As an alumni member of Impington Village College, Lucy Atkinson continued her academic studies to A level – Sociology, Geography, History and Art – before going on to study Public Relations Studies (BA Hons) at university, which was the first year the degree was ever run in the UK. Lucy chose this course because it was an entirely new area of research, so she felt like it was breaking new ground.
For around 10 years she has worked for AstraZeneca pharmaceuticals, although that has now changed with her becoming a Director for Swallows Flight Associates. In her previous role with AstraZeneca, she had a mainly internal focus, trying to devise strategies and approaches to improve internal communication across the organisation. This was generally in support of specific initiatives and she was important quite frequently in ensuring organisational changes were announced and delivered in an effective and respectful way to those who were impacted, either through a change of scope or role. This entailed agreeing the approach with senior leaders, training, message development, planning announcements with the corporate affairs, legal, HR and media teams, coordination of resources, technical and logistical arrangements, materials production, stakeholder planning and management and much more.
The best part of the job in communications is the variety of work and people she gets to coordinate with, yet planning how to announce changes that impact people could be difficult. The last 3 rounds of change that Lucy had to manage was for communications that entailed over 5,000 people changing or losing their role, site exits and closures. Tasks like this are never nice or easy, but making a plan on how to tell and inform people on changes, then ensuring them it is being progressed in the best, most respectful way, means that she is successfully completing her role as a communications manager.
A Piece of Advice
“Grades are important, but attitude and common sense are just as valuable, if not more.”