Internal comms and I have been together for most of my career. It was love at first sight. A journey of communications brought us together. Journalism had been my first love, but, what can I say… we grew apart. I was tempted by the lure of corporate communications and struck up a relationship with a job as a media relations officer at City of London Police. That was when internal comms and I first met.
“Jaki, could you write some articles for the staff mag, please?”
It was a can of worms opened – and I loved what I saw inside… a swirling mass of changes to communicate, priorities and progress to report and intrigue people with, projects to help steer. I was hooked. I knew this fascinating stranger was for me, and so I sought out my first fully internal comms role, with Camden Council.
City Police drew me back before long, though, enticed by a new role as internal comms manager. I had arrived! Here I was at the beating heart of the organisation, with my communications as its lifeblood. I was at the centre of all that was going on, helping drive change and progress with my campaigns and channels.
After several happy years, it was time to have a family – my very own internal comms team at the Metropolitan Police Service. We had big challenges to tackle together, but I was enthralled by helping them develop in their roles.
Then, the time came to leave London behind. The north was calling. I adopted a newly formed family at Lancashire County Council and spent two happy years engrossed in the biggest employee engagement programme they’d ever had, along with the biggest budget cuts they’d ever faced.
I followed a dashing film-maker (you’ll read more about him below!). Eden Lighthouse was born, helping organisations in the Eden Valley with their communications. Many of our challenges have been on the external side, from marketing Eden’s food and farming festival for three years running, to chatting to the public about some fantastic local charities. How fantastic it’s been to gain two years of experience in external marketing, discovering the power of social media, websites and all those fantastic tools. But it hasn’t wooed me away from my first love and internal comms remains my passion.