In the latest of our employee spotlight series, UK Public Affairs Senior Account Executive Claudia Mulholland discusses life at H/Advisors Cicero.
I graduated from university with a degree in Politics, but with no plan for my life beyond the university bubble and with very little idea about the sort of career I wanted to pursue. I did however know what I wanted from an ideal job: an academic challenge; the opportunity to think strategically; scope to put my writing skills to use; and perhaps most importantly for me, something people-orientated, that didn’t just see me sat behind a desk eight hours a day, five days a week but got me out and about with people face to face.
Ultimately, I stumbled upon the opportunity at Cicero – through a series of very fortunate events! – but have found that my position in the UK Public Affairs team really does tick all of my boxes. Since joining the agency, I have been presented with manifold opportunities to broaden my understanding not just of the UK political landscape but of the multiple complex policy issues that drive our client work in order to deliver personalised strategic advisory on a day-to-day basis. I’ve had policy briefings written by me read out verbatim in the House of Lords and recorded for prosperity in Hansard. And I’ve been afforded the opportunity to meet and engage with industry colleagues, clients, prospective clients, parliamentarians and policy makers – and all as part of the job!
Since joining Cicero, I have been very lucky to have been recognised for my work at the agency and was thrilled to be nominated by my colleagues, and since shortlisted, for the PR Week Corporate, City and Public Affairs award for PA Newcomer of the Year. Cicero is an incredibly generous agency and the recognition that it affords its people and their successes is one of the many things that makes it a great place to work.
But whilst the PR Week nomination has of course been a huge honour, my proudest achievement since joining Cicero has been advising clients on a number of public affairs campaigns that have gone on to achieve tangible policy change. It’s not every job that gives you the license to affect actual change – and it’s certainly not every day in public affairs – which makes those wins all the more memorable.
My favourite thing about working at Cicero is the range of clients I get to work with on a daily basis, and the opportunity that gives me to think broadly about a range of issues. It is not unusual that I start the day discussing the best approach to engaging the Government on post-Brexit financial services regulatory reform with a UK banking client and end the day dissecting proposed EU pharmaceutical legislation with a global healthcare client.
The thing I love the most about my job is the level of exposure that I get to clients despite only being at the start of my career. Literally since my first day at Cicero I have been empowered by my managers to have a stake in all of my client meetings – which has been massively important in helping me to develop my own strategic advisory voice – and have always felt that my opinion is listened to and valued by the clients I work with. Supporting on select committee training for the Chief Risk Officer at Lloyd’s of London in my first couple of months at Cicero was certainly a baptism of fire, but is testament to the fact that Cicero trusts all of its staff, however junior, to deliver the best advice to clients.
Cicero is all about the people and I feel incredibly lucky to work alongside colleagues that I enjoy spending time with outside of the confines of the office. And whilst work is of course not all about making friends (although that is a bonus!), I’ve found that having a genuine social connection with those that I work with feeds through into the office and makes getting the job done all the easier.
Having joined the Havas family in 2020, Cicero sits within a network of communications agencies spanning the UK, Europe and the world. One of the big pluses of our membership of Havas is the opportunity it gives us at Cicero to collaborate with agencies operating in different parts of that network on shared client accounts – something that I have been really pleased to get involved with. This week, I have been working with a sister agency within the Havas network specialising in delivering creatives comms counsel to corpsumer brands to onboard a new client operating in the retail space that we will work on together. It has been really interesting to consider how Cicero’s menu of corporate strategic services can work in tandem with and complement the more creative offering of our sister agency and to get a better idea of how other agencies within the network operate – it’s certainly given me plenty of food for thought.