Ogilvy public relations worldwide

I joined the agency in 1997 to manage the company's two offices in Moscow and Kiev under a multi-million Euro project to promote the EU's financial assistance programmes in the former Soviet Union. However, as part of a small team, I was soon involved in all aspects of the project. Thus, I also produced multi-language publications, organised media trips and press relations, and managed a daily media monitoring system collecting stories from 20 countries daily.

This was in addition to managing the two teams in the Moscow and Kiev offices, six people in total. Together we organised media and promotion activities in-country to promote assistance projects with a focus on publications and media relations. Memorable were trips I took with top EU journalists to a nuclear power station (and the scene of a large-scale disaster in the 1960s) in Chelyabinsk and to the very far north of the country in Kerelia which involved travelling by boat and helicopter to get to our destination.

Key contact

Nick Lunt (lunt@mcomgroup.com)

Managing director

Running a company gave a wealth of experience - both good and bad. Working with around 10 people in the Brussels office, we ran several communications projects as stand-alone contracts (such as organising conferences) or as part of larger projects (managing databases, running communications for Russia).

Business administration, legal paperwork, accounts as well as human resources, negotiations, and business development - all of these were skills I learned during this time. Alas, the company survived for 3 years before closing but the ups and the downs provided an invaluable learning experience to say the least.

Key contact

Tamsin Rose (tamsin.rose@gmail.com)

Project director - Western Balkans

With the team bases in Sarajevo, with antennae offices in Tirana and Skopje, I managed the project from Brussels, liaising with the management team of the Commission in Europeaid. The project ran for 3 years until 2005 focusing on a range of communications activities.

Highlights included a region-wide photo shoot by professional photographers that was turned into an exhibition that toured the region in 2004 ending up at the European Parliament in the summer of that year, visited by then Commissioner Chris Patten in Belgrade. Linked to this action were case studies (such as Albania, Bosnia), leaflets and media relations to highlight EU assistance to the region.

Key contact

Isabelle Gachie (isagachie@yahoo.com)

Independent consultant

After the company closed, and before and during the Western Balkans project, I worked as a freelance consultant. Here I used my knowledge to provide strategic advice to other projects and companies as well as developing and giving training. A memorable highlight was a training project which took our small 4-person team as far north as Murmansk and south as Odessa, with towns in Moldova, Hungary, and Poland in between, to run training courses for local authorities on how to access cross border cooperation funds.