Welcome to our Meet the Team blog series. This month, we spoke to Mark Pearson, Account Manager, at Athene. Below, Mark talks about what drew him into a career in communications and some of the qualifications he has gained along the way
What is your career history?
I’ve worked at Athene since 2012, with a 16-month gap where I worked in communications for a national veterinary services company. Prior to this I was a journalist for the Peterborough Evening Telegraph (now Peterborough Telegraph). This means I have gained a lot of experience on ‘both sides’ and know what makes a journalist tick and how to work with them. My work at Athene has also led to interim roles in the public and private sector including Peterborough City Council and The BGL Group
What drew you to working in communications?
A career in communications and PR really came out of the blue. The newspaper where I was working underwent a major transition in 2012 and this led to a reduction in staff. I’d learned a lot as a reporter, particularly on the writing and relationship building side, and it was clear to me that communications would be a good fit, so was pleased to successfully apply for a role with Athene.
What is your role at Athene and what does that involve?
I am an Account Manager, and this involves looking after a range of clients in PR and Education. The main role is to oversee the day-to-day management of accounts and support Account Executives with their more tactical work for the client. It also involves developing strong relationships with clients to gain their trust and confidence with our work. I am also a member of the Academy Council for one of the secondary schools in Peterborough.
Have you completed any related courses or qualifications?
Yes, I am a firm believer that learning never stops. With Athene, I completed the CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) PR Diploma in 2016. I have recently passed the CIPR Specialist Diploma: Digital Communication, one of first cohort to complete this worldwide. The main benefit is to stay in tune with current trends in PR, collaborate with people outside of my company, and then share this knowledge with the team to encourage others to take up CPD and qualifications.
What have been some of your biggest achievements at Athene?
I would say completing the CIPR PR Diploma, from a personal point of view. I’ve also been involved in lots of great projects and campaigns with Athene. Three that spring to mind are the launch of Peterborough United Football Club’s ABAX Stadium; introducing Addison Lee as a new employer in Peterborough; and supporting City College Peterborough to promote its Day Opportunities programme (working with adults with learning disabilities and autism).
What has been the biggest challenge in your career?
For me, the early days were a challenge. Working in PR and Communications is a lot different to working as a journalist, despite some of the similarities in media relations. So, getting to speed with the industry terminology and what ‘Accounts’ are was the first challenge. I’ve enjoyed having interim positions at external companies, but these can be tricky to get used to in the early days (settling into a new team, new processes and learning hundreds of names!)
What is your favourite thing about working for Athene?
The company’s key message of ‘Colleagues, Clients, Communities’ resonates well with me. I like to be involved in the social side and there’s always been a good work life/social balance at Athene. It’s also nice to have an office at the heart of the city centre (I can walk to work as I live close to the Peterborough United stadium, where I’m a season ticket holder!).
What three words would you use to describe Athene?
Supportive. Passionate. Professional.
What is an interesting fact about yourself?
I once spent five days stranded in the Australian outback. Two friends and I drove around Australia after finishing university, but unfortunately our decrepit van didn’t fancy the whole trip. So, this led to five days waiting to be towed to Darwin, and spending the time camped in a tiny Northern Territory town (Daly Waters) with just the searing sun, snakes, spiders, and a few locals for company!
If you enjoyed finding out more about Mark and you’d like to get to know the rest of the Athene team, keep an eye on our news page for upcoming interviews.