Building a career in communication

About the author

Ann is a co-founder of PR Academy. Her special areas of interest are internal communication, change management and project communication. MSc, Dip CAM, MCIPR

Doing what we do we’re lucky to meet lots of inspiring people who are passionate about working in and studying communications. Marianela Venables is not only one such person but a standout achiever in our book. I caught up with her at the recent CIPR graduation ceremony and she told me her story…

Venezuelan born, fluent in Spanish and English, and having studied Law for four years (we know!), Marianela came to work in the UK to teach English as a foreign language in 2003. She admits she always had an interest in communications. ‘I always had an interest in what, where I come from, we call social comms, which is a mixture of marketing, PR and journalism’, she says. She goes on to explain how she thought working as a PA, where you learn a lot about a business and reputation management, would be a good way into the profession.

It was while working as a PA at Ernst & Young that Marianela looked around for a course in PR and came across the CIPR Foundation Award. With the Foundation under her belt and working as a PA to both the head of media relations and head of internal comms, she went on to study for the CIPR Advanced Certificate in public relations with us before securing her dream job working in internal comms as part of Ernst &Young’s global communications team. You might think job done, but a year into this role Marianela decided to study for the CIPR Internal Communications Diploma.

What does she like most about learning? ‘You see the value in it for you’, she says. ‘Some people shy away from it after uni, but if you choose to learn about something you really like and are passionate about, studying is fun.’ For Marianela, studying for a formal qualification was about getting a recognised qualification as well as wanting to understand communications inside out. ‘Having a formal qualification and experience means you’ll be taken more seriously,’ she says. She goes on to explain that studying for a professional qualification gives you the chance to apply the theory so that it doesn’t ‘stay abstract’.

Marianela proves her point about the benefits of applying the theory in practice by telling me how her dissertation on two-way communication between Ernst & Young’s global comms and regional teams has impacted her own organisation’s working practices. She modestly mentions that her dissertation influenced how the company approached a particular project, bringing together communicators from different countries for a face-to-face meeting and aiding understanding between people spread out geographically.

What are some of the key things she has learnt through her studies? ‘A good grounding in the subject’, she tells me. ‘A lot of people don’t have that grounding’. The biggest learning for her she says was having what she knew confirmed: that communications was the career for her.

Will she continue her studies? Without hesitating she says, ‘I want to do an introduction to marketing course next.’