Unlike many of my fellow Rhizomers, I'm not an ex-hack and have been loyal to the PR game from the very beginning.
Throughout my career, I've led media campaigns for several Fortune 500 companies with the aim of increasing brand exposure and supporting strategic marketing initiatives. I've also had the pleasure of working with exciting startups, helping them build their brand’s reputation from the ground up.
When I’m not securing top-tier media coverage for my clients, you’ll either find me Netflix-binging, which usually involves eating copious amounts of chocolate; in a salsa bar stepping on people's toes trying to learn the Latin dance; or exploring London's food scene.
I’ll leave you with a weird fact about myself – I don’t drink tea or coffee...I know, shocking stuff! It's a mystery how I survive the working day.
I am the unassuming and modest member of the Rhizome team, working quietly in the background, ensuring that Rhizome purrs along like a Persian cat with cream-covered whiskers. Away from work, you’ll find me in some Costa or other in Bath, panting like an Alsatian dog with heatstroke and partaking in a little military fitness training.
I find my most creative feature ideas pop into my cerebellum when I’m knocking out burpees in six inches of mud, with a retired army captain shouting in my ear: “Number 67, you call that a burpee? You look more like the last turkey on the shelf you poor excuse for a man.”
Oh yes, and before I made the worst/best decision of my life, and jumped onboard the Rhizome train, I dabbled in a little medicine, accountancy and television production, before finally finding my calling in the world of PR. Did I just say that?
As Rhizome’s resident broadcast media guru, I’d love to say I was born with a silver microphone in my mouth. Sadly nothing could be further from the truth.
But my childhood ambition to be an astronaut foundered when I realised that rocket science is, in fact, rocket science. So I read languages at Cambridge instead. Graduating hungover and overdrawn, I decided to become a journalist. A professional gossip – how hard could it be?
Soon I was an ink-stained hack on the local paper. The pay was atrocious, but the perks… well my name was on the guest list of every nightclub in the Fens. OK, so I may not have been the East Anglian P Diddy,but I was very good at talking and showing off. So I switched to being a TV reporter. I joined the BBC, and rose up the ranks to foreign correspondent – first in Brussels and then Washington DC.
But eventually I decided to give my passport a rest and plunged headlong into the world of PR. From the Rhizome eyrie I’m now all about getting our clients as much broadcast coverage as possible. I’m still drawn to cameras and radio studios like a moth to a flame, so I also use my expertise to provide broadcast media training for clients who find the idea a tad daunting.
Having defected from journalism in 2018, the only thing I’ve found myself missing is the opportunity to introduce myself as a reporter at parties. Telling people I ‘do PR’ usually receives some quizzical looks. The benefit, however, is I no longer have to pretend to laugh when people ‘joke’ that our conversation is ‘off the record’.
I fled local journalism so I did not have to witness the loss of more newspapers around the country. Thankfully Rhizome doesn’t mind an ex-hack with cynicism running through their veins, so I packed up my bags and moved from the South West back to my hometown of Luton.
It turns out that PR is a lot like journalism. I’m still juggling multiple stories at once, determined to get something onto a front page and knee-deep in research. Outside work, I’m usually at the cinema, watching cricket, or down the pub. I also love accumulating history books, and I’m sure I’ll get round to reading them one of these days.
By the time I arrived on Earth in the early 80s it was five-and-a-half centuries since my ancestor Gilles de Rais – one of the worst mass murderers in history – had been executed (true story). It was time to give something back so I became a Fleet Street hack.
Having paid this debt to society at the Sunday Mirror, The People, Evening Standard, Mail and The Sun, and just in time to dodge the post-truth age (which ironically doesn’t exist), I decided to find out what else life had to offer.
Favourite hobbies include commuting and eating. Oh and I like making conference calls in fields. How can you think straight with all that furniture?
Truth is I still get a thrill out of finding a good story and I’m delighted to have stumbled over Dominic who has assembled a crack team of ex-journalists and bright sparks to wreak multi-media havoc in a world where, thankfully, the story is still king.
When I left university in 2017, I had the world at my feet. Sadly my laces were tied and I had no clue what to do. All I knew is that I wasn’t quite ready to hang up my party shoes in London just yet.
Some of my friends had gone into PR and journalism and the industry caught my eye. I loved writing, had an interest in learning about what makes a brand tick and had an affinity for Samantha Jones from Sex and the City. PR made sense. I fell into Rhizome’s embrace with open arms and, as they say, the rest is history.
I still get a kick out of sending out a press release and waking up the next morning to discover hundreds of hits (OK, that's on a good day, admittedly) but I also love the feeling of securing coverage for a client in their one dream publication.
Originally hailing from Yorkshire, I’ve become accustomed to having my accent mocked by Southerners over the years. That’s the price you pay for coming from the best region of England. Away from my desk I love travelling, French-Canadian cinema, overpriced coffee shops, house music and trying not to come across as a desperate hipster.
Like every journalist, my career began with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. If you think that sounds boring, you’re right: it’s well boring (which, as it happens, is the mechanical process for drilling boreholes). That’s an engineering joke.
Countless hours of calculus, fluid mechanics and designing bolts (no, really) persuaded me to take the plunge and retrain as a reporter. After four years at local and regional papers I found myself in my dream job: writing headlines for The Sun, a role I enjoyed for 13 years.
Writing tabloid headlines is the purest form of storytelling there is. You have two words, sometimes one, to convey to readers what a story is about and whether it is worth reading. Fail to grab them, and they move past to the next tale. Write a great page one headline and you’ll sell more newspapers.
When advising clients, it’s all about the story. We don’t write press releases just for the sake of it. We don’t write press releases just to take your money. We’re here to find a story that will get you and your business into the media.
End of story.
I’m the newest member of Rhizome’s team - having previously spent more than a decade working on Fleet Street.
In my newspapering days, I enjoyed a front-row seat to some of the biggest stories of our time, from the Madeleine McCann inquiry to natural disasters in remote parts of the world.
But my colleagues remember me best for travelling to Russia to save a paragliding donkey from the clutches of a vicious mafia gang, before later handing the animal over to the Kremlin.
These days I’m helping businesses get out there on the public’s radar using everything I’ve learned from my days in newspapers.
At Rhizome storytelling is our business . . . and right now business happens to be very good.