Sharing Marketing Wisdom – featuring Helen Bell

Our Q&A with Helen Bell, Director at Greenhouse Communications.

The purpose of article series ‘Sharing The Wisdom’ is to feature, showcase and share knowledge, expert views and wisdom. Local. Authentic. Insightful.

Tony @ ADLIB: Could you please introduce yourself as well as your background?

Helen: I’m Helen, I’m a director at Greenhouse, a specialist green communications agency with offices in Bristol and London.

I started my career in PR in the late 90s, and still get the same buzz from landing a brilliant piece of coverage as I did 20+ years ago!

The industry has changed immeasurably in that time, and I’ve been privileged to experience the digital revolution first hand. I cut my teeth in tech PR during the dot-com boom but still remember faxing press releases and scrutinising contact sheets.

My passion for environmental communications began in 2004, when I supported the launch of the Marine Conservation Society’s ‘Good Beach Guide’, and I’ve been championing conservation ever since.

When I first discovered Greenhouse in 2016, I couldn’t believe there was an agency dedicated to environmental campaigns, it seemed too good to be true! Over the last five years we’ve grown exponentially but our mission has remained the same: to use the power of communications to drive positive social and environmental change.

Tony @ ADLIB: In an attempt to capture some of the Wisdom you’ve gained as a professional so far, what are 5 “stand-out things” you’ve learned that you’d like to pass on to your peers as well as the future generation of talent within your sector?

Helen: I learn something new every single day. One of the best things about working in a communications agency is the huge variety of sectors and industries that you’re exposed to. But if I had to pick just five, these would be my top tips for the next generation of storytellers:

  1. Be curious about the world around you. Read widely, ask lots of questions, and pay attention to the answers. This is even more important now that we have a million different sources of information pinging at us. Actively seek opportunities to get out of your echo chamber and listen to diverse voices.
  2. Nurture your connections. You never know where that journalist/client/PA/job applicant will end up. Always be polite: manners cost nothing but they pay dividends in the long run.
  3. Give credit where it’s due. Remember to acknowledge those who inspire you, and say thank you when someone helps you out or goes the extra mile. Giving kudos to a colleague will likely make their day – and what goes around comes around.
  4. Don’t let imposter syndrome hold you back. Everyone doubts themselves, but your gut instincts are usually right. Don’t waste precious time and energy second guessing yourself or worrying about what hasn’t happened yet.
  5. Take time out to reconnect with your passions. There’s always going to be something else on the to-do list, but you’ll be no use to anyone if you burn out. This is particularly true of environmental communications, where you can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the scale of the challenge. Spending time in nature helps me to gain perspective and remember why I do what I do.

Tony @ ADLIB: What is your take on the importance of role models?

Helen: We all need role models. Whether it’s someone we aspire to emulate in our careers or in our personal lives, it’s good to be reminded that we can achieve anything we put our minds to.

I’m lucky enough to know and have worked with lots of inspirational leaders. One of the reasons I was drawn to PR is the opportunity to share the stories of people that I look up to, with the aim of inspiring others.  

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Head of Marketing, Digital & eCommerce

Agency & In-house Marketing

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Tony Allen