Julie Brander, Senior Account Executive
How long have you been at Weber Shandwick and what do you do?
I joined Weber Shandwick at the end of 2012 as an Account Executive and became a Senior Account Executive two years later.
I’m lucky that I get to be based in Aberdeen but work across all three offices in Scotland on a range of sectors. My clients include Chapelton, Scotland’s largest planned new town, Barratt Homes, the Caledonian Sleeper, NorthLink Ferries, Scottish Gas, CityFibre and Andy Murray’s Cromlix hotel.
How did you end up working at Weber Shandwick?
I had just graduated from the Business School at Robert Gordon University. With advertising internships in London and New York and a journalism placement with the Scotsman under my belt, I was keen to try my hand at PR. I applied for an internship in the Aberdeen office and loved it.
A few weeks later I was offered a job in the Glasgow office which was great. I had the opportunity to develop my writing skills, widen my knowledge across many sectors and increase my understanding of the media.
In spring 2013 I transferred to Aberdeen and have been here ever since.
What do you enjoy most about working at Weber Shandwick?
Everyone always says it but it’s definitely the people. Working with a great team across our three Scottish offices brings many opportunities.
Not only do I learn a lot from my colleagues but they also provide the best support. We’re constantly being trained and developed and with such a broad range of skills, knowledge and disciplines in the Weber Shandwick family, we learn a lot from each other.
The nights out together are also great – I’ve definitely built up a hangover tolerance.
What would you say has been your career highlight?
There have been so many! During my past four years with Weber Shandwick I’ve met a lot of incredible people but a highlight has to be the launch of Andy Murray’s Cromlix hotel and meeting the man himself.
The run up to the opening of the hotel was hard work but sitting having breakfast with Andy Murray on the launch day definitely made it worth it.
We secured an amazing amount of coverage which has led to many more incredible opportunities, including the launch of Judy Murray’s own accessories collection in partnership with Harris Tweed.
What would you say is the most enjoyable aspect of working in public relations/communications in Scotland?
In Scotland we’re lucky to have a high number of varied and prosperous industries. That brings the opportunity work across a wide range of sectors which is something I really enjoy.
Away from work, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I’ve tried a number of hobbies and sports but horse riding has been a firm favourite. Living in the city makes it a little difficult to get out for a hack but I try to make up the time when I’m home at my parents’ in the country.
Other than that I have a weird hobby of collecting old books. It’s getting a bit out of control and I’m running out of bookshelf space…
Tell us something not many people know about you
The only two bones I’ve ever broken are my toe and my right rib. The first after being stood on by a horse and the latter after falling off an elephant whilst volunteering in Nepal. Maybe I should stay clear of larger animals…
What do you consider to be your guilty pleasure(s)?
I hate to admit it but I couldn’t live without the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Nothing beats watching that show in my pyjamas and eating a bag of Milkybar Buttons.
Who is your must read columnist / publication?
I’ve been obsessed with Tatler for quite some time now and Features Director Sophia Money-Coutts provides the best wit. She has my kind of sense of humour, admits that it’s okay to watch Made and Chelsea and like it and has an Instagram account that always makes me giggle inside a little.
What was the last book you read and last film/boxset watched?
Like everyone else, the last boxset I watched was Season 6 of Game of Thrones. And like everyone else, it blew my mind.
What would be your advice to someone entering the industry?
Get as much experience as possible. Whether it’s writing for a local paper, contributing to a blog, reading up on the latest digital trends or shadowing for a couple of weeks, that experience will come in really handy when you’re sitting in an interview.
And finally, if you could improve one thing about PR in Scotland, what would it be?
I’ve been blabbing on about this one a lot recently but in the consumer sector I think there’s a great opportunity to champion our own digital and social influencers.
So many brands are interested in working with bloggers and influencers but they instantly reach for those in London or further afield. We have a great network of bloggers in Scotland who are well connected and sharing quality content on the food and drink, tourism and textiles industries.
LinkedIn: Julie Brander