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Behind the Headlines with Leila Stocker

19 March 2013

Leila Stocker, director of Turtle PR, on getting inspiration from Ab Fab, where her agency's name comes from and dreams of working with Lynne Franks...

Behind the Headlines with Leila Stocker

My ideal day is...
I'm an early bird, so ideally I'd be at my desk by 7.45am – reading emails and checking coverage, with news on in the background. A brilliant day would always include reading positive client coverage in the national press, and sourcing relevant and original media opportunities.

Five words that describe me...
Approachable, on-message, innovative, diligent and fun.

My colleagues would say that I...
Love an exciting challenge. Going off-piste with clients can be scary, but it invariably leads to compelling results. For example this year, I am running a fashion campaign for a travel brand. It's all about surprising your contacts with fresh editorial angles and content.

I always thought I'd be...
In PR. Ever since I first watched Absolutely Fabulous as a child, I knew Eddie was on to a good thing! So throughout University, I interned at PR firms, radio stations and media companies. I even tried to PR my Dad's Law firm, whilst still at school! Due to the constantly changing nature of the job and number of people with whom you connect, I think the discipline suits my personality perfectly.

I'm at my best when...
Working on campaigns that inspire me. I'd also say I’m at my best when working with clients who are happy to run with a creative idea and place trust in my judgment.

You don't want to be around me when...
I’ve been let down. It's a perpetual part of the job, and although I do understand circumstances change, it's always disappointing when you are looking forward to a big spread, and it doesn't materialise. When this happens I feel like I've let my client down, and that's never a good feeling.

I'm a closet reader of...
Stocks and shares – I do have a few, though mostly watch them go down, rather than up (my talents lie firmly in PR)…!

My most prized possession is...
My business. I've worked so hard on the company over the past 18 months - it's my baby (Turtle).

The worst meeting I've had was...
A new client pitch whilst working for my last company. I was leading the pitch and felt well prepared, until I walked in and realised I had already met one of the owners at a glamorous Notting Hill wedding three years beforehand. He was one of a gang partying in our kitchen until 6am the following morning! A few glances were exchanged, but whether the person was too embarrassed, or couldn't quite place the connection - nothing was said, so it was very hard to keep a straight face whilst pitching our ideas. And we didn't win the business.

My favourite PR moment is...
My working week is full of PR moments – but I’d have to say brainstorming new campaigns is my favourite of all. However, when Tourism Queensland's "best job in the world" competition broke, I remember wishing I'd been part of that brainstorm!

If it wasn't for…
Amanda Duffy at Forster Communications, who offered me my first internship, I wouldn't be working in PR. This firm was also where I read the quote by James Bryant Conant that inspired my company name – Turtle PR. Scribed in bold type on one of their walls were the lines: 'Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out'. But really I have Edina Monsoon to thank for my business – for the reasons outlined above!

If I could work with anyone it would be...
Lynne Franks – what an inspiration for women in PR, all over the globe. Her achievements so far span five decades – from initiating London Fashion Week, to creating countless brand campaigns and carrying out extensive charity work. I'd love to work with her – an excellent networker, strategist and feminist in the industry.

My relationship with journalists is...
Based on being truthful and efficient. I learnt very early on, to ask journalists as many questions as possible at the start, to be able to send through exactly what is needed, in as few emails as possible.

I'd love to get my PR mitts on...
A Caribbean resort would do nicely…