…(you may have heard us mention a couple times before ????). But what led us to this point has been very different for all our team.
For some, it’s been a preordained journey, for others, impact communications is something they fell into via hospitality. As this week is Careers Week, we’re taking a look back at our careers and basking in the collective chaos of it all.
Career path rating: as the crow flies ????
“I got into PR conventionally enough. My dad was a journalist, so I figured crossing over to the dark side, as he calls it, was an option. I had also been rejected from all the graduate intake jobs in HR that I had applied to, so there was that too.
I wrote letters (in the form of a press release – and yes that still makes me cringe) to all the PR companies in Newcastle in the phone book (it was the year 2000) and one of them gave me a job. I worked there for nine months, learning everything I could in a small team, before moving to London and working for a series of big agencies.
I then had kids. Left PR. Came back to PR. Took a break from PR. Moved to Vienna. Trained to become a spin instructor. Moved back to the UK and joined J&G. And I have never been happier. I spend three days a week in the J&G virtual office and three days teaching cycle classes at a studio in Leeds. Sometimes you have to leave something to find out how much you love it.”
Career path rating: the very scenic route ????️
“I’ve had a bit of a squiggly career so far. I left school not knowing what I wanted to do professionally, but having spent some of my childhood growing up in another country I did know I wanted to work abroad. I studied travel and tourism and got a job working for a Scandinavian tour operator, where I spent time working in Norway and Finland.
Moving back to England, I then worked for artisan salt company Maldon. It’s a family-run business so I got to experience lots of different roles there – from working with the commercial team to digital marketing and branding – and I was able to challenge myself, use my creativity and grow as a person.
I knew I wanted to work for a B-Corp and admired Jack & Grace’s way of working. By chance, I worked with (my now colleague) Abs on a project last year, we made a really great connection and stayed in touch – which helped me secure my role at J&G.”
Career path rating: sniper-like accuracy ????
“My earliest memory of understanding comms and realising my love for it was at the age of five, when I told my mum how a cruise company could improve their marketing. At school, I was always drawn to creative subjects and adored art, textiles and photography.
I enrolled at Northumbria University in 2014 on a fashion design and marketing course but after a year, I realised I was more interested in PR and comms so changed. It wasn’t an easy transition but in my final year it all turned around as I was inspired by my course leader and loved working with a live client and putting the theory into practice.
I went on to secure my first job in comms in 2018 in the automotive industry before moving back down to Lincolnshire in 2019, and working for a not-for-profit regeneration company, which is where I met Laura! I’m so grateful that my path led me to meeting her and becoming the “first born” of Jack & Grace (alongside Dre). My journey with the company has been incredible and the best experience of my life. Looking forward to celebrating three years this year!”
Career path rating: some bumps in the road ????️
“Fed up of a lifetime of being told ‘we can’t change things too much, this is how it’s always been done’ and ‘we have to work with the horrible clients in order to fund our work for the good ones’, Laura and I decided to embark on an experiment to test that out. We started with a simple mission – what can we change about office-based work, and business? How far can we push it? What old ‘rules’ can we chuck out? And Jack & Grace was born.
Before J&G, I studied history and sociology at university, and there’s only so much you can do with that – so I went into comms! And loved it. Initially for a huge global civil engineering and environment consultancy, then for charities, then working on behaviour change campaigns in comms agencies. So many agencies are terribly, terribly run. Which crushed me for a bit, and then gave me inspiration to set up my own business.”
Career path rating: straight as a die ????
“Although my route to comms was traditional, it began as a happy accident but has picked up purpose.
Having got good grades in business studies at A level, it seemed sensible to continue with it at university. I chose a degree that had a year in industry as part of a four-year course and by that time I’d narrowed my specialism to marketing which meant I needed to find a placement in the field.
I struck gold by landing a PR and comms role at a global civil engineering firm which gave me a brilliant opportunity to get my hands on some big projects, and I learned loads. I went back to uni to complete my degree then took a graduate marketing and comms position while studying for my Chartered Institute of Marketing diploma and postgrad diploma, which eventually led to me gaining Chartered status.
I spent the next 10 years working in the public sector for economic development companies, and then finally decided – at the beginning of the global pandemic in 2020 – that it was the perfect time to set up Jack & Grace with Nyree. We were both looking for more purpose in our work and wanted to use the business as a force for good. Jack & Grace became our vehicle for change, and we’ve never looked back.”
Career path rating: you’ve done it all ????
“Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel’s, Make Me Smile comes to mind when I think about my career. The opening line ‘You’ve done it all’ is certainly not too far from the truth!
Like all children, I had a dream of what I wanted to be when I grew up, but whilst I never quite managed to don my gown and wig and become a KC, I’ve still had an exciting ride so far. Having trained as a journalist, I worked as a hotel receptionist, plant hire manager and executive assistant before being given an opportunity to work in comms.
It was a chance encounter with Laura at our previous place of work that led to me working at J&G, and it’s proved to be quite the learning curve for me in more ways than one!
I think it’s really easy to feel like a failure if you haven’t achieved what you thought you would by a certain age or if you feel you have potential that is yet to be realised. Don’t compare yourself to other people but more importantly, don’t be so hard on yourself. I had some of the best times of my life, and excelled in jobs that weren’t in comms and gained skills and learnt lessons that are invaluable to me now.”
Career path rating: well-travelled ????????♀️
“I tried relentlessly to get into publishing (I really love books), doing a years’ worth of work experience and interviewing for entry level jobs weekly. I had a sneaky suspicion that I wasn’t quite ‘fitting in’ (I couldn’t find many faces that looked like mine in editorial) and that maybe that’s why I wasn’t landing the roles (just a hunch). Then I got a work experience placement in the press department for one of the big publishers, and realised the pace was way better suited to my working style – and I really enjoyed flexing my creative muscles in ways that didn’t just include copy editing.
Comms is fun, challenging and no two-weeks look the same. It blends a lot of skills and experience and I still feel as though I’m learning – which I think is why it was the right career path for me (I need to be kept on my toes!)”
Career path rating: a smooth transition ⛷️
“I always felt very passionate about writing and telling stories – I wrote my first “book” before I even knew how to write properly. But after school, I wasn’t sure where that would lead me, so I did a voluntary year of social service in a Kindergarten. I learned valuable lessons – including that working with children was not a long-term option for me – and afterwards decided to follow my passion and work as a journalist.
I was a freelance journalist for three years alongside my studies and I loved every part of it. Then I spent a semester abroad in Newcastle (it was abroad for me at that point) and learned more about public relations.
I was fascinated by what you can achieve with words and how strategic communication can have a massive positive impact. So, after some more work experience at a German online magazine and an in-house PR department, I decided to go all in, move to the UK and started my master’s in PR. After finishing my studies last year, I was lucky enough to find Jack & Grace!”
Career path rating: meandering ????????♀️
“Comms is challenging, hard work, fast-moving, relentless… You need to be tenacious, on-the-ball and keen to learn. So, probably not something I would’ve picked out of choice.
Up until Jack & Grace, I hadn’t really had much of a career in mind and had mostly worked in roles that let me do things I liked: I enjoyed writing at school so studied journalism at uni, working on an organic farm let me spend time outdoors, penning hundreds of low-quality articles on menopause facilitated me living in Peru. Freelancing as a copywriter and digital marketer I was then able to enjoy a four-day weekend.
But luckily, J&G was set up during the pandemic, when my freelance empire had freshly crumbled, and Nyree (sister/bossman) came to me with an offer I couldn’t refuse. And I’m incredibly grateful it’s panned out like this!
J&G nurtures and supports, helping me meet the challenges of the job in my own way (I can now, for instance, if ABSOLUTELY necessary, call people on the telephone without too much trepidation), as well as offering the flexibility to work however suits you. The job is also really varied, so I’m able to use all the skills I’ve picked up over my less than precise career path, especially the menopause knowledge.”
Whatever your career path looks like, we’re always keen to hear from brilliant people to join our growing team. So, if you’re driven by purpose and think we’re a good match, get in touch for a chat: firstname.lastname@example.org