A day in the life of…Lisa Waterman

This week we are saying hello to our Treasurer, Lisa Waterman, who shares with us her average day…

If you’d like to take part in a future edition then please drop us a note at ciprinside@gmail.com.


Who are you?

Lisa Waterman, Treasurer for CIPR Inside. I’m also Company Director for Carter Cadogan Limited and board member for a number of non-profit organisations, including a secondary school and a number of charities that span heritage and science education, fostering, adoption, childcare, youth services, facilities management and social development.

I am responsible for:

Bookkeeping and managing CIPR Inside’s financial affairs.

Through Carter Cadogan Limited, a company I started, I provide corporate and change communication partnership and services. That’s my everyday commercial business.

For the non-profit side, my role as Company Director (and Trustee) means I am responsible for helping govern and direct how those organisations are run. Together their annual numbers are several million pounds and I’m not paid but I feel the responsibility profoundly.


My day:

I tend to get up around 6am and dedicate around an hour to the things that are just for me. I use this time to meditate, enjoy coffee, water my plants, catch up on the news and respond to friends who contacted me overnight, from different time zones.

Work mode begins around 7am, when I get dressed and start thinking about what I can and can’t cover off that day. I live in Richmond and tend to work in Central London. I am usually at the train station by 8am, for a 9am start. My journey is usually accompanied by a novel – mysteries, mostly, based in the Victorian era or early-1900s.

Once I get to the office it’s normally non-stop action: meetings, coffee catch-ups, emails, more meetings, more coffee catch-ups, tea. And it hardly matters what client it is – that’s the routine.

Currently I am leading communications on a global regulatory change programme for a large, multinational financial services organisation. It’s fascinating. Of all the industries I have worked in (and there have been A LOT) I feel like banking and anything to do with compliance best suit me. My work involves taking complex and slightly scary regulation and making it easy for folks to comply. Sometimes what I do isn’t traditional communication at all. It may be creating the playbook for a new operating model, designing training, executing town halls… it always changes and one has to always be ready for it.

I always stop for lunch. Always – no use to ANYONE if I’m hungry. During that break I quickly check my ‘personal’ emails to see what has come through from CIPR Inside or any of the other organisations I support. Usually I’m home between 9pm and 10pm; once a week or so, maybe 7pm. A naughty late dinner and catch up with loved ones before I fall asleep around 11pm.

In recent years (last four, to be exact) I have been attending evening classes on Economic Policy. That’s finished now and in the coming academic year I will be moving on to a Master’s, Economic Law. Four nights a week – yikes!

My week:

There is not a week (or day, really) that goes by where I am not doing something for my other work. Whether it is settling CIPR Inside’s bills, designing flyers for the children’s education charity or studying board papers. Some board meetings occur monthly, some every two months, others quarterly.

For my commercial business, we have critical milestones each week, so constant monitoring and effective project management is key. I’ve been expected to attend our executive steering committee and am on the programme management team. It’s really important to be able to participate and to have access to leadership, not just to build trust and credibility but to truly understand what the priorities are and how to take bespoke approaches to developing targeted communication.

What I am working on:

For my client: a suite of regulatory training, two newsletters, global function leader’s profile and communication plan, publishing a website guide, programme town hall… all requested (and due) this month.

Non-profit: Budgeting for CIPR Inside’s Conference and Awards, finishing touches for a charity’s brochure, agenda for a Policy, Communication and Fundraising committee I chair, studying board papers for two board meetings this month… pre-reading for my Law course that starts in October.

How I made internal communications my career

I have always been the “this is what’s happening” person. I was working at the US Embassy in a public-facing job and one of my ‘side of desk’ roles was Diversity Advisor. Being known for helping on diversity meant people also came to me to talk about non-diversity issues. It was at that point I realised that internal communication and effectively supporting it really mattered. I took my cue and applied for a formal internal communications role with a German investment bank; things took off from there.

Why I joined CIPR Inside, and the committee

I got close to CIPR Inside to be a part of the institution I see as responsible for internal communications excellence. I joined the committee as Treasurer to help in a way that wasn’t so much about me as a professional communicator but instead focuses on finance and operations.

My proudest moment

Receiving a touching handwritten letter from a team member, expressing how much she felt I had helped her get her mojo back and excel in her internal communications career, just by listening and advising her. Hands down proudest and most humbling career moment. EVER.

The best part of my job

The best part of any of my jobs seem to always be the same – helping other people get through with their ambitions.

The worst part of my job

A lack of resources – people, money, space, time. Always, always that.

What I would do, if not for internal comms (Plan B)

Plan B –  University lecturer, provided I had a PhD. Plan B.1 –  owner of a co-working office space. Perhaps either on retiring?

How I make internal communications count where I work

Not expecting people to be so different at work than they are at home.

Getting in touch:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisajwaterman/

Twitter: @lisajwaterman


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