CIPR Inside committee profile – Sasha Watson

We like to share a little about our CIPR Inside committee members. They are the people who make our events happen, who have the ideas and turn them into something useful for our members. Today we hear from Sasha Watson, Director of Internal Communications at ARM Holdings.Sasha Watson

 

Over to Sasha:

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

Twenty years next year. Where has the time gone? I started in PR then picked up internal communications work around 2003.

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

I think I am one of the few who meant to get into communications!  I studied communications at A-level and thought, I love this, and it’s what I want to do.  I then studied communications and sociology at university. During my final year I then thought I wanted to go into advertising because I loved the creativity.

My heart sank when I was given advice by someone senior in the advertising world that told me I had to choose which part of advertising I wanted to do.  Creative, account management, media planning.  What? I wanted to do all of it!

So I went into PR.  You get to do it all: writing, creativity, media, industry analysts, work across different industries.  Then I had more of a focus on corporate communications which is where internal communications was introduced.  Employees became a key audience when creating campaigns, especially for leaders.  I really liked the focus on people and engagement rather than media coverage and messages so here I am 🙂

What made you join the committee?

I have a vast PR network but I am not as closely connected to the IC industry as I’d like to be.  I want to share ideas, best practice and keep on developing.  Plus it’s nice to know more people going through similar challenges. Makes you feel less crazy or just part of a crazy collective

 

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

I am supporting the awards (have you entered yet?). I love events and any excuse to wear nice shoes.  Seriously, I think that it is really important to showcase what we do and the impact we have. I am really excited that we are shaking up the awards a little bit. Watch this space…

 

What do you love about internal comms?

That we are making a real difference to organisations. That no one day is the same. That I am never bored and still after all this time I am still learning

 

What has made you most proud during your comms career?

My first piece of national coverage in the Times Interface was focussed on CSR before it became such a buzz word.  I was on top of the world when that was published.

 

What was your worst moment in your comms career?

Not sure if this was a worst moment but it was very hard working on a large change programme that resulted in people I know and liked losing their jobs.  It was very difficult to create messaging and a plan of how to roll this out when all I could think about was individual circumstances.  But this taught me that you have to be authentic in your communications.  Knowing that there was a business reason for this change and that roles were falling away instead of individuals being eliminated helped. It wasn’t personal, it was business.  It wasn’t easy but going through it taught me a lot.

 

What is your biggest bug bear in internal communication?

I am pushed to the brink of rage when people treat IC professionals like post-boxes. They default to the channel.  Of course channels are the most visible thing we do but the complete lack of consideration to why people want to communicate still frustrates me.  “I want to tell everyone about x in the newsletter” But WHY???  “Because we really need to raise awareness of x”  But WHY?  I default to four years old. Why, why, why, why, why?

 

What do you like to do to escape it all?

Laugh at Nanny Plum’s one-liners (Google her, she’s really awesome).

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Thank you to Sasha for her great answers – we did Google Nanny Plum and found her on twitter too 🙂

Don’t miss the deadline for the #insidestory awards. 20 November for early entries and late entries accepted until 6pm on Friday 27 November. Read more about them here.

 

 

 

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