A big part of Zen’s ‘way’ is that we never stop learning. You’ll near enough always see one of us with a book in hand, focused on anything from the science of language and the art of persuasion, to the latest tech trends and secrets of sales.
We’re always encouraged and supported to keep striving to learn more, to not only develop and hone our existing skills, but to learn lots of new ones too. In doing so, we’re not only making sure that we never become still and stagnant, but that we’re able to offer our clients the very best overarching PR support – sharing our learned knowledge with them if we think it may have a wider positive impact on their businesses.
A personal passion of mine and an area of my skillset that I was keen to develop was my theoretical understanding of models and PR systems that I could apply to my everyday work, and the ways in which PR has evolved over the last 40 years.
So, with the support of my fab team, I enrolled on our Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ (CIPR) Post-Graduate Diploma – which would see me a very busy bee for the next 10 months.
I started the course in the late part of 2016 and successfully passed towards the end of 2017 – and the regular late nights, juggling between full-time work and personal life, plus everything else life chucks at you, had all paid off. Massive YAY!
And having worked at Zen for six years, I knew that there was going be lots within the course that I already knew and used daily, but it really was a useful refresher to see examples of how others work across the industry, the changing platforms and communications channels open to us and our clients (plus their stakeholders), and how the industry as a whole has developed due to vastly changing client and consumer behaviour. I was also pleased to use one of my assignments looking at the age-old challenge of analysing coverage vs. ROI and why the industry still doesn’t have a solid solution for measurement (you can read about this in our manifesto here).
While I know university is still recognised by the some in the industry as a vital part of the foundation to building a successful career – like many other subjects of course – it absolutely doesn’t mean that the ‘path’ to enter the industry has to be so siloed and formulaic, and that gaining an industry-leading qualification can’t be achieved at a later date.
I’m so thrilled to have the recognition behind me that reflects my experience in PR, which was particularly important to me, and I look forward to what’s next to tick off my goals list (though they may now be a bit lighter-hearted for now!)
By Jennie Windle