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Interview With a Leader in Marketing and Communications: Elizabeth Laidler, Managing Director, Encore Communications

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What was your first job?

Paper round

Did you ever imagine to be undertaking your current role, if not, what did you want to be doing?

Not really. From the age of 12 I was set on being a classical flautist but I found the business for musicians module on my Masters course more enjoyable than a lot of the other modules I was taking so began exploring marketing roles with orchestras and it all went from there.

Which parts of your role are the most and enjoyable and which parts are the most challenging?

I love getting to know my clients’ businesses: what makes them tick, how the markets they work in operate and how marketing communications can help them achieve their goals. I also enjoy working on the business itself but that is one of the most challenging aspects – making time to focus on what Encore Communications needs when there’s client work that needs progressing too!

How do you balance your working and personal life?

I work a condensed 40-hour week over four days so I can take one weekday off to be with my daughter. That balance seems to work pretty well and the world is increasingly 24:7 so starting ‘early’ or ‘working late’ can actually be a benefit. I also mainly work from home. In my previous role, I commuted 13 hours a week so getting that time back in my life for other activities makes a massive, positive difference!

What advice would you give to a young professional wanting to progress in your industry?

Take a real interest in the wider world – how it works and why. Communication skills are important (particularly writing) but if you don’t understand what drives an organisation and the people it needs to influence, it’s difficult to provide a truly valuable service. It’s not all about media column inches.

What do you hope to be doing in ten years’ time?

10 years? Wow, I don’t know. I’m enjoying the challenge of growing the business and shaking up traditional ways of working so I hope I’ll still be doing that but I’d also love to build more travel and holidays into my life as I never got to do that when I was younger and there are so many places I really want to experience for myself.

What’s the best tip or piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

The piece of advice I keep coming back to is Ghandi’s Be the change you want to see in the world. We all need to moan sometimes but if you don’t like the way something is done, take responsibility for it and change it. Don’t wait for someone else to make the world the way you want it to be.

What do you enjoy the most in/ about Birmingham?

I always get a real buzz when I’m in the city: there’s so much going on at any one time and the place is a real cultural melting pot, it’s always fizzing with new influences and ideas. It’s a great source of inspiration.