Unconventional paths to PR: How did we all get here? (Part 1)

By Hoffman Europe

The bustling world of public relations and communications is filled with people from all walks of life. While some of us pursued degrees in PR or journalism, many stumbled upon the industry from something vastly different: from accounting, history, law, to other creative backgrounds.

You may be surprised to know that most of our European team fall into the second category as they leverage transferable skills from their past experiences to become well-rounded B2B tech PR professionals. Hear from the team as they share how they got to where they are now in an exclusive, blog series showcasing the diverse backgrounds of Hoffman Europe.

mark pinsent
Me (checked shirt) with my Text 100 team way back in in 1997.

Mark Pinsent, Managing Director, Europe

My route into ‘tech’ would be more logical than my journey into PR. I studied Information and Computing Science at university (and before Chris Owen jumps in, it was a while after Charles Babbage …). At the time, though, a career in coding didn’t appeal, and my creative streak had me leaning towards marketing and communications. After writing to about 100 agencies looking for an entry-level position, a small generalist B2B agency in London took me on. It was a dreadful place, if I’m honest, but I learned a lot (mainly about how not to treat people). A year or so later it became clear that my little bit of PR experience combined with my academic background in tech was an attractive mix to the booming technology PR sector, and I joined Text 100 as an account executive. The rest, as they say, is history … nearly 30 years later and I’m still working in B2B tech, and I’ve never been anywhere but agency. The variety, opportunity to learn, the people, dynamism … that’s what I love.


mike stjohn-bond
Another bonus of a career in PR? The ability to spin a good anecdote. Me in October 2021.

Mike StJohn-Bond, Account Manager, Europe

In 2018, I graduated with a history degree, but very little desire to pull on the tweed jacket and become a historian. The course was worth every penny though. It made me realise a) I don’t want to work in the British Museum, and b) I’ve got a knack for producing engaging and persuasive content.

(It also armed me with a sh*tload of useful titbits for pub quizzes — see BBC’s Pointless, series 25).

So, I left university knowing I wanted to pursue a career in the creative industries. But, like many graduates, I didn’t know where to start looking. Luckily, a good friend recommended me for an internship in the tech team at Red Consultancy — a PR firm based in Soho — and I didn’t look back. It makes me smile thinking that I flew the nest with a rough plan to be an archaeologist (and/or expert in Viking mythology), but found my passion in researching and writing about silicon, not old bones.


chris owen
Me (left), and two fellow Account Managers at the time, posing for an impromptu photoshoot one afternoon in the Queen’s Head. We should probably have been doing some work.

Chris Owen, Director, UK

My route into PR is ‘far from normal’ it’s safe to say. Running barely profitable independent record shops doesn’t necessarily pave the way for a career in B2B Tech PR. Neither does leaving university “by mutual consent” after my second year because, well, I didn’t do any actual academic work, and in higher education this is somewhat frowned upon. But along the way I moved from a record shop into a music festival handling press and marketing. Which I really enjoyed, and which allowed me to write a lot. So, when that festival collapsed into administration because the man who ran it was a crook, I looked at the specific elements of my role and decided I liked PR the best. Cue a three-month work experience spot in London, and I found my way into a permanent role on a tech team as an AE. And the rest is history, I guess.







lorena essmeier
Me during my first HA London trip in April 2022.

Lorena Essmeier, Account Executive, Europe

As a child I painted and did a lot of crafts, but I also liked watching TV. Fortunately, I had parents who let that happen. Eventually I got the desire to work in the field of communications — my creative work, wanderlust and curiosity encouraged me to do so. I decided: I want to become a journalist. After many years, the dream burst for various reasons, but due to my skills and interests, I decided to study European Ethnology. Thanks to my bachelor thesis about Instagram and an 8.5-month social media internship at Krones AG, a German engineering company, I rediscovered my love for the communications field. While still at Krones, a friend referred me to The Hoffman Agency. I met Mark and the team — instant match. Shortly after I joined the agency, and ever since I’ve been building my experience in the B2B tech PR world.

Stay tuned for the next part of this series as we introduce more of our growing team in Europe!

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