Cathy McHugh: Gray Management Group

How long have you been in pr and when/why did you start Grays Management?

I have been in PR pretty much my whole working life in some capacity.

I’ve had at Grays Management for 13 years.

I remember when I was at high school and we had a questionnaire go around to determine what type of job you would suit.  I ticked off all of the things I liked, was good at and enjoyed and low and behold – my best suited job was PR.  The only catch was I didn’t want to go to Uni – I wasn’t a great student so I went straight into the workforce.  And fortunately for me I fell into opportunities and jobs in the media that led me to Grays – so I think to be honest I have always been destined for this type of work.  I just didn’t go about it the more traditional way.

I started Grays after having my first child – and it was all by accident to be honest.  My first job was working on McLeod’s Daughters as publicist which I did for around 7 years.  And during that time there were a lot of other opportunities in the market.

What keeps you motivated in the PR industry?

My motivation is determined by lots of different things at times.  The market is hugely different to what it was a few years ago even, so we are always changing.  Being smaller means being adaptable and responsive to the market and opportunities.

I really love who I work with.  Being older and somewhat wiser, I have made the conscious choice to work like an absolute dog for people or businesses that I believe in and genuinely want to see them succeed.  It’s a 24hour job at times and there is also a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to see a result – so you have got to genuinely love it.

What did your 20 year old self dream of doing in the future?  

The one thing I am disappointed with my 20 year old self was that I didn’t really have a dream.  I didn’t really pin point an idea, a thought and I didn’t have any concrete ambitions – not even to buy a car.  My life was one day at a time, leading into fun and adventure. However, I had a really good work ethic, I learnt on the job that I loved to work hard and I was good at what I was doing.  I also worked with a lady; Nicola Mills who really changed the way I worked and the way I thought about myself in business.  She was probably the first ‘business woman I had met.  She was ambitious, strong, worked hard in a “mans world” and was incredibly supportive and motivating.  She was really the one point in time that I stopped and thought – I could do this …

What is the most exciting experience/opportunity that has come your way within your business?

Running a business is probably the most exciting experience to be honest.  There have been a lot of changes and challenges.  Managing your personal life and children with a job that requires a lot of effort and commitment is a challenge also.  Although I think this is the first time I’ve found that balancing point and can genuinely say that the balance is working and I’m really energised by our clients and the opportunities we create with them.  Granted we’ve had some incredible jobs – working on a Bollywood Movie, Presenting and speaking in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore, meeting and knowing some incredible people and being able to weave in and out of our work lives at different points to work together again.

Best piece of advice for anyone wanting to get into public relations?

We have a lot of interns and work experience people come through our business.   Mostly because I like to genuinely give people an opportunity to really see what it’s like.  The perception of what PR is and the reality is often times very different.  PR is not as easy as giving away food, or ticking a box for a client with bloggers, or getting a piece in the paper – and anyone who wants to do that will have a short lifespan.  Because at the end of the day you need to provide results for your clients, be cost effective and show a return on investment.  So I think the one piece of advice would be – don’t put too much value on the input, don’t make yourself so busy and with so many pieces of paper that you are busy being busy – it’s the output that counts and it has to give a return to your client.  Turn your way of thinking on PR upside down and work backwards….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>