Niki Stark, Account Manager
How long have you been at Weber Shandwick and what do you do?
I joined Weber Shandwick in summer 2013, and I’m based in Edinburgh as part of the public affairs team.
How did you end up working at Weber Shandwick?
After studying politics at university, I worked in the Scottish Government’s press office before doing a policy internship at Barnardo’s Scotland.
I then went on to work in the Scottish Parliament as a researcher for the Scottish Lib Dems before becoming their senior researcher and policy advisor. I spent almost five years at the parliament and it was a great place to work!
What do you enjoy most about working at Weber Shandwick?
I enjoy working across a variety of clients as you’re always learning something new. It’s also great to be able to work with our PR colleagues across Scotland and the UK to share ideas and insight.
It’s a really fun place to work and there’s always a lot of laughter!
What would you say has been your career highlight?
A highlight of my time at Weber Shandwick has been working with the National Autistic Society and its young campaigners group to organise a political hustings ahead of the recent Scottish election. I worked with the young campaigners to help them prepare for the event and it was rewarding to see them do a really great job of questioning the political candidates about the issues that are important to them as autistic teenagers.
When I worked for the Scottish Lib Dems, part of my job was carrying out research for campaigns and press initiatives. A highlight was a Scotsman cartoon and front page which resulted from some NHS research I’d done.
What would you say is the most enjoyable aspect of working in public relations/communications in Scotland?
It’s been said many times but this is a really exciting time to be working in public affairs in Scotland. The last couple of years have seen such huge shifts in Scottish politics and I love that it’s my job to keep up to speed with it all and help clients navigate and engage in the political process at a time of such change.
Away from work, what do you like to do in your spare time?
My husband and I have spent the last two years gutting and renovating our house in Roslin which has completely consumed our spare time. I’ve learned how to lay bricks, tile and lay a fibre glass roof but am really looking forward to (finally) moving in!
Who is the one person (in this industry or outside) you admire the most for how they communicate?
Although I don’t always agree with her, Nicola Sturgeon is brilliant on social media. She manages to combine always being on message with being personable and ‘real’ which I think is very difficult for a politician to achieve.
— Niki Stark (@NikiJStark) April 22, 2016
Tell us something not many people know about you
I used to be a sailing instructor during the summer while at university.
What do you consider to be your guilty pleasure(s)?
Trashy TV – Say Yes to the Dress is my current favourite.
Who is your must read columnist / publication?
Buzzfeed is great for political news – they produce material quickly and in a way which is engaging for younger consumers.
Who is your must follow on social media?
I love the Daily Mash. Their satirical take on the day’s news has made me weep with laughter more than once!
What was the last book you read and last film/boxset watched?
I’ve just finished Mark Beaumont’s Africa Solo which is about his 42 day ultra endurance cycle from Cairo to Cape Town. The last boxset I watched was season 1 of the Walking Dead. I started watching it from season 3 so I’m catching up on the first ones! The zombies in series 1 are much faster than they are now!
What was the last live event you attended?
The Lumineers in Glasgow
What would be your advice to someone entering the industry?
Be proactive and enthusiastic and take time to consider your own views on issues.
And finally, if you could improve one thing about PR in Scotland, what would it be?
We need to demonstrate that public affairs isn’t simply about lobbying and that effective political and stakeholder communications, in a much wider sense, are really valuable business functions.
LinkedIn: Niki Stark