Behind the Headlines with Storm MD Amanda Williams

Amanda Williams, MD of Storm Communications, on starting off working for PR guru Quentin Bell, the buzz of making the day’s news agenda and ridiculous requests from journalists.

Before I reach the office in the morning, I’ve already…
Walked my new puppy (Storm’s latest pin-up, Louis the miniature dachshund), had a much needed caffeine kick at the station, caught up on emails and the newspaper on the way in and battled the madness of South West Trains (all hopefully from a seat rather than standing all the way in).

You’ll mostly find emails about…in my inbox.
Great work that the team have secured. I like to be kept informed about great coverage and successes for all our clients as they appear.

I know I’ve had a good day if…
The phone rings with a client saying they are really happy, or a ‘you’re hired’ call from a new business pitch.

My first job was…
As a receptionist at Quentin Bell Organisation, running around collecting champagne, booking lunch dates for Quentin, mastering a manual typewriter with carbon paper, cutting people off on the phone and always managing to take clients into the wrong meetings! I wasn’t particularly good at it, but he saw a PR girl in me and gave me a break when PR was still in its infancy in the UK.

I can tell a campaign is succeeding when…
The media gets in touch with you having seen or read about it in other media. It is always a great feeling when you have made the news agenda for the day.

I eat….when nobody is watching.
Any fast food really – it is a guilty pleasure that I became addicted to when we worked with KFC.

The first time I pitched to a journalist…
I was shouted at. In fact in my early days I was shouted at by journalists a lot, with the best one calling me from a press trip in Canada to tell me his scrambled eggs weren’t big enough. But as they say ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.

The worst thing anyone has said to me is…
“You didn’t get the job because there was a typo in one of your example releases”. This was for my second job as an AE when I was just 20-years-old and it has stuck with me ever since. I really wanted the role and was devastated, but it taught me an invaluable lesson that you have to have an impeccable eye for detail in this job and every word really does count – especially when it comes to job applications, where I have deleted a number simply because of spelling or grammar issues on the person’s CV or in their covering email.

The last book I read was…
Nothing outstanding, just some chick-lit. I love trashy TV and easy to read novels, my brain gets enough of a work out during the day.

I’ve never really understood why…
People do a job that they don’t love. I have always got a buzz from PR and can’t understand when friends say that they are bored at work. Chance would be a fine thing!

If I could go back and talk to my ten-year-old self, I’d say…
Don’t worry about fractions – you’ll never need to learn about pieces of pie and how many make a whole when you are drafting releases or selling in to the media. Many tears were shed in my maths classes back then.

This time next year, I’ll be…
Hopefully celebrating another great year of growth at Storm, having beaten our targets again and toasting our success with my great team somewhere snowy on our annual ski trip.

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