Blog 3 minute read
In this quick catch up with Bibi Hilton, managing director of PR firm Golin, we discover how two young MDs singing the Baywatch theme tune whilst dressed in red shorts changed her life forever…
What did you want to be when you were a teenager?
I wanted to be a forensic scientist….I was very into crime thrillers and PD James in my teens.
Would your teenage self be pleased with the way things have turned out?
Probably not since I didn’t realise my forensic science ambition! But given I discovered feminism in my teens, I think my teenage self would be proud of the work we do at Golin on gender equality and promoting flexible working and returnships.
How did you get your first break?
Good old cold calling! I had some experience of PR from working for a B2B tech agency in Paris during my French degree. So when I graduated I cold called every agency in PR Week’s top agencies list. Miraculously, I got an interview with Mike Morgan at the Red Consultancy. It still makes me cringe when I think back to proudly telling him about my experience pitching new product releases from a cabling manufacturer. Anyway he took pity on me and offered me a job. I spent five brilliant years there and loved every minute….
What is the best career decision you have made?
Letting two young, ambitious new MDs persuade me to go and work for them by showing me a video where they sang the Baywatch theme tune whilst dressed in red shorts. They are now my CEOs.
Any career regrets?
Letting two young, ambitious new MDs persuade me to go and work for them by showing me a video where they sang the Baywatch theme tune while dressed in red shorts! The theme tune is forever stuck in my brain and I find myself humming it now and again without warning…
Seriously though, I don’t really have any. I’ve been lucky enough to work for Golin for 11 years alongside some of the brightest, most brilliant and fun people in our industry and I’ve been constantly given new opportunities before I even realised I was ready so I’ve never had the chance to get bored.
Why Golin? The people and the restlessness. We are always thinking about what’s next and how we need to change. I love the fact that despite being a big global network, we are able to affect change in our business really quickly, like last year when we launched unlimited holiday, or our Golin B&B initiative. We don’t just talk about things, we actually do them! The people at Golin are really special and Golin goes the extra mile to look after them. We have long tenure and I have so many great friendships from my years with the agency.
What are the greatest challenges of your present role?
People. We are in the business of selling ideas and to do that you need the best and brightest brains from a very diverse group. People who all look the same and went to the same schools and universities do not come up with the best ideas together. We are working hard to try and find different ways to recruit to improve social, ethnic and age diversity in our business… it’s not easy though and it takes time. You also have to change your culture in order to support more diverse teams.
What advice can you give to others in the communications industry?
If you are starting out on your career, get as much experience as you can from either paid internships or a couple of weeks’ work experience (not more than two weeks’ unpaid). We pretty much recruit all of our graduates from our paid internship programme. Whilst you are getting experience take the opportunity to go and speak to the agency head or senior leaders so you are on their radar and link in with everyone you can.