From day dot, it’s instilled in young people that the grades achieved as teenagers will map out the rest of their life. While getting top marks is a great starting point, we know that life isn’t quite as black and white as that.

The media and creative industries in particular attract a wide variety of people, with all sorts of educational backgrounds. In fact, none of us has followed the same path to become a part of the team here at Clark — we believe this diversity makes us all the stronger.

So to celebrate students across the country receiving their exam results and support the #NoWrongPath campaign here are some of our journeys into PR and design…

Name Lesley Brydon

Current Clark Communications role: Managing Director

Path to PR: I didn’t do well in my school exams so I decided to go to college to study an HND (as I couldn’t get into uni). I then did some work experience for Children First in their comms department and landed my first account executive role at just 20. I certainly got bitten by the agency bug and have since worked for tiny, small, medium and mega international agencies before biting the bullet and launching Clark Communications in 2012.

Name: Angela Hughes

Current Clark Communications role: Director

Path to PR: Unfortunately I didn’t get on to the university course I wanted to do the first time around, so I went to college and completed an HNC in Communications, and secured a place on BA Communications and Mass Media at GCU the following year. After graduating, I temped for six months as an admin assistant at a charity, a hospital and even a metal fabrication company! I then landed my first PR job at a large agency on a six-month press office secondment. After working my way up the ranks in agency, I spent eight years in in-house roles before finding my way back to agency land at Golley Slater Scotland, which merged with Clark in 2016.

Name: Kirsten Paul

Current Clark Communications role: Account Director

Path to PR: I did OK at school and knew that uni felt like the next natural step but I wasn’t sure what to study. I decided on comms and before I graduated (2007) had been offered a place on a graduate scheme in London. I grew up with the agency and stayed there for 11 years, specialising in tech PR, before relocating back home to Edinburgh to join Clark two years ago.

Name: Lisa Donnelly

Current Clark Communications role: Senior Account Manager

Path to PR: I left school to study primary teaching at Strathclyde but after three years I decided I didn’t want to be a teacher! After graduating, I worked for a fashion and beauty PR agency where I realised I could talk and write for a living. I later moved on to a big Glasgow agency but was made redundant after two years. After a brief spell in procurement at Glasgow airport, I joined the CC team three years ago.

Name: Heather Peebles

Current Clark Communications role: Senior Account Manager

Path to PR: I achieved good Highers, so my school encouraged me to do a ‘sensible degree’ in teaching/law/medicine etc. At the time I had barely even heard about the PR industry apart from it being Eddie’s job in Absolutely Fabulous (which couldn’t be further from the reality of a comms career!) I ended up graduating in law but knew a career involving wigs and gowns wasn’t the one for me. After a couple of internships in PR agencies, I landed a full-time role in Scotland before working for various agencies in London. I moved back home to Edinburgh last year and started at Clark in January 2020.

Name: Carrie Wieteska

Current Clark Communications role: Account Manager

Path to PR: I have a BS Integrated Marketing Communications (during which time I did PR/communications internships) and a MA in International PR. I worked in the marketing department at the Bronx Zoo in New York, before taking a year off to do an entirely unrelated MA! I then started working at a small PR agency in London before coming up to Edinburgh last year.

Name: Rachel Russell

Current Clark Communications role: Graphic Designer

Path to PR Design: I graduated in English Lit at Oxford, before getting a job in publishing but I didn’t really enjoy it and had always craved a role in design. I decided to travel for a little bit and then did an MA in Communication Design. I got a terrible design job initially because I needed the money before moving to Rome for a year where I built a portfolio up and found a few clients. When I got back to the UK I carried on freelancing for 9 years and ran a wedding stationery design business. I decided I missed working in a team, and after my second maternity leave, I got offered a job at Clark having already enjoyed freelancing for them!

We regularly post about all things PR so if you’re looking to break into the industry make sure you follow our social media channels and feel free to get in touch with us here.