I started out working in communications back in 1993 - as a press assistant in the EU Delegation in Moscow. It was an exciting time, with the former Soviet states just beginning to climb out of the economic meltdown following the breakup of the Soviet Union. It was also my first taste of public relations, marketing and communications.
After a year back in the UK to complete a Masters Degree in Journalism, I moved into the field of EU communications, based out of Belgium for eight years working on a wide range of communications projects across central and eastern Europe, the Western Balkans, and the Member States of the EU. These projects focused on marketing and communicating the European Union, its policies, programmes and projects to (often sceptical) national publics. This included a two-year stint at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, a stab at running my own company (Integral Communications) and several years as a freelance communications consultant.
In 2005, I moved to Turkey to head the press and information section of the 130-strong EU Delegation in Ankara. This coincided with a high point in EU-Turkey relations, with information at the forefront of efforts to promote closer relations between Turkey and Europe as part of the accession process. Managing large budgets (3.5 million euros annually) I was able to steer through some innovative communications initiatives during my time there.
From there, I moved to an EU-funded project in Ukraine - building and managing information campaigns on women and children's rights. Running until the end of 2011, I led a team of 12 communications professionals designing and running national, multi-media information campaigns on a rolling annual basis to raise awareness of domestic violence, children's rights and gender equality. At the same time I continued to run communications trainings for project managers, organised 2 ASEAN conferences in Jakarta, and helped companies with their business development activities.
In early 2012 I moved back to Brussels to continue as a consultant for private companies working in the EU communications world. Thus ensued an eclectic mix of assignments across Europe, the Middle East and north Africa organising events, giving training, providing comms advice, and evaluating EU projects and programmes.
In 2014 I started working as a project director with ICF Next, a market leader in EU communications, managing multi-annual, multi-million Euro framework contracts and projects across a wide range of DGs and EU agencies. These include DG COMM, AGRI, MOVE, ENER, CLIMA, GROW, FPI, NEAR, EASME, EEAS, OSHA, EU LISA among others. Then in 2017 I took up a position at Ecorys in Brussels, as a campaign manager and team leader. My role was to design and run campaigns to promote EU energy investments in the Eastern Partnership countries with the project coming to a close at the end of 2020.