Started up my own communications / PR / public relations / public affairs agency after being Chief Executive of two large communications companies in the past

About me

Gavin D.
United Kingdom

About this profile

Chief Executive
Newgate Communications
United Kingdom
Advertising, marketing and PR
Medium-size business (50-249 employees)

About the job

What I do

I have started up my own firm, Park Street Partners, which gives corporate communications, PR and public affairs advice to a wide range of clients.

Skills I use and how I developed them

Management - I did an MBA via the Open University Business School between 2000 and 2004. Also writing, creativity, political understanding, advisory skills.

What I like most

Designing and delivering communications campaigns which enable big changes to organisations and to the UK's national infrastructure. Working with great people and great clients.

What I like least

Time-wasting, and people describing problems, not solutions.

What surprised me most

How much I've enjoyed business challenges - and how important being able to write (reasonably) well has been in my career.

Finding and applying for the job

How I looked for work

Initially I got into work via the Civil Service Fast Stream process. I've then been lucky to meet the right people who liked what I did.

How I found out about the job

I'm working for myself!

My career

My career goals when I graduated

Just to do something interesting, ideally in the world of politics.

My career history

Started off as a Clerk in the House of Commons; over 12 years I was amongst other things Clerk of the Transport Committee and Clerk of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. I then left to join a lobbying firm, AS Biss & Co, which merged and grew over the years to become Mandate, where I was COO, and which in turn merged with two other firms to become MHP. I was CEO of that company from 2012 to 2016 before I left to join Porta and Newgate. I left there last year and started Park Street Partners.

What has helped my career to progress

Remembering always to listen as well as speak.

Courses taken since graduation

MBA, Open University Business School

How my studies have helped my career

The politics degree at York provided an entry into the civil service, which was the foundation stone of my career. It also aided my capabilities in critical thinking. The MBA I completed later gave me more craft management skills.

What surprised me about my career so far

How much I've enjoyed business challenges - and how important being able to write (reasonably) well has been in my career.

Where I hope to be in 5 years

Continuing to have fun with Park Street Partners - and spending more time travelling.

My advice to students

My advice to students considering work

Focus on real basics - being able to write well, add up, turn up on time, etc. This sounds patronising, but in my experience, over and over again, a lot of graduates are not great at these things. Also, though, learn how to stand out - my top tip is to write a blog or be active on social media with something intelligent to say. Any decent employer will look you up online these days. Conversely, look up the person and company you are talking to...

My advice about working in my industry

Listening and empathising is the key to giving great advice.

Contacting me

Happy to answer questions about working in PR, communications or public affairs, or in politics or the media.

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