My career journey: David Clare

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Tyto team: David Clare (top left); Brendon Craigie (second from right)
Tyto team: David Clare (top left); Brendon Craigie (second from right)

Guest author David Clare is a Partner at Tyto PR. They’re hiring.

In the summer of 2010, I graduated from the University of Lincoln, tossing my mortarboard high up into the air with extra glee since I’d already begun my career, after being offered a job before even submitting my dissertation or taking my final exams.

The success I had early in my career, joining 33 Digital as soon as my last lecture took place, had a lot to do with a work experience role I took for just two weeks. During the work experience, I created a Twitter list of all those featured in the PRWeek Power 500. The campaign was successful, with coverage and awareness from the PR elite.

I did make the mistake of omitting Drew Benvie, then MD of 33 Digital from the list, but he couldn’t have been nicer about it, considering he offered me a job.  

Not that I realised it back then, but this provided me with the first of what I consider ‘core’ lessons in life with regards to my career. In this article, I would like to share my learnings, in the hope it helps the next generation of PRs.

Walk the talk

I am incredibly thankful for this series of events that has led to where I am today. It taught me that anyone can talk about how great they are, but it is when you show your capacity for greatness that people stand up and listen. The PRWeek Twitter list I created did just this.

This is something I have tried to continue to do as much as possible throughout my career. For example, I worked very closely with 33’s sister agency, Hotwire, showcasing my digital skills to their more traditional team. Ultimately, this led to becoming the Digital Consultant within the more prominent agency.

Work your network

My next lesson came from growing and working at my network. I put my hand up for new opportunities and met more and more PRs and marketers. I found that expanding your network will almost always bring opportunities to you.

For example, I worked on secondment twice a week for Microsoft, and then the same for Facebook, when I moved to Blue Rubicon. The in-house experience is hugely valuable to agencies and so worth going for whenever you get the chance.

During this time, I was also playing around with digital health tech. Wearables were becoming the next big thing, and I created a very successful blog, which was a media partner for WIRED Health three times. However, it was as a media partner for Health 2.0 where I found my next career opportunity.

I bumped into a senior executive at Boehringer Ingelheim, and by the end of the day, he had told his marketing agency to invite me in to interview. Within a month or so I was Senior Programme Manager for his marketing agency, Nitro Digital, and attending his next event as his PR representative. My network has consistently paid off – so make sure to work at yours.

Reflect

I would never have anticipated going back to a previous company. My understanding was your keep going forward. Always new things.

My next major lesson was that reflection, looking back at past experiences, can be just as useful as driving forward.  

Having started my career within the Hotwire Group, in 2014 I was considering the decisions I had made in leaving. After bumping into some old colleagues at a PRCA event, I decided I wanted back in. I was expecting my first child at the time and knew the working culture was just what I needed.

Part of my reflection was knowing I could do incredible work within the tech space. In fact, while at Hotwire this second time around, my work was recognised when I was listed in PRWeek’s 30 under 30. It felt almost full-circle, having used such a list to launch my career, to now being featured – right there on the front cover – in one of their power lists myself.

London isn’t everything

Now that I had a family, my desire to be at home more was strong. I’m sure this is quite common for the stage of life I was at and have since seen many other London PRs from my cohort leave for more rural living and work. The lesson I didn’t expect was you can have just as exciting and challenging (in the positive sense) a career outside of London as in it.

I left London to become Director of PR at Fox Agency, a B2B marketing agency in Leeds, which allowed me to work from the office twice a week, work from London once a week (in fact I led the London office) and work from home twice a week. It gave me a little bit of everything, but with much more flexibility.

I again appeared in the industry press, not just for my appointment but for the awards we were winning, But another person was gaining a little more attention.

The Global CEO of Hotwire, Brendon Craigie, had left the agency, and there was plenty of mystery around his next steps. I was let in on the secret. Brendon was planning to create an entirely new sort of agency. It would be an agency which allowed people like myself to work on global projects, with incredible brand names, but to work from wherever we wanted to.

The agency was developing a PR Without Borders model, which brought the very best people from across Europe together as one client-focused team. The agency was to become Tyto PR; a European PR agency focused on the colliding worlds of tech, science and innovation, which I joined as Partner and Head of Practice just before our launch in October 2017.

This isn’t just my story  

Throughout your career, you will find new opportunities. However, very rarely do you find that magic opportunity. In my case, buying into someone else’s story led to where I am today, and the great opportunities I have each and every day.

Not only does Tyto allow me to work on world-class clients, delivering world-class PR, but it also impacts on my personal life too. I get to work from home for the majority of the week, meaning I get to put my son to bed each night, but I also go to London regularly, nor does a week goes by where I do not see the team face to face. I also get to travel across Europe, even spending weeks in Valencia at our incredible twice-yearly ‘Hack Weeks’.  

Hopefully, there are lessons to be learned from my story. However, the one takeaway I encourage you to have is to never worry about making a change. If you want to go after a new opportunity, do it. If you’re going to go back, do it.

If you want to be able to do world-class work, but not necessarily commute to London every day, you can do it. In fact, since we are hiring at Tyto, I guarantee you can do it!