For the last edition of #CoffeewithContext in 2021, we chat with Account Director, Jenni Livesley, who is the longest-serving member of Context Public Relations, apart from our founder and MD Frank Smith. After a decade in the business, Jenni has helped Context accomplish major milestones and become the organisation that we are today.
Jenni is born and bred in Macclesfield and holds a degree in Psychology and Sociology from The University of Leicester. She spends time caring for her retired horse and recently joined a local choir.
What’s your greatest personal achievement to date?
One personal achievement that I always cherish is that I sang for the queen on her global jubilee tour when she visited my school’s quincentennial celebration. Another would be a skydive that I did over Lake Taupo in New Zealand, jumping from the dizzy heights of 15,000 ft.
What have you been binge-watching/reading/listening to recently?
Ohhh, this list probably changes weekly because I do enjoy film and TV. I’ve just finished the first season of The Witcher and waiting patiently for the second. I also find comfort in classic 90s movies: True Lies, Sleepers, Air Force One (the list could go on forever). It may be an unpopular opinion but the soundtracks are usually epic and I even love the terrible video quality.
Who would you say is your hero/idol?
For me there is no one particular person who is my idol. Everyone is made up of so many different qualities, aren’t they? There are people that I idolise for their personal and professional achievements and some for their vanity. So, who could really sum that up – gosh, I can’t get Kim Kardashian out of my head now. She is a “serious businesswoman”. Jokes apart, I would say my friends and family are my idols, just the way they do their things and keep calm and carry on.
How do you maintain a good work-life balance?
I think for me, getting outside, even if it’s just for 15 minutes, is good for the mind, body and soul. I try and set myself small goals rather than big unreachable ones. If I reach the mini goal, it’s great, and if I do any better that’s a bonus. I have a horse named Milly who is stabled in a local village, which I think helps me with my balance. Despite all of this, I am probably the worst for skipping meals and working after hours which is something I want to work on in the new year.
What advice would you offer to someone considering a career in PR?
PR comes in many guises and sometimes it gets a bad reputation for unpaid experience. Know your worth and hold out for a role that pays, even when you are starting out. I have worked at Context for more than 10 years, so I didn’t do this, but it’s good to experience different sectors and industries because no PR agency is the same. Try out a few if you feel you are not a good fit and see what really interests you. Most skills you gain in PR are transferrable, whether it is media relations, content or handling multiple clients. Don’t be afraid to branch out.
What lessons have you learnt from the Covid pandemic?
Professionally I have come to realise that we’re all capable of great things even in the worst of times. I’ve seen the team pull out all the stops over the last two years and I couldn’t be more grateful. To that end, I have also realised how much we need to support each other especially when we’re not physically present. It’s very easy to forget to ask how someone is and if they are doing okay. Human connection is so important and I really hope we don’t lose sight of that.
What’s your go-to mantra in life?
My motto in life is ‘this too shall pass’, which refers to the fleeting moments of hardship that we endure. I even have that inked on my arm. Things and moments are temporary, and there is always something better waiting on the other side.
We asked Jenni a bunch of rapid-fire questions, answers to which she later explained –
Favourite artist – Right now I would have to say Book of Mormon cast having recently seen the play
Favourite film – Eat, Pray, Love is my guilty pleasure
Favourite sport – I don’t really have one but if forced I would probably say Rugby? Or Cricket but mainly for the Pimms on the sidelines
Favourite food/cuisine – Can’t go wrong with Italian
Favourite holiday destination – Cyprus holds fond memories of childhood holidays but I’d also return to New Zealand in a heartbeat