Happy anniversaries! We celebrate two incredible McOnie years of service milestones

In October, we celebrated two remarkable workplace anniversaries! Pauline celebrated her 10th year here at McOnie… and Carolyn celebrated her 15th! We sat with both to glean more about their time here at the agency, their standout moments and what has changed over the years.

Pauline Gillan

  1. Which year did you join McOnie and can you remember your first day?

CL: I joined the agency on 13th October 2003 – it really doesn’t seem that long ago. Looking back, though, it is a little surreal as we were a very small agency then working in a home office – quite different to the office today.

PG: As I am celebrating my 10th anniversary – it must have been 2008.  I am not great at maths but even I could work that one out!  I really cannot remember anything in detail from my first day but I do remember thinking that everyone was really friendly and the office had a really positive atmosphere.

 

  1. What have been your favourite campaigns over the years? Why are these the most memorable?

CL: I think one of the most rewarding things I have been involved in was when The Emergency Services Show was launched following 7/7 London bombings in 2005 to improve collaboration between the emergency responders – we helped launch the show that included securing the BBC filming on day one of the show.  We worked on this event for a number of years and enjoyed helping get it to where it is today. I have also been involved in organising some fantastic product launches and customer events over the years from a customer experience event at Diggerland to supercar days.

PG: One of the clients I have been working with the longest is Arco and I am proud of all that we have accomplished with them.  A huge contributing factor to this great partnership is the commitment and professionalism that Arco put into the success of their business and more importantly, the management of their brand.  Everyone you meet at Arco is fundamentally committed to the cause of keeping people safe at work and to achieving this in an ethical, professional and expert manner.

They also trust us and that means I could phone the Managing Director on a Sunday when he was carving the family roast and ask him to leave home at 4:30am the next morning to drive in appalling weather all the way from East Yorkshire to a small airfield in deepest Gloucestershire to witness the first shipments of critical, protective clothing going out to West Africa to the volunteer healthcare workers at the frontline of the battle against Ebola.  He arrived in time to give one press interview, looked me squarely in the eye and said, “I trust you and I know this is going to be worth it”!  In the weeks that followed, Arco was headline news with live coverage from their logistics warehouse on Sky News, BBC News, ITV, CNN.  Not only did this publicity contribute to raising awareness of the terrible situation for so many people living in West Africa, it demonstrated Arco’s commitment to the UK’s response, its professionalism and expertise.

  1. What have been the standout moments at McOnie and why?

CL: I have many very good memories from my 15 years – some repeatable, some not! I think the main one though is seeing how the agency has grown and progressed over the years and contributing to and being part of that journey.

PG: My first IPRN conference in Istanbul was a real milestone.  We do such a lot of international work and meeting so many of our network partners and understanding the way they do business, the frustrations and joys we all share was reassuring!  Away from the conference, our hosts showed us the very best of Istanbul – a fascinating city that leaves you breathless.

Other than that, our recent Award wins have been great moments to share with everyone in the agency and well deserved!  We all work hard and it is so gratifying for the hard work to be recognised by our peers.

I’m also really committed to our graduate programme and giving those new to our industry the opportunity to start a successful career in communications.  We currently have two outstanding graduates who joined us in the summer and I work with other really talented people who joined several years ago and who have developed into really talented PR professionals.

Carolyn Long

  1. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from working at McOnie?

CL: Honesty is the best policy and a sense of humour always helps! In all seriousness I firmly believe that if you are honest with yourself, your clients and your suppliers you will always have a winning team and come up trumps

PG: I think working at a smaller agency over a long period has given me the opportunity to make a real contribution to the long-term success of our business and in developing our plans for the future.  We are an ambitious team but we do not want success to be achieved at the expense of the long-term relationships we have with many of our clients.  It’s easy to win new business, create some impressive campaigns and dazzle your clients in the short term but developing trust, an understanding of their business and what they are trying to achieve through a true partnerships is what will win in the long-term.

  1. How has PR changed over the last 10 years?

PG: It has to be how technology has enabled us all to consume and respond to news immediately and how digital comms enables us to deliver much targeted messaging with measurable outcomes.  We can be more transparent in the way we report the success of our campaigns and we can react and adapt quickly in response to how well the tactics are working.

  1. What agency changes have you seen? What is new here at McOnie today that wasn’t 15 years ago?

CL: The agency is unrecognisable to what it was like when I started. We have always had some big name clients on our books but the IT side of things is light years away from where we were. Moving our IT infrastructure to the cloud has made us an agency that is able to manage our clients from anywhere in the world as if we were sat at our desks. As an agency we have moved with the times and quite often we have been leading the way and I find it really exciting to think where we may be in another 5 years.

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