Iliyana's Blog

Why Work in PR: Advice from the Pros – Interview with Farzana Baduel

[fa icon="calendar"] 25-Jan-2016 10:30:00 / by Iliyana Stareva


It's been a while since we've had an interview for my blog series "Why Work in PR?" I hadn't forgotten about it but I didn't have the right person to go next yet. Now I do. 

Today, Farzana Baduel shares her PR experiences and some fantastic advice for students and young professionals.

Farzana and I 'met' on Twitter a few months ago, I was impressed by her profile, then I 'stalked' her on LinkedIn and was amazed by her achievements, building up her own very successful global PR agency. A true career that can you inspire you too and so I offered to interview her, and she gracefully accepted. I encourage you to follow her on Twitter and shoot her a friendly tweet about reading her story.  

(If you've missed any of the previous interviews, you can take a look as well: Richard Bailey, Pippa Hanson, Jessica Hodkinson and Chryssa Skodra.) 

Why Work in Public Relations: Interview with Farzana Baduel

1. As a short introduction, can you tell us a little bit about you and what you do?

I am the Managing Director of Curzon PR, an award‐winning global strategic communications firm with offices in London, New York, Dubai and soon to be launched in Delhi, and a doting Mother.

2. Why did you choose a career in PR? 

From an early age entrepreneurialism ran through my veins. My earliest memory was taking women’s hair products from home and selling them to women at my local mosque; it was a booming industry for a ten year old.

Choosing to start my own PR agency was a perfect outlet for my accrued attributes from previous roles where I served as Vice Chair of Business Relations for The British Conservative Party and was involved in fundraising for the Conservative Party. Constantly being in the crossroads of media, marketing and advocacy is something that appealed to me as it allowed me to be actively engaged with different aspects of business at all times.

3. How exactly did you get into PR and what experiences have you gathered so far? 

Following my work within bilateral trade and communications in a government sphere, I believe PR was a natural progression.

The USP of Curzon PR is working across developed, emerging and frontier markets such as North America, Bahrain, India and China, giving our clients instantaneous market access. This has allowed the clients we represent to be broad and requires a lot of travel, which is a great accelerator for development and keeps me on my toes. From government initiatives to art fairs to international consumer brands, my experience as well as my teams have continuously grown.

4. What's your biggest professional achievement so far? 

The global growth of Curzon PR is my biggest achievement. Curzon has now successfully expanded to New York, Dubai and soon to be Delhi.

I see this as measurement that the London base is stable, strong and thriving which gives me the confidence and resources to expand internationally.

5. What advice would you give to students considering working in PR?

Show dynamism. PR is a fast-paced and ever-evolving landscape with convergence across media, PR, marketing and digital communications therefore it is imperative to be abreast of breaking developments in the industry. A key tip would be to explore the PESO model, this involves taking an integrated approach which is becoming the norm, and understanding the connectivity of paid, earned, shared and owned media.

PR yourself. Create your own blog, include video content, include your Twitter timeline, implement some basic SEO and build an audience. If you can demonstrate the techniques into PR’ing yourself imagine what you can do for other businesses and clients.

Take notes from industry leaders and educate yourself. Read industry blogs such as PR Week, The Drum and Gorkana News to understand the trends in the industry and learn the theories behind best practice from PR practitioners. Follow PR practitioners on social media for a peek into their world.

Immerse yourself in PR. There is a plethora of resources online to do so. A good starting point would be to download the recently published (and free as an eBook) #futurePRoof book. Curated by Sarah Hall, the book consists of 33 chapters regarding futureproofing from industry leaders discussing issues ranging from the purpose of PR, everyday professional ethics for PR and measurement and evaluation of PR. I also have a chapter in the book entitled The Business Case for Diversity, in which I discuss the need to embrace different BME inequality, gender imbalance and a lack of opportunities for the less privileged in the industry. (Iliyana's note: I also have a chapter on Inbound PR.) 

Stephen Waddington, Chief Engagement Officer of Ketchum PR, also has curated books which are just as important, entitled the PR stack. These are similarly available through print and eBook versions, aiming to explore PR tools and helps “tackle modern public relations workflow.”

HubSpot has a blog that is extremely informative too, articles are posted regularly and you can subscribe to get specific specialism information for a tailored feed on the latest trends.

Lastly, my blog, The PR Bible is a platform I have created as a source of inspiration for industry professionals. The content is bitesize, relevant and addresses key practices in PR.

PR is an exciting and fascinating world. Be prepared to work hard, get experience and be observant if you are considering being a PR professional.



Wondering if PR is the right career for you? Try the PR Profile Fit Test and find out! Download it for free by clicking on the image below!



Topics: Public Relations, Career

Iliyana Stareva

Written by Iliyana Stareva

Iliyana Stareva is the author of Inbound PR - the book that is transforming the PR industry. She's also a keynote speaker and a consultant in inbound and digital for fast-growing companies and agencies. Currently, Iliyana is Chief of Staff to the EMEA President at ServiceNow. Before that, she held global and EMEA-wide positions at Cisco and HubSpot. She is also certified by the PMI as a Project Management Professional (PMP)®. In her free time, you can find Iliyana writing for her blog, dancing salsa or travelling the world.

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