For the second edition of #CoffeewithContext, we catch up with Account Manager Patrick Giffney, who celebrates one year with Context this month.
Patrick was born and bred in Macclesfield and holds a degree in Sports Studies and Journalism. He is a lover of football, golf and basically anything related to sport. He enjoys a pint of Guinness and custard creams hold a special place in his heart.
Here are some excerpts from our chat –
What’s your go-to mantra in life?
Years ago, I saw a film, where the guy says ‘Don’t take life too seriously. You will never get out alive.’ Me and my friends used to say it to each other as a bit of a joke, but I think it’s actually great advice. Just be yourself and stay positive.
What’s your greatest personal achievement to date?
There are a couple of things, actually. One that stands out is going back to Uni as a 24-year-old to get a second degree. I have a passion for sport and my parents encouraged me to follow the dream and study journalism. I was surrounded by 18-year-olds, which was incredibly daunting, but I am glad I did it and I made friends for life.
The second would be my fiancé and I are currently in the process of buying our first house together. It’s been two years in the making and things got a little tough due to the pandemic, but we’re almost there now. Fingers crossed we’ll get the keys in the next month or so. It’s something we’re both very proud of.
What series are you currently binge-watching?
I love podcasts, so it’s more like binge-listening. I am listening to this true-crime podcast called ‘West Cork’ about the murder of a French lady in southern Ireland. It’s an unsolved mystery and it’s completely addictive. I am a massive fan of the true-crime genre and would highly recommend ‘Wrongful Conviction’ on Spotify too!
Who is your hero and what would you do if you met them?
If anybody asks me this question, I always tell them it is my dad, but if I had to say someone ‘high profile’ (sorry dad) it would be Barack Obama. As an individual, he fascinates me. To become president of the USA he had to overcome so many hurdles like race, culture, and prejudice. If I were lucky enough to meet him, I would probably say, ‘fancy a pint and a quick chat?’ (chuckles). Sir Vivian Richards is another person I really admire. He’s a complete legend.
How do you maintain a good work-life balance?
This is something I am working on and improving. I don’t switch off very easily, but I step outside to play golf on weekends, which helps me clear my mind. It’s me against the course and no one else is involved, which helps me zone out and focus on myself.
Otherwise, I like to spend time with my family, listen to a good audiobook or podcast. It’s all about trying to relax!
What advice would you offer to someone considering a career in PR?
I would say step out of your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. In my career, I have spent a lot of time being petrified of making mistakes. But then, how do you learn if you don’t make them? No one’s perfect. I wouldn’t want to be perfect.
During my time in university, everybody wanted to be a football journalist, but I made the choice of working in rugby. I had no idea about the game or its rules, but it was great fun and a great experience, which gave me the confidence to do other things. I felt the same later when I moved to PR. Push yourself, but in a good way. I always remember a phrase a previous colleague taught me… it’s PR and not ER.
What lessons have you learnt from the Covid pandemic?
I am sure everybody says this, but family is incredibly important. Make sure you surround yourself with the right people. Acknowledge the good things around you and enjoy life, don’t overthink it.
Click here to read the first edition of #CoffeewithContext with Hanna Munir.