the time of writing this post) have been cancelled.
As a women who has experienced a missed miscarriage before – here’s a link to the Miscarriage Association’s website if you want to find out more about what that means – being pregnant again naturally brings a whole host of worries, especially when there were no signs or symptoms that there was anything wrong with our first pregnancy, but then having to face scans alone without the support of my husband there, it’s just been horrendous.
Plus, while we were in the super strict lockdown phase and before some of the measures were lifted, it’s all well-and-good Face Timing with family and friends, but it’s just not the same as popping to your Mum’s for a cuppa and a cuddle for that little bit of extra support when you need that reassurance that everything is going to be okay.
First thing you’ll do when lockdown is fully lifted?
There’s so much to choose from!
Firstly it would most likely be head to my parent’s house to just sit next to them on the sofa and not have to worry about social distancing or any of that stuff, rather than hanging out at opposite ends of the garden. Secondly, if lockdown is lifted before the baby arrives, it’ll be to head to a shop (without facemasks, social distancing and limited capacity – I fully appreciate this is highly unlikely and getting back to ‘normal’ is probably a very long way away yet) and buy something for our son in person, rather than doing all of my baby shopping online. I’m now on first-name-terms with the Amazon delivery driver.
What’s the one thing you’ve missed as a result of lockdown and will never take for granted again?
The simple things that you never give too much thought to – like nipping to the shop, giving a neighbour a lift when you see them at a bus stop and it’s chucking it down with rain, having playtime with my nieces and nephews, or having a spontaneous night out to the pub with friends (although with the baby due in a few months, those nights in the pub will soon become few and far between!).
In a word, freedom. I’ll never take that for granted again.
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It seems like Anne-Marie’s Little Victories from lockdown are actually really rather large! Running a business, teaching, volunteering, and managing a pregnancy throughout the pandemic is no mean feat.
Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing stories with you from some other members of the team and Filament PR’s talented associates. Keep an eye on our website and social media for more Little Victories. Until then, we’d be keen to know, what lessons have your learned from lockdown and what successes – no matter how big or small – will you be celebrating?Back to Blog