CIPR Inside Committee profile – Jo Twisleton

We like to find out a bit more about the people who give up their time to be an active member of the CIPR Inside committee. All of them work in internal communication, so it’s interesting to hear their views, what they love (and sometimes hate) about internal communications. So once everyone’s settled in we run some interview and Q&A pieces with them.

First up in this year’s committee profiles is Jo Twislteton. Jo works as a freelance communications and engagementJo Twisleton consultant, specifically helping organisations going through any change or transformation.

 

How long have you been working in the world of comms? And specifically in internal comms?

Just over twenty years ago, I began working in marketing communications for Nokia when they were the world’s largest mobile phone company.  For the next ten years, I worked in different roles in Nokia and other organisations, gaining experience in marketing, copywriting, PR, events management, brand and internal communications. Since 2004, my work in internal communications has increased; the majority of my projects tend to focus primarily on internal communication and engagement.

What was your route into working in communications / internal communications?

I originally began my career nearly 25 years ago as a PA – I still have great typing, shorthand and organisation skills. After joining Nokia, I gradually moved into different roles, whilst also studying a CIM Diploma in Marketing which included a module in marketing communications.  When the opportunity for a role in that specialism came up I applied and six weeks later ended up in Helsinki.  From the different aspects of the generalist marketing communications roles I’ve done I really enjoyed internal communications, hence getting more involved in it over the last few years.

What made you join the committee?

The volunteers on the committee do a great job of consistently raising the profile of internal communications, helping to share best practice, encouraging debate and moving us forward.  I wanted to support this and also give something back to the industry – I’m also a mentor on the CIPR mentoring scheme.

Why have you chosen the events or area of interest which you have chosen to support?

I’m leading on Professional Development which I’m really passionate about. Many professions have Continuous Professional Development programmes, helping members to hone their skills and so change their organisations for the better. CIPR is no different.  In the Professional Development area, we’re helping identify key training and development needs in internal communications for our members as well as encouraging them to actively participate in CPD so they can gain accredited Practitioner status and raise the profile and standing of our profession overall.

What do you love about internal comms?

I love to see people light up as they tell their own stories about the organisation they work for or something they’ve done that’s made a real difference; however big or small that might be.

What has made you most proud during your comms career?

I worked as the communication lead for easyJet’s introduction of allocated seating across the airline. I led a cross-business team that touched almost every function in the organisation to make sure we were communicating with the right people at the right time with the right messages and in the right way – both staff and passengers.  In such a large-scale change, having a team of focused experts from across the organisation worked really well (and we had fun!) and definitely helped us to succeed. Good team-work and communication was the most positive feedback in our post-project review. It still gives me a buzz when I think about it!

What was your worst moment in your comms career?

As a newbie PR in Nokia, I supported an interview between a board member and a feature writer from Time magazine.  As the interview finished, our board member started a sentence with ‘So Paul, off the record…’  I didn’t have time to intervene, so quickly rang my boss afterwards (in a panic, having already imagined the headlines). He calmly explained that this particular board member did this every time and not to worry. From then, I always thoroughly researched my interviewee – however well I thought I knew them – as well as the journalist.

What is your biggest bug bear in internal communication?

I often see internal communication being viewed tactically, so typically seen as the team producing powerpoints or updating the intranet. In the same vein, internal comms is often bought in too late to advise so the value we can add is diminished or even lost entirely.

What do you like to do to escape it all?

At any time of the year it’s reading and keeping fit – I’ll read anything and everything, from cookbooks to novels to books about communication or psychology. In winter, I love skiing.

 

Thanks to Jo for sharing this with us and being the first to step up into the limelight.

 

Image credit: Profile image- Jo’s own. Featured image – Nathalie Gouzée, Splashbase.co

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