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Photo: Fola, taken by @BeBornSocial

As a trainee on the Taylor Bennett Foundation, I got constant exposure to programme alumni and was encouraged to connect with them throughout the programme. A few weeks ago I got the chance to have a quick chat with Folayemi Adebayo (@yoriyoriyinski) from the Spring 2016 programme sponsored by MHP Communications. I asked her about her experience since the programme and for any tips she would give an entry-level PR practitioner like myself.

Fola initially found out about the programme through the employability department at the University of East London, where she had graduated with a degree in Architecture. When asked how her Architecture degree lead her into a career in PR, she responded that at the time of graduation she was working part-time whilst looking for jobs in the architecture industry. She received an email about the Taylor Bennett Foundation and attended an information evening. At the time, a friend of hers was in PR and so she knew that she had the necessary skills to pursue it as a career.

It’s important to be proactive, ask questions and get involved”

Once on the programme, Fola found that the most challenging aspect was balancing the workload, which included weekly presentations and daily media reviews. She said the programme also encouraged creativity and she reminisced about an enjoyable visit to The Eleven – a startup studio who describe themselves as “obsessed by building great ideas into brilliant businesses”. To this day she still enjoys the social media aspect of PR and knew quite early on that Consumer PR was the direction she wanted to go in.

Apart from discovering her passion for Consumer PR, another enjoyable moment for Fola was having her article ‘Why ethnic diversity and inclusion is important in PR’ mentioned in Heather McGregor’s (founder of the Taylor Bennett Foundation) Financial Times column. However, the programme wasn’t always rosy; it did present some challenges. Fola said that during these times it helped that the five other trainees could relate. The bond between the trainees helped relieve some of the pressure and blossomed into great friendships. They still use their Whatsapp group all the time!

Following on from the programme, Fola managed to secure an internship position in PR. In the beginning, an approach she found useful was to jot down any unfamiliar PR terms and Google them later. Fola’s top tip for any PR beginners is to be energetic in everything you do and especially as an intern, know the importance of being proactive, asking questions and getting involved.

Fola reassured me that PR is a fun and social industry where you’re encouraged to have a work-life balance. She prides herself on attending events that could contribute to her own self-development and recently attended an event where she saw her favourite author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, speak.

It was great to catch up with Fola and I’m sure we’ll be keeping in touch. I look forward to what she does in the future.

Extra: To watch the fantastic TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie click here

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University of Manchester, July 2015

Deciding my hair for graduation was anything but a simple task.

At this point (July 2015) I had been transitioning to natural hair for about 6 months. Considering my hair was just reaching shoulder length, the transition was in full swing 6 months in. I knew for a fact that constantly straightening my leave-out for weave was bound to cause damage, so that’s an option I steered clear of. Although I had a 20″ Peruvian hair, middle-part weave with leave out just a few months later…Don’t ask. Those straggly straightened bits left the middle section of my hair limp and lifeless for quite a while afterwards,

In the end practicality was my main concern. Graduation was only a few days before backpacking through parts of Southeast Asia so I had to weigh up my options and decided I would rather spend the days leading up to my trip packing and running last minute errands rather that getting my braids done then.

As displayed in the picture above – I don’t regret my decision.