In celebration of female leaders in PR, marketing, and business this International Women's Day, Sequel sat down with Grace to discuss her career path, her tips on leading a strong team, and what keeps her passion ignited.
Tell us about your path to becoming a Senior PR & Brand Manager for Reignwood Investment – how did you get to where you are today?
Just after the first lockdown I was working for an agency in London. I had my flat in the city and was settled, I honestly thought I was always going to be living in London and working in an agency forever.
One of my clients at the time offered me a short term contract as a PR manager in-house at a resort in Marbella. Naturally, I jumped at the chance. I also didn’t anticipate the lockdown period lasting as long as it did. I ended up thriving and loving my new lifestyle working as the PR and Communications Manager for both Puente Romano Beach Resort and Nobu Hotel Marbella, which is a beautiful beachside resort on the Golden Mile. The owners are the same as the Marbella Club, Puente Romano and Nobu Hotel between them have 15 restaurants and bars, including Coya, Leña by Dani Garcia, a Six Senses Spa, and a beautiful, famous tennis club. You think going in-house wouldn't be as busy as juggling the many client’s agency life brings, but I was wrong! It was a challenge I was willing to accept.
After two years London called again as a Four Seasons opportunity opened up. I started as the PR manager working at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square. We had a crazy year, the city was opening back up post pandemic and so was the hospitality industry! Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square has a stunning private members club, spa and two really well-known restaurants, one of them being Anne-Sophie Pic’s La Dame de Pic which has two Michelin stars.
We were also marking our centenary, celebrating the buildings history and heritage as it was the former Port of Authority. Wentworth Club also celebrating 100 years, so we teamed up and started working on some amazing activations.
I learnt so much about the prestigious golf course and was fortunate enough to work closely with the ownership company, Reignwood . Reignwood Group own Wentworth, Ten Trinity Square, VOSS water and a few other assets in the world of hospitality.
During this time, I had been in PR manager for about three years. I was ready to step it up. PR will always be something that you do as a marketeer. But as a standalone, it's probably not enough anymore — and that's just how I felt. At this juncture in my life, I was naturally ready for a new role, which for me was something within brand management, marketing, and partnerships, using the network of contacts I’d built as a PR.
I was fortunate enough to move internally and at the beginning of this year started as the Senior PR & Brand Manager at Reignwood Investment Group. It was a great opportunity for me to step into something different and do something on a much bigger scale working with more than one brand. I love the opportunity this role brings with working and enabling my creative mind to roam.
What's the most exciting part of working for an international company like Reignwood?It's incredibly exciting work because there's so much diversity, from members’ clubs to hotels to real estate and products like Voss. So, it's a chance for me to get my creative brain going. No day is the same!
Before I moved to Spain, all I could think was: 'I'm never going to live anywhere but London.' And then you move away, you see how much more the world has to offer, you work with different people from different backgrounds, and see a new way market a product/brand, work on a bigger scale, and you get inspired.
What tips can you give us about building a great team around you?
This for me is the absolute key to being successful professionally and in terms of business. I am so blessed that in every job I've had, my working relationships have been so positive, be it with my boss, with ownership, with general managers, with the cleaners around the hotels, or people that I have managed day to day. You are nothing without your team — and your boss needs to know that they're nothing without the support of you.
As for building a great team, I think honesty is key. Whatever you’re struggling on – whether you're finding something difficult or if you don't understand what you've been briefed on – flag it! All good leaders will be there to support you and want to see you flourish. A good team, shows a good leader.
In the same vein, it’s so important to always be kind. Think about how you would want your boss to treat you, because we've all had bad experiences and ultimately they've not put their best foot forward for the business.
Trust is also crucial. Micromanaging only suffocates people — you really need to trust that your team is going to do the work and get things done. Build your team up, let them know they are appreciated, let them be creative. With this kind of working dynamic, you're meeting business goals and you're doing it in a really enjoyable way.
So, treat others how you wish to be treated, laugh in the process, and try to be as honest and open as you can.
Working with major clients like Wentworth Golf Club, Ten Trinity Square Private Members Club and VOSS water requires immense focus, dedication and attention to detail. What motivates you and keeps your passion sparked?
What motivates me is absolutely seeing a project through to completion, carrying it from a small idea to something big that has such an impact on other people.
I've been involved in projects like hotel launches that have taken years and years, and along the way it's never easy. You put a whole strategy together, you think, think, and think again about projects, and sometimes you're going round in circles and most of the time, the ideas aren’t approved by others! But seeing it through to completion and perseverance, makes it all worth it, because you know at the end you’ve been a part of something bigger.
With what we do in hospitality and for members at the private clubs, you're putting on experiences and giving people this extraordinary lifestyle. Therefore, when you do something for them that goes above and beyond you can actually see and feel the enjoyment that can bring. And there's no better feeling than bringing joy to people's lives.
Once you've done it and you see it, that feeling is so strong that it's kind of addictive. You think: ‘Right, okay, I want to do it again. What next! How can we do it again but better!’ So that for me is definitely what keeps my passion sparked.
What is the common denominator with all the brands you’ve worked with that you think defines luxury?
It’s being able to offer money-can't-buy experiences and thoughtfulness. When you go somewhere — and it can be anywhere, your local supermarket, your local coffee place — ask yourself: why do I always go to this same place? You go because they say hello, they know your order, they know you. I love that, and that is really what luxury members clubs provide. Thoughtful touches can make a whole experience and an unforgettable moment.
Luxury is going that extra mile to take things off people’s plate. Whether that's getting to the hotel from the airport, whether that's hands free shopping, arranging an amazing experience for you and your family — it makes all the difference.
So I think luxury is really about making things a lot more seamless, creating memorable moments and incorporating thoughtful touches.
What is the most important message you’d like to send out to young women embarking on a career in PR, marketing or branding?
In what I do, my creative, wild ideas are sometimes going to be a big investment or not agreed by all. Not everyone will share your vision. Accept that. Never take no for an answer but mould the idea to then support other key players' vision. Don’t be downtrodden, you are not going to win them all!
Really do try and believe in yourself, because there's always going to be people that are bigger and better than you. That’s business, that’s life. But that doesn’t mean you’re not amazing at what you do.
I would also say you have to be quite thick-skinned in this type of industry. It looks like the most glamorous job in the world but it also comes with a lot of hard work, a lot of late nights and people management. So, don’t embark on this career if you’re just looking for the glam.
My final advice: make sure you really enjoy your job, because that's ultimately where the passion comes from. If you love what you do, ideas flourish, excitement kicks in and hard work really begins.