Portland Profile: James Ryan

Portland Profile: James Ryan

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

I’ve been lucky to have so many supportive people help me during my career. It sounds like a small thing, but I was told when I started out to always be careful putting anything in writing you wouldn’t want to be shared or become public. Whether email, text or WhatsApp, you never know what could be forwarded, innocently or not! It’s something I try and always bear in mind.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I think the range of high-profile clients we work with across different industries makes the job really interesting. You feel like you’re learning new things about business, politics and the economy all the time.  On any given day you could working on long-term plans to achieve net-zero, writing speaking notes for a high-profile event, or advising a client on how to respond to a highly critical story in the media. It certainly never gets boring.  

What has been your favourite experience at Portland so far?

I think the real sense of teamwork and camaraderie makes Portland a great place to work. However junior or senior you are in the organisation everyone makes an effort to get to know new starters, and you’re made to feel like an integral part of the teams working on different accounts. And as we come back to the office more, there’s been a real effort to organise drinks after work, which is really valuable when you’re getting to know people in the first few months.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self starting out in comms, or to someone entering this field of work?

I’d say always take the time to nurture your contacts. Over the years, you’ll work with, and meet so many amazing and talented people. Even if you don’t think so at the time, you never know when it may be useful to call upon your contacts – whether journalists, former colleagues or the wide variety of people you meet doing your work. The relationships you build over the years will be hugely valuable as your career progresses. And in the same vein, try and save as many people’s contact details as you can – particularly phone numbers!

What do you do to switch off from work?

I’ve always been a keen choral singer. I sing in one choir on a Monday evening, and then in my church choir on a Sunday. If people are thinking about joining a choir, I recommend it as a great way to relax.

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