For the first of our “Five minutes with…” series, it only seems right to start with Thinking Hat’s first ever employee, Amaresh Bhangle. We know that working remotely sometimes lets personal chats and networking fall by the wayside, so we’re spending five minutes with each of the Thinking Hat team to get to know the people behind the screens and get under their hats. Without further ado, let’s spend five minutes with our Senior PR executive (and his dog Rocco!)
Amaresh, how did you find your way into the PR industry?
A turn of luck! I had just graduated from uni with a degree in Advertising and Marketing and was selling phones before I found my way into PR. A friend of a friend knew someone who had just taken the plunge into becoming a freelance PR Consultant and was looking for some additional support.
PR was an industry that I was always interested in, so I approached them for an intern role and the rest, as they say, is history!
What brought you to Thinking Hat?
Well, in some industries, it really is who you know! The PR consultant I worked with actually worked with the Thinking Hat founders at a previous agency and recommended me for a role. We both came on board and, Billie, the consultant I had interned with, is the Billie you can see on our site!
I first met Emma and Brooky on a day off from my retail job, then had an intro chat with Emma. The company was still really small but I got an amazing vibe from them and I’m so glad that even though the company has grown so much in the past few years, we’ve still managed to maintain strong relationships where everyone gets on and wants eachother to succeed.
I always feel supported and have been able to grow, develop and build my profile and career in the PR space, and that’s what has kept me here!
What do you love most about your job?
I’ve been lucky enough to have been here from when there were three employees to now when there are over 15 of us! This means I have been able to work in and learn about PR in various sectors, and with businesses of different sizes: from giants like Amazon, to businesses that just launched this year.
One thing that I really love is that I can sit and chat with various entrepreneurs from different industries and learn their stories, where they came from and why they started their business. It is really inspiring to hear that some people have been able to turn a dream or hobby into a successful empire, and it is awesome to play a part in getting their name out there!
You probably have some great advice for those looking to get into PR or communications…
Be open and be yourself! A big part of PR and communications is, well, being able to communicate and a lot of that hinges on your personality. Be engaging, and show that you are genuinely interested in the field and people will buy into you and support your growth.
Also, once you have your foot in the door, always strive to keep learning. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and most importantly know when to say yes… and when to say no.
You are so passionate about your work – how about outside of work?
One thing I am really passionate about outside of work is art, in my family we have always been encouraged to embrace our creative side. For the past few years, I have actually been designing and printing custom apparel for my family for gifts.
I wouldn’t be a true PR if I didn’t plug something in this blog, and I have launched Instagram and Tik Tok pages for my art during the lockdown and have created some designs for gifts for my followers.
Outside this, I am also a huge foodie and (when we were allowed) you could find me in restaurants throughout the city convincing my friends that dessert is definitely a good idea. And when I’m not there you’ll find me at the gym burning off that extra slice of pizza that was definitely not needed!
You are about to gain a few more followers! Does this mean that creative projects make up your career highlights?
Not always, as a PR getting coverage, especially if it has taken a bit of time to secure, is obviously a highlight. I still get a buzz every time a piece goes live – especially if it is in a physical magazine, newspaper or on broadcast media. I’ll always remember the first time I got a client on TV.
That said, one of my biggest highlights was actually at our work Christmas party where we were able to socialise with clients in a relaxed setting. I had a chat with a client and it was just so reassuring to hear that they were really happy with the work I had put into their account. It was nice to see that the hard work that went into the account was appreciated!
At Thinking Hat we love to back clients who have great causes that we believe in too – do you have a cause close to your heart?
One thing that I am really passionate about is raising awareness around diversity and racial inequality. Despite the many negative things that have come out of this year, one thing that has been positive is that people across the world have been exposed to the inequalities faced by people in the BAME community, from every day microaggressions to discrimination in the workplace.
I have been fortunate enough to work with clients who actively advocate against discrimination of all kinds and have been able to promote stories about tackling racial discrimination in professional settings. It has also been inspiring to work with leaders of Amazon’s Black Employee Network affinity group who promote a diversity and share stories of their of prominent figures from their culture.
Final question! Can you share a professional or personal hero of yours?
Bit of a sappy answer here, but I’d have to say my grandparents. I often think about how different my life would have been if my grandparents didn’t make the decisions and sacrifices that they had done. And how they were able to build up a great life for my family starting pretty much from scratch. They went from working seven days a week on farms to building a comfortable life for all of the future generations in my family.
When my grandparents first moved to England, it was a very staggered process. My grandad had to travel by boat which took months while sharing a room with 20 other people and was separated from my grandma and uncle. During this time my grandma was working and looking after my uncle on her own.
It is inspiring to think that if it wasn’t for the decisions they made back then, my life would probably be totally different! To me that proves that you can take control of your life and future.
Finally, anyone who knows me would be surprised if I didn’t find a way to shoehorn in my (not so little) dog Rocco into this somehow! Thanks to our daily walks, I’ve managed to stay sane in the past year as I’ve been trapped in the house and working from home during the lockdowns!
Look out for our next “5 minutes with…” where we will be getting some amazing tech and e-commerce insights and wisdom from Nic Forster, one of our directors at Thinking Hat.