'How I made it' featuring Jeremy Seeman, SVP, Corporate, Public Affairs and Crisis at Omnicom PR Group France
For our latest inspiring stories series, 'How I made it', we're interviewing the cream of the crop across all facets of communications and marketing. This is where you'll learn about how the best in the industry got to where they are today and hopefully pick up some tips along the way to help your own career progress.
Jeremy Seeman is an expert in Corporate Communications, Public Affairs and Crisis Management. With +10 years in the industry, Jeremy has risen the ranks quickly and is now Senior Vice President at Omnicom PR Group in the Paris office.
He shares his experience and talks us through some good advice to succeed in Communications and Public Affairs.
How did you get into communications?
My first experience started in advertising when I worked in a boutique ad-agency for 18 months as a student.
Then, I turned towards communications. I was finishing my studies in political science when I got into the institutional world, as a parliamentary assistant of a member of parliament for nearly a year. This was the beginning of my career.
I did internships and got some professional experience in the private sector of communications, and that’s what I wanted to do. I joined a corporate communications agency. They did communications, professions of communication in a broad sense, and crisis management.
I really began my career at that time, I learnt the profession of consulting, by supporting clients on communication issues.
What were the main challenges you had to face?
There were challenges of all kinds.
Challenges directly linked to the job itself, like understanding various sectors, with multiple complex issues, facing regulatory matters, sometimes quite demanding clients, managing campaigns and communication crises whether national or international. Challenges were related to the specificities of my clients’ sectors and the nature of their business, which were complex but exciting.
The next challenge was managing teams when I took responsibilities. Learning how to create a better group dynamic, to lead teams, to provide a positive and inspiring work environment for everyone.
What personal qualities do you think you have to move forward in your career?
First of all, I would say curiosity. In my job, it’s important to be eager to discover new things, to go further than what people can say about a sector, or a client, to seek what is interesting about complex issues. I think having that curiosity, that will to learn on a larger basis of issues, is what allowed me to keep on progressing and learning.
What advice would you give to someone desiring get into communication?
You must be inquisitive, have the desire to learn and be open-minded. You also have to be a sponge, get enriched by your experience, your readings, your passions, by what you see, by your teams, by your managers and by your clients. You get nourished by the people you meet, absorb everything, that’s the right way to progress.
You progress by being open-minded, by observing what’s going on around you, by being interested in what’s going on in the world. Always have the desire to discover more, to go further and try to understand what’s under the surface, and you will progress.
What are the three words which describe you best?
Curious, open-minded and rigorous.
Were you inspired by people you meet throughout your career?
Yes of course. I think it’s very important to have models, people who have more experience than you, who know the job, you must listen and absorb from them as much as possible.
Throughout my career I was lucky enough to meet people like that, either line managers or key decision-makers among my clients. I can only insist on the primary importance of getting nourished by all the people you meet in your everyday life, professionally, or privately speaking.
It is necessary to be able to get out of the communications market, see other situations, other people, great leaders from the political or associative world, and do all that we consider essential and in relation with one’s personality.
There is no perfect model. You build your model, with bits and pieces you take here and there in your professional and private environment. From all this, you build little by little the consultant you would like to be.
What one piece of technology can you not live without?
Easy: my Blackberry! I can work from anywhere with it, it’s so convenient, I just couldn’t do without.
If you were not in communications, what career would you have chosen?
Taking into accounts my areas of interests, and what I like, I would have chosen a career related to social issues, so, I would probably be a journalist.
Anything else to add?
My last word: thank you.