How and why did you decide to go into communications?
Communications may seem like an unusual pick for me. I started out as a Latin teacher before becoming a ‘career academic’ and several years in Israel doing archaeology and research at universities, collecting a PhD along the way. While my research was always fascinating, the long hours spent in libraries made me miss working closely with other people. I enjoy collaborating with intelligent people, presenting ideas, plotting out projects and bringing work to fruition. When I realised that I needed to move away from academia, I found that communications was surprisingly a perfect fit for the majority of my favourite aspects of work – and a bonus that I had a team to work with.
Relaying ideas and helping people bring their insights to those who should hear them is at the core of what we do. I find this kind of work incredibly satisfying, and it brings together core skills that I gained as a researcher.
How have you found working in lockdown over the last year? How have you found the return to the office?
I never expected to grow quite as much as I did during lockdown. One of things I love about working at JPES is the ability to call across the room to a colleague and ask any question. But lockdown forced me to figure things out for myself in a lot of ways. I went into lockdown with a solid knowledge of what I needed to do and gained the confidence to just get on and do it.
We were lucky to have a such a strong team going into lockdown. Adjusting to the home office took patience, especially for those of us who ate, slept, exercised and worked all within several square feet! But the knowledge that you had a team at your back who would always help, and were experiencing the same things you were, ultimately made the situation that much easier.
After all this experience working from home, coming back into the office, especially with our hybrid schedule, has still been a welcome shift for me. Being able to collaborate face-to-face with colleagues is invaluable. But having quiet time at home to put my head down and get things done a few days a week makes for an excellent balance.
What areas or trends interest you the most at this time?
The world is unquestioningly running – or being dragged – headlong into a sustainable future. At this point, we really have very little choice. I am interested in how the financial world will cope with this sustainable transition – as well as how it will encourage companies and governments to rework our entire way of life. I am keenly observing those that are taking this challenge squarely by the horns and see the unlimited potential within this trend.
What do you do in your spare time?
I have discovered the English countryside in my spare time. I grew up in suburban Connecticut and while we had breathtakingly beautiful forests and mountains, I find the gentle hills of the country serene and embracing. I like to take my bicycle out for long rides from village to village – with an inevitable pub or two along the way.
But London still captures my imagination – wandering the city centre, recognising layer upon layer of history carved into every alley way. All my favourite museums are also finally starting to open new exhibitions after a long hiatus, and I could not be more thrilled to explore them all. And of course, discovering new places along the way. But I still have a soft spot for the British Museum. Even after hours poring over artifacts in their basement and walking the familiar rooms, I still find myself drawn to their lectures and exhibitions – permanent and new.
Tell us about the last book you read or the last podcast you listened to?
I’m on a Kate Atkinson kick and I’m not ashamed to say it. Thanks to one of my JPES colleagues who introduced me, I can’t get enough. I’ve devoured nearly all of them at this point and have really enjoyed just being able to be fully engrossed in the lives and times she creates.
Podcasts, however, are my go-to entertainment. My commute is filled with all my favourite daily podcasts: FT Briefing, The Indicator, Up First, Consider This, The Intelligence – seriously, I could go on. But lately I’ve been going through a series called Planet Money Summer School, which is 7-8 shows long, and which finds creative and entertaining ways to explain the forces that move our economies. It’s excellent for those who want to understand more about index funds, risk, bonds and yields.
Name one goal, professional or personal, you have set yourself for the rest of the year
On a professional level, apropos my interest in sustainability, I would like to improve my own understanding of ESG and have a more in-depth knowledge of the challenges our clients are facing and overcoming. I would like to know more about the research and regulation around ESG standards and how to weed out the true priorities.
On a personal level, I am looking forward to improving my recently acquired garden – there’s so much to learn! I am currently putting in raised beds and am eagerly picking out what veggies will fit into them for next year – when they need to be sown and how to get produce out of them with every season. I am also finding ways of creating less waste. I finally have a wormery! Those little guys eat up all my fruit and veg waste in mere days – they are inspiringly efficient, and I would recommend them to anyone interested in improving their own sustainability. I think the worms are pretty cute too, but that’s probably just me!