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Addy Frederick

I've been incredibly fortunate to have had supported bosses and business leaders who have recognised my ability and given me the opportunity to grow...

 

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Dear Future Self..

Don't forget to pay it forward. Don't forget that you are more than your job.

Tell us a bit about what you do? (job title, business, number of years of service,

I'm a communications and reputation expert with over 12 years’ experience working for well-known customer facing brands such as LV=, Barclays and Bupa. I currently work in Group Communications for Prudential, an international insurance company with operations in Africa, Asia and the US.

How have you been able to navigate your career as a Black woman in Britain?

I've been incredibly fortunate to have had supported bosses and business leaders who have recognised my ability and given me the opportunity to grow. However, I have always been quite deliberate about the choices I make in my career in relation to the roles that I will take and the professional development investment to ensure that I continue to progress. I mentor people in the early stages of their career and I always stress the importance of developing a broad network both in and outside of your place of work. Mentorship is valuable, and I now run the Women in PR mentoring scheme, but sponsorship can really help to propel your career. I have had so many great opportunities afforded to me because someone else has recommended me.

What is one of the biggest challenges you've faced in your life or career and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge remains a work in progress: striking a balance between work life and home life. At the start of my career I was really keen to develop my network of media contacts which is important for my role, but I spread myself too thinly making sure I was at every industry event. Acting like a Z list celebrity did allow my to develop some very dear industry friends and valuable contacts, but it also put a strain on my existing relationships. In recent years, I've become much more targeted in terms of the events that I attend, the extra-curricular industry activities I get involved with. I try to make sure that I'm involved in things where I can add value or they add value to me, and actively ensure that I carve out time for myself and my loved ones.

Do you have any practical tips for girls/women interested in pursuing a career in your particular field?

Ask: ask questions and ask for support. Linkedin provides you with access to industry leaders and let's you know of jobs of interest. Approach people with respect, and you'll find that most people are willing to provide support and guidance. Just do it. Communications and reputation management is so varied that you can easily find an industry which allows you to do work that you find interesting.

 

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

I once downplayed an award win on a group email and my former MD called me into his office to remind me that there will be people who try to diminish my efforts and achievements during my career and that I can't afford to be one of them. It's easy to say "thank you, but it was nothing" when you are complimented but it is better to say "thank you".

 

Our future starts now - with your experiences and everything you now know - what would you tell your future self?

 

Don't forget to pay it forward. Don't forget that you are more than your job.

 

What resources or book(s) would you recommend to a young woman wanting to level-up in her personal life or career?

James Clear's Atomic Habits is a great book on how to develop good habits. It reminds you that consistency is better than perfection and that we should be kind to ourselves as we transition to a "better" version of ourselves both inside and outside of work. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain is a great book for introverts who want to survive in communications, which can feel like it's dominated by self-assured extroverts, and recognise the strength in their silence. I actually think people who are naturally more introverted are better at communications as they listen to truly understand a problem before responding.

 

Anything else you'd like to add?

We live in a world where Mariah Carey received a $5 million dollar settlement from her ex for wasting her time. Don't work for free and research salaries within your industry to make sure you're paid what you're worth.