Ben Skipper, account director at Bastion, tells us the upward trajectory of his move from journalism into PR, and how different perspectives are important.
What is your job role and how would you describe your typical day at work?
As an account director I oversee the long term health of my accounts, working with my account teams and maintaining close contact with clients, often discussing future plans and scoping out upcoming work. I also work on pitches for new business and help shape Bastion’s internal processes and strategies for growth. A typical day in the office is a mix of internal and external meetings, strategic planning and carefully timed coffee breaks and raiding the other floors of our office space for the best snacks.
What qualifications and/or experience do you need to land your job?
I studied journalism at Kingston University way back and moved into the field after graduating. I started out covering TV and film, but still covered a broad range of topics. At my first full-time position I eventually joined their tech desk to build a gaming section, which is where I found my most success on the press side. After deciding to switch career paths, my experience as an editor got me in the door as an account executive here at Bastion. Over the nearly five years since I’ve moved up the ranks, but for someone coming in at this level a few years’ experience as an account manager would be crucial, as well as proven skills in team leadership and strong people management.
If you were interviewing someone for your team, what would you look for?
For an entry position, experience is really secondary to the candidate’s attitude and enthusiasm for the business – whether that’s the PR business or the video game business. For positions that do require a certain level of experience, that’s what will get you to the interview stage anyway. So, while we will explore that further in an interview, we’re also looking to establish an idea of who the candidate is and how they might gel with our team. At Bastion we’re now a team of 20+, and we all get along incredibly well, so maintaining that positive culture and working environment while also bringing in new people with differing experience and perspectives is very important.
What opportunities are there for career progression at Bastion?
There’s nothing to stop anyone who joins the team from moving up the ranks here at Bastion. I have, but the best example is our managing director Ravi Vijh, who first joined the team as an intern 12 years ago. The training and development of staff has always been core to the business, but now we’re a pretty sizable agency. It is one area our new group director Jo Cooke is looking to evaluate and strengthen in 2023 to ensure we’re doing all we can to support everyone who walks through our doors.