Represent’s very own Senior Consultant, Melissa Albarran, won Rising Star of The Year at the 2023 PRCA Dare Awards in Scotland earlier this month. As an independent PR and marketing agency in Edinburgh, we are thrilled Melissa achieved this prestigious accolade – and we duly celebrated at Represent HQ!
Melissa joined us as an Account Manager in January 2022 following three years in-house as a comms specialist. In the space of 17 months, Melissa has become an integral part of Represent, achieving outstanding results for her clients, and was recently promoted to the position of Senior Consultant.
We spoke to Melissa about winning the award, her experience at Represent and her career goals for the future.
Firstly congratulations! How did it feel to win this prestigious industry award?
It was a huge – but incredible – surprise! I was so shocked that I didn’t really process winning until the following day.
You joined Represent from an in-house background. How have you found the transition to agency life?
Before joining Represent I was slightly concerned that agency life wouldn’t work for me. I had heard that PR agencies could be really tough due to the sheer number of clients and fast-paced culture.
However, far from being a problem, I have found this way of work really suits me. I love the wide variety of clients I work with, and really thrive on this pace – while it’s definitely busy, there is always time to take care of your work.
It sounds cliched but there is never a dull moment at Represent – which is ideal for someone who likes to be kept busy.
So, you see yourself sticking agency side for a while?
Yes definitely – you can’t get rid of me that easily!
In all seriousness, there is still so much I have to learn. By virtue of working on a range of projects, agency life exposes you to multiple opportunities – and challenges – which are crucial for professional development. One hour you are writing a press release for Scotland’s leading independent funeral director, the next you’re planning a social campaign for one of the country’s only all-boys schools – and then you’re at a shoot for Glasgow’s St. Enoch Centre! It forces you to think on your feet, be responsive and build new skills (and quickly).
What’s more, at an independent Scottish agency like Represent, everyone pulls together. My team is made up of highly experienced and intelligent professionals who inspire me to do better, think more creatively and believe in myself!
You’re making us blush! In all seriousness, what do you think has helped you to progress in your career?
There are several factors. I have always been highly results-driven and ambitious, which has set me in good stead for a career in PR.
The professional guidance I have received at Represent has been second to none and really helped to refine my skill set and boost my self-confidence. The management team here are incredibly generous with their time and expertise, offering feedback and further training opportunities where relevant. I feel very fortunate to have both Judith (MD) and Grainne (AD) as colleagues and professional mentors – without their help I would never have won the PRCA Dare Award!
Access to a variety of career development courses, such as SEO training and the positive intelligence PQ programme, have also been pivotal to my professional growth. Taking part in these learning experiences has expanded my expertise and boosted my mental resilience.
What are you looking for to keep you in PR for the long game?
Simply put, great clients and a great team. I want to continue working with businesses that align with my values and have a good story to tell. And crucially, I want to keep enjoying what I do with a team that is creative, clever, and kind.
Interested in joining an award-winning PR & Marketing agency? Get in touch with us here.