Interview With Kari Owers, MD of Creative Communications Agency, O PR
Kari Owers, from Newcastle is Managing Director of creative communications agency, O PR.
O has won over 50 awards for its creative campaigns and her agency represents a range of brands including Dr. Martens and Parkdean Resorts. Kari is former North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and an IPA Woman of Tomorrow finalist 2016.
As well as being mum to two children she is a non-executive director of Generator, the north’s leading development agency for the commercial creative industries in her spare time.
It’s an honour to share her brilliance as part of my Wonderful Women series.
Describe a typical day for you?
I’m usually up around 6.30 and after checking my emails and social media feeds I get the kids their breakfast, school kit sorted and we’re on the school run at 7:45. A couple of days a week I do pilates or go for a run first thing, but even then I’m usually in the office for 9 am where I eat some breakfast and catch up with my team.
My entire day is a mix of back-to-back client or team meetings and responding to emails, or writing proposals and strategies. No two days are the same running an agency, a big news story can break and I have to hit the tools to manage it, or it can be a creative day where I get to come up with new campaign ideas.
I rarely take a lunch-break as I try hard to head off around 5:30pm to see the children, maybe walk the dog or cook a leisurely meal and have some relaxation time – evenings are precious, after years of late nights in the early days of the business I now try not to work evenings other than go to the odd event or a quick check of the emails from the sofa.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
Raising two wonderful, clever and funny kids whilst building a nationally award-winning business. I set up O when my son was three and daughter was newborn. They’ve known no different, and have seen how hard my husband and I have both had to work over the years as they grew up – we may have had to put the hours in, but we’ve always been at every school play or sports day too.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
Laptop, charger, phone – first and foremost I need to be connected in my world of work. Then its school letters, purse, snacks, lipstick and a hairbrush if I’m organised enough!
What are your ambitions in life?
The agency has really come of age, so I look forward to seeing my rising stars help lead the business in the years to come. I can’t wait to see what my children achieve too – as long as they are fulfilled and happy my ambitions for them will be achieved. My own ambition is simply to stay busy and healthy, have the chance to travel the world and find a little more time for my friends and family.
What advice do you know now, you wish you had pre-kids?
Just enjoy being with them doing everyday things, rather than scheduling too much of your lives, because they grow up way too fast.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
Go with the flow. I’m guilty of always wanting tomorrow to happen yesterday, but some things just take a bit of time to achieve, like experience.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Chairing a board of smart, committed people in running one of the UK’s most successful communications agencies.
What advice would you give a budding Blogger?
The blogger-sphere is growing fast and now more than ever it is about cut-through. My advice would be to stay true to yourself and what you want to achieve from blogging –it is that authenticity that always shines through with the bloggers we work with. If you can really carve out a niche for yourself, even better. To do that you have to dig deep and ask yourself what makes you different? What is your USP? We all have one.
What advice would you give a budding PR?
Network like mad. Build your brand. Make sure you are the best writer ever. Always think ‘would this interest me’ before pitching a story and don’t if it wouldn’t. Don’t be a ‘yes man’ with clients, trust they want your opinion.
Finally, happiness is…
When all your close friends and family are in the room, laughing and eating something delicious.
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