Thursday, 5 December 2013

Onwards and Upwards (Sophie Hawker)

Having worked extensively with museums and galleries in the past, we recently took a stand at the Museums Association Exhibition and Conference. It was a great opportunity to talk to people involved in all areas of the museums and galleries sector, from directors to curators and suppliers to volunteers. Not only did it help re-establish some existing relationships, it also helped lay the foundations for creating new ones in the future.

What it also did was help us to re-evaluate and re-confirm the key roles which are now developing at Park Lane Research. Three months on from my first day, we can now plan to use these more effectively. 

We realised at the conference networking events that I was much more comfortable than Barrie at approaching people I didn’t know, and finding common ground. In the exhibition environment, there was a need to take the plunge, to make that first approach, and to welcome people onto our stand. 

My role as student manager for the English Department at University of York has clearly stood me in good stead for this. It meant I was forever at open days, showing round prospective students and their parents and ‘selling’ the university and the course I loved. This experience was boosted and enhanced by the work experience I then gained at PR and Advertising agencies once I had graduated.

Barrie’s nature and general approach meant that he was more likely to take a step back at the conference, especially when confronted with new people at our stand. He still tells the tale of how a favoured client at Tesco once introduced him by saying, ‘this is Barrie, he’s brilliant at what he does but he’s s*** at marketing himself.’

Over the years, this has never been a major issue from a company success point of view – Barrie has been happy with how things have gone – he’s built long-lasting relationships with clients who have come back again and again and again.

My appointment, however, is a recognition that the company does not have to continue to hide its light under a bushel. My role is about marketing the company and playing to my strengths, as well as promoting Barrie’s.

So far as we’re concerned, we’re starting to become the dream team – I’ll help generate more contacts, more business; Barrie will continue to deliver high quality research, underpinned by more than twenty years experience.

Oh, and considering he’s my Dad, we seem to get along quite nicely too!