Portland Profile: Elizabeth La Trobe

Portland Profile: Elizabeth La Trobe

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career so far?

I think when you’re starting out you assume everyone knows everything all the time but that’s not the case! So asking carefully thought out questions isn’t a weakness, it’s how you get to the root of an issue and can offer the best strategic advice for your clients. That and be nice to everyone!

What is your favourite part about your role?

I’ve been so lucky in my time at Portland to work on some amazing projects with wonderful clients across so many different areas and on really meaningful work – but the main thing that stands out for me is the people. Working with such smart, engaged and fun people every day isn’t something I take for granted. There’s such breadth of experience and skill in the team, there’s always someone to turn to and bounce ideas off.

What has been your favourite experience at Portland so far?

There’s been so many – but a real highlight of the past few years has been working on delivering sessions at global events, such as the World Health Summit, for our clients. Getting the chance to shape messaging from the start and then see the impact of that being delivered in real time to important stakeholders is hugely satisfying. The time a group of us got stuck in the lift before the Christmas party is a close second as a memorable, but perhaps not favourite, experience.

What would you say are the key lessons we have learnt in health communications over the last several years?

The past few years have shown how challenging it can be to reach people who may already have their minds made up, whether that’s the public or policymakers! Key is to tailor your comms to the audience – can you look at health from a financial or societal angle for example, and demonstrate the benefits from another viewpoint that might cut through? And that sometimes it’s best for messages to come from a community’s trusted leaders.

What do you do to switch off from work?

I love cooking, reading, travelling- and guiltily remembering to do my Duolingo before midnight! I’m also one of five children, so just keeping up with everyone is a part time job in itself.

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