Marketing And Media Matters

Issue 101

Helen Craddock Owner, The Preneur Network

Did you always envisage a career in the Media Industry?

I had a brilliant English Literature teacher who had a passion for media and that sparked an intrigue at 16 but at that age, I remember being overwhelmed with options.

What has been your career path so far?

I was accepted to study English and Journalism at university, but I made a last-minute detour after winning a scholarship to pursue my other love of performing arts and professional theatre. I spent three years studying at Covent Garden, then seven years producing, choreographing, and promoting shows and events internationally. When I returned to the UK, I went back to study at London Business School and transitioned my skills into my first marketing and communications role with The National Trust. From there I worked with RICS and found a love for the built environment, and then spent over six years as Communications Director at Ryder Architecture before taking a leap of faith to setup Preneur Network last year.

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far?

I love nurturing people, and collaborating on ideas so initially, being a business owner with no employees was lonely. I’ve now built up a wonderful network of freelancers I collaborate with and brilliant clients. As with so many big changes in life, there have been the people who have gone above and beyond to cheerlead, support, and mentor me and I’m aware of their profound impact on my first year in business.

Who do you respect most in your industry?

Steven Bartlett. I’ve been lucky enough to meet him in person. He’s very self-aware and constantly pushing his own boundaries and diversifying.

Which fictional media character can you most relate to?

Elle Woods, Legally Blonde. “You must always have faith in yourself” regardless of what others think. I’m cheerful, enthusiastic, emotional and yes, I love pink. But I’m also obsessed with self-development and education, determined, and very ambitious.

What is your greatest strength?

Being a great listener and spotting the opportunity gaps others sometimes don’t see.

What is your biggest weakness?

Worrying too much about what other people think of me – it’s something that can hugely hold you back from achieving your dreams if you don’t check yourself. A few years back, there’s no way I would have agreed to do this interview for that same reason!

What has been your proudest achievement?

Leaving a dream job, team, and promising employment career to establish my own comms and marketing business. I’ll never look back with that regret now about having the ‘what if’ hanging over me. Being in complete control of my business direction, achievements, and culture, and knowing my two young children see me doing that, genuinely inspires me out of bed every day.

What are your future career aspirations?

I hope I continue to always seize the business opportunities as they come my way with an open mind on how far new adventures, partnerships, and ideas can grow.

How do you see your industry evolving in the next 10 years?

AI is advancing rapidly with incredible developments. However, it’s crucial to balance this with maintaining personalised and emotional human experiences for brands.

How do you like to unwind?

I have some precious ‘mind spa’ time on a Sunday, listening to my Headway app while running in Northumberland. Then a glass of fizz and some nice food to counterbalance!

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