In the next of our 'Catching up' series, we meet Chris Taylor, the managing director of full service agency DTW and also chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) North East committee. Dad of two, Chris lives in Durham, is a keen Sunderland fan and a self confessed political geek. Here we get a little insight into the man with a big vision for the North East PR community.
Q. Give us five words that describe Chris Taylor.
A. Happy, modest, friendly, professional, control freak (six, sorry!)
Q. What does your job at DTW entail?
A. Everything and anything. Running a great team of 15 people means I am responsible for working with major clients like SITA UK, NCG and the Mersey Gateway Project at a senior level and also setting the agenda for other colleagues in the PR team. As well as that there is the small matter of running the company.
Q. What would your colleagues say are your best and worst qualities?
A. I asked them. Best qualities: good team leader, strategic, discrete, fair minded, good figurehead for the company, people person. Worst qualities: eating too many packets of crisps, choice of football team, don't make enough cups of tea, time keeping and sitting on the fence when I don't want to upset someone.
Q. Favourite TV programme?
A. Right now, Homeland.
Q. Why did you get involved with the CIPR NE committee?
A. Professional standards are important and I think the CIPR does some great work in this area and wanted to get more involved. I also thought the committee needed more of a presence in the Tees Valley.
Q. Have you ever had a helping hand in business?
A. Lots – especially from DTW Chairman Pete Whelan who is a great strategic PR guy who also has 30 years experience of running a company – invaluable advice and guidance on a daily basis. Also from former DTW Directors Robin Treacher and Doug Allan – great PR professionals. I've also had plenty of first hand experiences as to how NOT to work with people (no names mind).
Q. What one piece of insight would you give to PRs starting out now?
A. If you are still looking for a job get as much experience as you can. All of it will be valuable at some stage.
Q. Most admired brand?
A. The BBC
Q. Preferred paper – read online or offline?
A. Guardian – offline when I have time. Online it is the BBC first and foremost – why would you go anywhere else?
Q. What is your vision for the NE PR community?
A. I want the NE PR community to be a beacon of best practice, winning awards for the work we do at a national level and setting great standards for the industry. We have some great private companies and some innovative public sector communicators, and I want them to collaborate and make a real difference to the success of their organisations. When it comes to agencies, the North East is a small region, and the PR community has to look outside of the North East for new business opportunities if we really want to grow and succeed. There is no reason why North East companies and freelancers can't broaden their horizons and win business from elsewhere.
Q. What would you tell your 18 year old self now?
A. Enjoy your youth – it only comes round once.
Q. A career in PR requires a varied and extensive skill set. Speaking generally, what are PRs good at and what do they fail at?
A. We're good at writing, creativity, problem spotting and solving and pub quizes (you get to know a little bit about an awful lot in this game). We're bad at evaluation, numbers and time management.
Q. What would you call your first novel?
A. The First and Last
Q. What do you buy most often?
A. Baby food
Q. Best way to contact you?
A. Twitter - @dtwchris or email – firstname.lastname@example.org.