Name: Helena Christopher
Title: Head of Corporate Communications
Company: QBE European Operations
What made you want to get into brands/advertising/media/marketing?
I finished university and cast around for a job. I got one temping in a marketing team and it went from there.
What was good and bad about your first job?
Technically my first job was being a Saturday girl at a furniture shop in a local shopping centre. I was 15.
I remember being very excited about earning some money on my own but then less so when I had to run around during the Christmas rush. How little do I know!
List your jobs to date:
• Head of Corporate Communications (current)
• Head of Marketing and Communication at QBE European Operations (June 2005 – December 2008)
• Marketing Manager at QBE European Commercial Division (September 2004 – June 2005)
• Marketing Executive at QBE International Insurance (May 2002 – September 2004)
• Marketing Assistant at QBE International Insurance (October 2000 – April 2002)
• Putnam Investments and Merrill Lynch – various back office administrative roles
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
I don’t think there’s been any one person. I look to different people for different things.
Who in the industry do you most admire?
Martin Sorrel. He’s a success whichever way you measure it.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
Convincing the management team that investing in the development of the brand will reap rewards for the organisation.
On what do you base your success so far?
Ability to make an impact to drive results and change.
What are your ambitions?
To make the team at QBE a market leading communications function able to support the growth of the business.
Change one thing about your job:
Change one thing about your industry:
PR to be perceived as less of a dark art.
Change one thing about the world:
Humans to have the ability to teleport anywhere in the world
What is your favourite brand?
What is the next big thing in your view?
The impact of the changes in the dynamic of the labour market as the UK progresses through the recession.
List your “media diet”:
In the morning, this really depends on how I feel but also the media agenda, so it’s either the Metro or the FT.
In the office I’ll scan the news I track on iGoogle, plus all of the Google alerts. I get updates each day from all of the insurance and reinsurance trade press, plus the press cuttings from various sources.
I’ll spend most of the days with at least one news site live like the BBC.
At the weekend, it’s the Times and the Observer and any number of news sites online.