Megan Williams has just joined the venerable Martin Hunt at Tartan Silk public relations. We sat down with her to find out what attracted her back to live and work in Edinburgh.
I was born in Edinburgh, and then started life in Perth, and my family returned to Edinburgh when I was in secondary school. I even did my work experience with Tartan Silk when I was at Trinity Academy.
After school I attended Rose Bruford College in Sidcup, the international drama school of theatre and performance, where I studied Scenic Arts. We learned about 2D drawing programmes, construction with wood and metal as well as scenic painting and prop making. It was a fantastic foundation to build a career on, and the work ethic and commitment of those who work in theatre ensures that you come into the real world ready to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in.
After graduating, I worked for a wonderful company who built stages for The Brit Awards, exhibition stands for McLaren, catwalks for Mulberry and window displays for John Lewis. The pace was fierce, but I worked hard to gain the respect of these incredible people who had such spectacular projects under their belt. I cut my teeth in set construction, then I moved city and joined a creative agency in Manchester. There, every idea matters whether you work in accounts or design.
The people I worked with inspired me to be more creative, strategic and diplomatic. Working for organisations with multiple stakeholders, such as big pharma, meant trying to please a lot of people with very different opinions. These are creative minds with business sense. Then I moved back to London and worked as a freelance Project Manager before my return to Edinburgh.
What will your new position entail?
At Tartan Silk I will be working with Martin to help our clients to uncover new audiences. We will be tapping into opportunities, particularly using a combination of traditional PR and social media. We will communicate our client’s unique product offers in the innovative ways required by today’s incredibly competitive marketplace.
What are the reasons behind you living and working in Edinburgh?
I think of Edinburgh as home. In February, I used Linkedin to arrange meetings with events and marketing businesses here, looking to research potential work opportunities. My contacts proved warm, friendly and unbelievably helpful, encouraging me to take the decision to move north. One of those people happened to be Martin.
What are your business goals for the next 12 months?
First, we want to grow awareness for our current clients, and second, to deliver exciting campaigns for an expanded selection of new clients. We love to work with brands that we are passionate about and that represent all that’s best about Scotland.
What is the best career advice you have been given?
Never make assumptions. In my first year at work I almost chartered an unnecessarily large cargo plane to deliver a small window display to Hong Kong. My assumption, because I had measured-up twice, that the dimensions I had given to the shipping company must be correct. I checked one last time… a crisis (and astronomical bill!) was averted.
How do you spend your spare time?
I really enjoy baking and carrot cake is my absolute favourite. I love finding great new coffee shops and enjoy discovering Edinburgh again after 10 years away. A recent audio walking tour of the closes off the Royal Mile was insightful, with Dunbar’s Close Garden the highlight.
Your Edinburgh tip?
East Coast Cured, a wonderful specialist food shop tucked away on Restalrig Road. Try the Nduja sausage, it’s brilliant on homemade pizza.
How did you get through lockdown?
I spent my lockdown binge watching on the ‘Scandi-Noir’ detective series ‘The Bridge’, perfecting my Tiramisu and making masks to sell on Etsy. 250 masks later I decided it was time to close the mask shop and then I began working with Tartan Silk.
What’s your best business advice?
“I believe in inspiration and intuition” (Albert Einstein). Develop and nurture your intuition and imagination. Make sure you use them when thinking about your future, and whenever you take important business decisions.