Introducing Hoxby Associate & Partner, Fiona Chow

#LoveWhatYouDo Series

Ever wondered why our Associates just seem so god damn happy? It’s because they love what they do!

To celebrate this we have launched our #lovewhatyoudo blog series sharing the unique stories of some of our amazing team. Each of our Associates has a different story – they have all had a variety of struggles and successes along the way, and have all joined The Hoxby Collective for such different reasons. Read along, and hopefully you’ll find some nuggets of wisdom to help you on the path to #lovewhatyoudo too! 

Introducing Hoxby Partner & Head of PR, Fiona…

I am the proud and only slightly competitive mother to “threenager” Max. In my spare time, I am a partner and head of the PR channel at the Hoxby Collective, founder of communications consultancy Goadi Consulting Ltd and an advisor to pressure group “Pregnant Then Screwed”. Sometimes, I sleep.

How did you figure out that this was what you wanted to do?

Accident rather than design! I was made redundant while on maternity leave with my son from a senior comms role for a multinational company. I returned to work 4 days a week on a contract role but agency life, while fun in your 20s, is less appealing as your priorities change. I struggled to find a permanent role that was both senior and flexible. My choices were to take a more junior role or return to full blown corporate life with unsociable hours, international travel and continual pressure. I wasn’t willing to compromise.

At the same time, lots of old colleagues, clients and friends were approaching me to help with “projects” so the easiest thing was to set up a limited company to run these. Within a year the business was flourishing while this mysterious ideal job failed to appear. I decided to see what would happen if I turned all my attention to building my own ideal job instead. It was about this time I joined Hoxby.

Why do you love what you do?

I work predominantly with SMEs and start-ups in technology, media, marketing and financial services. I love the process of sitting with a client to identify the route to success and the right communications channels to leverage to do this. All my clients (bar one) are 30 or under, entrepreneurs with energy, vision and truly interesting and game-changing business ideas. I thrive on their energy and, being a little bit older than them, quite enjoy playing a “parental” role in guiding them as they grow. I do joke that I should rebrand as “Dorian Gray Communications” as the older and more haggard I get, the younger and more successful my clients are!

What have been some highlights of your career?

Commissioning an origami artist to create statues of popular music acts out of tickets for a campaign, creating a media campaign to support the UK video games development industry and successfully securing a 20% tax break on cultural grounds. Scripting a branded partnership content video (filmed at my Aunt’s house) with an Everton FC Legend which the Club liked so much they played at the ground during half time. I also got a text with an “x” from the Legend which is probably the closest I will ever come to being a WAG.

What limitations or struggles did you experience when you worked in a more traditional 9-5 format?

In an international business environment, it’s always 9-5 somewhere in the world so you were never really “off”. 9-5 is also poorly suited to creatives where your best work is often done outside regular hours. And of course, as a working mum – it doesn’t allow for the flexibility you need when you have to juggle work and personal commitments.

Why did you decide to join The Hoxby Collective and the workstyle movement?

I love my client portfolio but I wanted the opportunity to be involved in a greater variety of work, potentially across international markets too. The #lovewhatyoudo philosophy really resonated with me as I can’t imagine not working on the projects that inspire me, and in a way that gives me the freedom to enjoy life outside work too.

Do you love what you do more now that you have the freedom to work how you like? Why?

I love that I can work guilt free (mostly) and if I need/want some time off I can do so without having to deal with layers of bureaucracy. I have a tight knit set of trusted associates who can cover for holidays or support me when the workload increases and with Hoxby I have a community across the world who I can call on too.

What’s your workstyle?

Intense! In many ways, I work harder now than I did in my previous “high flying” job. I have a number of global projects and some days I can have a working day that starts at 6 am and ends at midnight because of varying time zones. When this happens I still work a 10 hour day, I just break it up into chunks with proper breaks in between to sleep, cook, exercise or spend time with my family. I like variety in the way I work so 2-3 days a week I work from a co-working office, when I work from home I often have the TV on in the background if I need to concentrate or if I really need some thinking time, I break out the ironing board and do some housework while I ponder.

Any advice for anyone else thinking about leaving the 9-5?

Just do it!

Any advice for anyone struggling to find their passion?

I would keep a diary for 3-6 months and note your daily ups and downs to see if you can identify what it is that you enjoying doing during the day and what brings you down. If like me, the prospect of budgets and finance has you reaching for the wine – the world of finance probably isn’t for you. On the flip side, I love business development and strategy so I focus my efforts on that and hire people to do the rest!

 

If you share our passion for flexible work, please share your thoughts in our survey here. With your feedback, we can lead the conversation in creating a better way to work. We truly believe that flexibility and freedom are essential to #lovewhatyoudo every day. Join us in the workstyle movement! ⠀

Fiona is the proud and only slightly competitive mother to “threenager” Max. In her spare time, she is a partner and head of the PR channel here at the Hoxby Collective, founder of communications consultancy Goadi Consulting Ltd and an advisor to pressure group “Pregnant Then Screwed”.

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