Account Director with Wachsman PR and Director of Wachsman PR’s Dublin office, Fitzwilliam Institute's graduate Emma Walker is one of Ireland's youngest PR leaders.
Originally from Ireland, Emma started her career as a Junior Account Executive with Dublin-based agency DHR Communications working on PR campaigns for multiple state organizations in the technology, tourism and not-for-profit sectors. At DHR, Emma secured clients national coverage in television, radio, and print publications. Emma then served as a Client Executive for the prestigious PR agency Cullen Communications, working with large international clients including Enterprise Rent a Car, Ford, Continental Tires and Office Depot.
In February 2016, Emma moved to New York to work for Wachsman PR, before spearheading the launch of Wachsman PR’s European headquarters in February 2017.
Emma has a Bachelors Degree in Spanish and Sociology from Trinity College Dublin and a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Relations and Event Management from Fitzwilliam Institute. In 2015, Emma was awarded a Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing and Social Media with distinction.
In June 2016, Emma was Named as one of the “Up and Coming Under 30: the industry’s future leaders” by FinanceFeeds in 2016 .
Emma took some time out of her busy schedule to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from aspiring PR professionals.
1. Emma, first of all congratulations on your recent promotion! You are now an Account Director with Wachsman PR. How does a normal work day look for you?
Thank you very much - I feel incredibly grateful to be in the position I am today.
As Director of the Dublin office, I manage the day to day running of the office while simultaneously serving as the Account Director on our ten clients here in the European agency. Since we launched in April 2017, I have grown the team from one to now seven full-time employees, so as you can imagine this means a large part of my working week is spent on hiring, onboarding and training. In addition, I look after all of our accountancy and office management. Secondly, I actively engage in growing the Wachsman PR client roster by responding to new business enquiries and developing PR strategies for potential partners.
On a more daily basis, I provide any strategy or media relations support my team requires. This could be in the form of reviewing press materials, assisting with pitching to top-tier mainstream international press, or providing guidance on the development of client strategies. I also tailor media awareness and engagement training for clients to enhance their interview performance and ability to connect with their target audience.
Lastly, I act as an advisor to many of my clients providing support and guidance pre, during, and post campaign.
2. What do you love the most about your job?
I would never in my wildest dreams thought I would love a job as much as I love this one. Over the past 18 months, I have had the privilege of growing a company with David Wachsman, our Founder and my colleague, Jesse Platz. Even though I am a trained PR professional, this role has also brought out the entrepreneur in me. During this time I have helped build out a team in New York and now I have mirrored that effort in Dublin by hiring an incredibly talented group of people. Every day I get to provide opportunities for my staff to learn and excel, choose phenomenal clients to represent, and discover my ability to run and lead an office.
3. You have become an Account Director at a very young age. What would you say were the top 3 things to help you get there?
I believe that if you are working in a role, and you look at your senior and say “I don’t want to be them”, then you are not in the right position. From the beginning of my time at Wachsman, I have been privileged to have David Wachsman as my boss, someone who I constantly strove to mirror. An excellent leader is essential to the early success of PR professionals. In this industry, it is very common for length of tenure at a company to be rewarded above merit and drive, which can stifle ambition. David brought out the entrepreneur in me, while simultaneously educating me on everything blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
I grew up working while studying, tackling two to three part time jobs all through college and during my first years in the industry. Through this, I developed a strong work ethic which is, without a doubt, one of the main reasons I am where I am today. Hard work pays off and I have never worked harder.
4. What would you recommend to someone who's reading this, thinking they would like to be in your shoes, to be in a successful PR role with a successful PR firm?
To be great and to stand-out, you cannot just work 9-5. There are just not enough hours in the day. It involves long hours, a lot of determination, and most importantly, a passion for what you do. So my biggest piece of advice for anyone looking to delve into the PR industry, is to question - do you honestly enjoy it? If not, no outstanding degree or wealth of industry experience is going to change that.
Secondly - age means nothing! If you are talented, ambitious and hard working, your employer should see that and merit it. If not, strive to join a company where that is the case.
5. You were a student on our Postgraduate Diploma in Public Relations with Arranged Work Experience. How did this course help your career? What did you like the most about it?
A huge bonus to the course was definitely the arranged internship. The hands on experience provided me with a great insight into the industry, reassuring me it was the career for me. The skills I gained throughout the work experience no doubt aided me in getting where I am today. I am a huge ambassador for this course, and would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of delving into this sector.
6. What are your plans for the future? What do you see yourself doing next?
Looking at the next 6 months, I will be focusing my attention on growing the European agency here in Dublin, with the aim of hiring close to 5-7 more staff before the year is out.
From my experience of opening an office, I would love to put these skills into building out the company even further, perhaps with more offices worldwide, as the industry continues to grow. I cannot wait to see where we launch next!
Dreaming about a career in PR? We can help!
Now Accepting Final Applications:
Postgraduate Diploma in Public Relations with Arranged Work Experience - Full Time - Dublin City Centre
Start Date: 19th September
Duration: 3 months in class + 3 months arranged work experience
Please apply here.