Spotlight: Emilie Lawson, Senior Account Manager

Hey there,

I’m Emilie – along with being a Senior Account Manager at Agent99, I also carry a few other titles. Those would include ‘Captain Culture,’ ‘Musical Theatre Geek’ or ‘Carb Lover.’

Along with helping lead and execute campaigns on several client accounts, and overseeing some of the training of our junior team, I have the privilege of championing the culture initiatives at Agent99 and finding unique ways to create moments of spontaneity and fun amongst our growing team.

And obviously, if you couldn’t tell by the title, my two defining characteristics are my love for some good bread, and a good musical theatre show.

5 Faux Questions

  1. We hear you’ve had a varied experience in PR. Can you tell us a bit about your journey?

Yes! So, when I started in PR, I was a wee little 18-year-old and I somehow secured a PR job at a health and pharmaceutical PR agency. Did I know it was health PR when I interviewed? Maybe not. Did I know anything about health PR at all? Absolutely not. But regardless, it was an opportunity that I jumped at whilst in my first year of university. Whilst I took the PR job as a way to gauge whether I should continue down this career and study path, soon I fell in love with the work and clients, and I knew I’d made the right choice. During my 3.5 years working in health PR, I learnt many valuable skills alongside the PR basics such as crisis communication, corporate strategy, fundraising and awareness campaigns and new business development.

Whilst I loved my time in health PR, I realised that my passion area truly lied in consumer PR, so I made the jump to Agent99 and again, I knew I’d made the right choice. Now I have a bit more creative freedom to do some exciting and experimental campaign work, as well as get the opportunity to run more events (which is something I really enjoy!)

2. Most of us baked Banana Bread in lockdown…instead you started a master’s degree in Strategic Communication. Can you tell us why you decided to pursue this?

One lesser-known thing about me is that I actually get quite excited about strategic communication and behavioural theory in marketing…I remember being so enamoured in university reading case studies of marketing campaigns that had been so successful they led to changed hearts/minds towards particular issues. And while my undergraduate degree didn’t touch on this too much, I decided lockdown was the perfect time to go a bit deeper in my studies and learn the wider theory behind marketing and communications, so that I too can hopefully one day have a hand in creating my own campaigns that create real change in our society.

3. You have been running the Agent99 Internship Program for over 3 years now. What are the top characteristics you’re looking for in your interns (keeping in mind they’re usually quite fresh to the industry so might not have as much experience to offer?)

  • Number 1 – Hardworking
    I don’t really mind whether an intern comes to me with no experience in communications, or whether they’ve already done a handful of internships. If they can prove to me that they are hardworking no matter the role or circumstance, this is a major tick in my book! And this can be determined by things such as whether they’ve been able to hold down responsibilities at work/at uni, and can demonstrate their commitment to tasks such as assessments, extra curriculars etc.
  • Number 2 – Hungry to Learn
    There is nothing worse that interviewing a candidate who is aloof and clearly isn’t really interested in the PR Job. As an intern or junior employee, you should be a sponge! Ready to learn and absorb whatever you can from being around experienced PR practitioners. An eagerness to learn is truly what can set you apart from other candidates.
  • Number 3 – Punctual and Proactive
    This is a hugely personal one, but lack of punctuality and proactivity is my biggest bug bear in the office. These days when you ask someone how their week is going, the default answer in 2022 is ‘BUSY.’ And while some of us are busier than others, a punctual and proactive person is the ultimate candidate in my mind. By being on time, sticking to deadlines and being proactive in asking for work to do, you show me and others around you in the office, that you value their time and want to make their lives easier.

4. What has been one of your biggest challenges working in PR and how did you overcome it?
Well, as with any PR job, you will have your good days and your bad days. One of the biggest challenges I came up against was when an event I was hosting in a past PR role completely blew up in front of me…one hour before it was supposed to start! Anything that could possibly go wrong, went wrong. We had speakers drop out, press releases being pulled, attendees flaking, stylists falling off set pieces and our AV not working…it was a hot mess! But, knowing it was too far down the line to cancel, we persisted. So, after a two-minute rant in a closet by myself, I rallied my team, we got our guest speaker back on track, we calmly negotiated with the client until they were comfortable to proceed with our communications plan, we invited some of our back-up media attendees…and we got our stylist some ice for her bruised elbow. In the end, the event was a pretty good success, and we got the results we aimed for. The most important lesson this taught me early in my PR career, was to always try and stay level-headed and solutions oriented during a crisis…and this has continued to serve me well until this day.

5. You mention in your intro that you have a few other titles at Agent99 such as ‘Carb Lover’ and ‘Musical Theatre Geek.’ What’s that all about?

Well it doesn’t require much explanation…but I think if you were to ask me what was the one thing I couldn’t live without, I think I’d pull a Kimmy K and instead of answering ‘family’ or ‘friends’ to that question, I’d say that it’s an even split between bread and a good musical theatre show.

You want to get on my good side, buy me a carbohydrate…any form will do. If you want to get to know me, just ask me what musical I saw recently or am currently performing in. I’ll legit love you forever. My little side gig is performing in community theatre shows, which I feel keeps me super grounded and maintaining a good work/life balance.

We are always on the hunt for amazing talented people to join our PR team! We love passionate, honest, driven people, who really care about creating an impact for our clients! To apply, please visit our careers page and drop us a line for a confidential chat!

Agent Em