Interview with Tara

Interview with Tara

1. Please could you introduce yourself and talk about your journey so far at Madano? 

Hi! I’m Tara, I’ve been at Madano now for four years. I started straight after university as a Research Executive and now I’m a Senior Research Manager. I started this role not really knowing what to expect and so tried to experience all the different areas of research, for example, from more traditional qualitative interviews to data science.  

Over the years, I’ve developed the skills that glue together both the data science side and the more traditional research we do in the Insights team.  

2. Congratulations on the AMEC Award recognition for Young Professional of the Year. How did you feel when it was announced that you were Highly Commended by the organisation for this prestigious category?

At Madano, we’re often recognised and celebrated for the good work that we do, but to see the recognition from an external organisation – that was really special. It definitely made the hard work and dedication worth it. I really felt honoured to receive this award.  

3. You were also involved in the project that won Bronze for the Innovation Award by the AMEC. What are your top tips for managing and seeing through award-winning projects? 

The most important thing is identifying opportunities to grow and innovate, rather than sticking with what’s been done before. Also, working closely with the client and having them not only on board but excited about the journey is important. You want them to feel like you’re going on a journey with them, and they’re involved in the entire process. 

Getting the right team together definitely helps, as we can motivate each other to think outside the box. Seeing it as a team effort rather than the person managing the project steering the direction and outcome is important. 

This is a great aspect of Madano’s culture. We encourage everyone to contribute, regardless of your seniority, because there’s really no hierarchy when working on a project. Being bold enough to take risks, ask questions, and share your ideas is part of the reason I was able to move into a managerial role so quickly. 

4. Speaking of which, you’ve recently been promoted to Senior Research Manager – your third promotion in the last four years you’ve been with us. What project, moment or activity has really stood out to you so far? 

Our work with the ECF was really interesting and enjoyable. It gave us the opportunity to take a creative approach to analysing large amounts of publicly available data. Ultimately, this helped inform ECF’s overall communications strategy, helping it effectively target different audiences. It was an extremely interesting topic area, and this project was where I also fell in love with segmentation, which is something I do a lot of now in my work. 

5. Finally, what advice would you give to those who want to pursue a career in insights? 

Always say what you think and speak up about your ideas. Don’t be shy when you’re in a meeting. Get involved in everything so you can figure out what you’re passionate about. Once you know what you like to do, you can then specialise. I like to think of it as two possible paths: specialising your expertise in a methodology or leading/managing a team. Both are great and really interesting roles.   

Enjoying your job is so important as it gets you to where you want to go. Remember, though, that you don’t have to do it all by yourself. I encourage you to rely on the people around you for support because they will help you get to where you want to be. 

 

Mother’s Day 2022

Mother’s Day 2022

Dear darling commute, 

A week ago, a female friend of mine said she dropped her child off at nursery at the same time as another parent and ended up doing her whole commute to work with this dad whose office is near hers. The utter horror. I can think of no greater (legal) infringement of my boundaries than this. 

No one gets between me and my commute. Call it new love (thank you covid) but my commute on the sweaty, crowded, aggressive Northern line, is the highlight of my day. The last thing before I think about at night is my commute. I wake up and spring out of bed for my commute! 

“Why?!?” I hear you yell at this blog post! Well, it is the only time in my day when I don’t have a small child demanding my time and love. Where I don’t look at a pile of laundry to be done or even have the internet connection to order children’s clothes. And I’m not at work. So, there’s no fretting over a client’s email, or drafting a document for a briefing.  

It’s MY time. It’s time to listen to a funny podcast, to do my codeword puzzles, to read my trashy yet fascinating book. I could even sit/stand there and stare into the middle-distance dreaming of the glass of wine that awaits at the end of a long day. I can do WHATEVER I want. 

That is why, commute, I love you. I just thought you should know. 

Love, 

Chloe  

AKA the exhausted mother of two you’ve been seeing for a few months now 

 

Madano Analysis- Spring Statement 2022

Madano Analysis- Spring Statement 2022

Spring Statement Analysis 

The Chancellor announced several measures of note in the Spring Statement, detailed below:

The Spring Statement comes at an acute time for the Chancellor due to the rising cost of living which is set to continue throughout the year. While largely driven by factors beyond the Chancellor’s control, particularly global shortages in key commodities as a result of the war in Ukraine, the cost of living crunch has led to political pressure to take action to reduce the impact on consumer costs.

In responding to this challenge, the Chancellor’s immediate actions are to raise the threshold for paying National Insurance immediately to £12,750 (although not delaying the increase), and a 5p per litre cut to fuel duty. In an effort to burnish the Chancellor’s credentials as a ‘tax-cutting’ Chancellor he also announced publication of a tax plan outlining the Government’s overall commitment to taxation policy and committed to cut income tax in the 2024 Spring Statement. He also announced immediate removal of VAT from energy saving materials.

Additionally, the Chancellor also indicated he believed increased productivity would be essential to long-term growth, and targeted the growth of high-tech, knowledge intensive activity. Today, he announced changes to R&D tax relief and promised further improvements to incentivise private sector spending on R&D in the Autumn, such as Solvency II reforms.

Beyond this, there were few announcements in terms of new or changed departmental spending.

The Shadow Chancellor argued that the Spring Statement was disconnected from the reality of the economic situation, highlighting in particular the Labour Party’s call for a windfall tax on oil and gas producers.

Overall, with inflation due to average 7.4% this year, and peak at over 9%, it is not clear if the Spring Statement is going to prove to be a sufficient response to this challenge – particularly for businesses, which benefit from few of the immediate measures announced. More action to help businesses with energy costs will reportedly be in the forthcoming energy security plan, which may ultimately prove to be the more consequential announcement.

 

Specific Announcements 

Energy, infrastructure and the environment

  • Fuel duty will be cut by 5p per litre until March 2023, taking effect immediately.
  • For the next five years, homeowners having energy saving materials installed (such as solar panels and heat pumps) will no longer have to pay any VAT.
  • Further measures to reinforce long-term energy security will be announced by the Prime Minister in “the coming weeks”. This will include measures across hydrocarbons, nuclear and renewables to support energy resilience and security while delivering affordable energy to consumers.
  • The Chancellor confirmed the Government will proceed with its previously announced package to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices, including a reduction to council tax for most homes and a loan scheme which will reduce energy bills this year by £200 for each household.

 

Investment, R&D and Technology

  • R&D tax relief will be extended to cover pure mathematics and cloud computing, with the aim of specifically growing sectors like the UK’s AI ecosystem.
  • More broadly, he committed to make R&D tax credits will be reformed, and made more generous, though without much specification.
  • He announced that some overseas R&D activity would also now be eligible for relief, providing it met certain criteria on its necessity.
  • The government is continuing the review of R&D tax reliefs and further announcements will be made in the autumn.

 

Skills

  • The Chancellor confirmed the Government will “consider” whether the Apprenticeship Levy needs to be reformed to incentivise business investment in training and skills.

 

Taxation

  • The Chancellor announced publication of a Tax Plan outlining the Government’s overall approach to taxation policy.
  • He reiterated that the increase in national insurance will continue, but announced that the threshold for employees (though not employers) paying national insurance will be raised to the same level as income tax, £12,570 per year.
  • He also pledged to cut income tax in the Spring Statement in 2024.
Michael Evans included in PRWeek’s Power Book 2022 for the sixth consecutive year

Michael Evans included in PRWeek’s Power Book 2022 for the sixth consecutive year

Michael Evans, our Managing Partner, has been included in PRWeek’s Power Book for the sixth consecutive year. PRWeek’s Power Book is the “definitive guide” to the most respected and influential British PR professionals.

You can see Michael’s entry in the Power Book and read his interview questions here.

 

Madano is committed to building a better world through intelligent and creative communications. We work with clients who are taking on major challenges of our time through innovation and creative thinking – helping them tell their story, make the right connections, change attitudes, and influence behaviours.

To find out how we can work with you to shape your organisation’s future, please get in touch for a chat. And if you’re interested in joining the growing Madano team, check out our current vacancies here.

British Science Week: Preetam’s Journey into Communications

British Science Week: Preetam’s Journey into Communications

This week the UK celebrates British Science Week – an event created by the British Science Association to showcase all things STEM. As well as providing educational resources and activity packs for schools, British Science Week is also smashing stereotypes about science.

 

At Madano we’re proud to work with some game changing clients in the field of science, engineering and technology. Preetam recently joined our Healthcare team and he tell us about his journey from studying science to working in communications within a scientific field.

 

What was your experience of science at school?

In school, science was mainly a subject that I used to do to get good grades and get to the other end! It was only during A-Levels where I got more involved in science – joining in during open days, tutoring younger students and discussing different news with teachers. I do think as a subject, it was hard to really enjoy what we learn in school. A lot of it was just reading a textbook and studying the marking scheme for exams. University does a much better job of making science exciting, but unfortunately, I feel at that point a lot of students don’t want to take it further.

 

Why did you decide to study Neuroscience at University?

Mental health has always been an interest of mine. I am a strong advocate for mental health and ensuring people treat it the same way as their physical health. During school and university, I saw friends and family suffer and went through dips myself, particularly during university. It was here where I thought to myself that this is an area that I feel very passionately about and one that I want to help in any way that I can. So, when it came to my undergraduate dissertation and my master’s degree, it was clear to me that I wanted to go into neuroscience areas so that I could help in the way that I enjoy; behind the scenes and researching.

 

Were you inspired by anyone or anything specifically?

I have never really considered being inspired by any one person, but I do think some of the passion comes from my sister. She is a pharmacist and used to come home with stories about how she ensured her patients got the help they need. She also used to express her joy when patients would thank her for helping and providing them with their quality-of-life changing medication. That feeling of helping people is a big thing in science and that’s something that I feel quite strongly about.

 

British Science Week has ‘smashing stereotypes’ as one of its themes – are there are science stereotypes that you have encountered in your own science journey?

One of the biggest stereotypes is that scientists are boring, and they don’t do much outside of research but that’s a very big lie! From my time in university, I met plenty of lecturers who have done plenty outside of the lab: one has a published poetry book and owns a vineyard back in Italy, another has climbed many of the mountains in the UK. When I was in university, he had plans to extend that list abroad. I would say that scientists are a lot cooler than some may say or think!

 

What was it like working in a scientific field (pharmaceutical)?

It was great to see how a pharmaceutical company works from the inside. Apart from the laboratory work, seeing how all the other departments work together; medical, marketing, research, and development etc. was really interesting.

As part of the Competitive Intelligence team, my main day-to-day work was observing competitors who were bringing generics (medications using the same active ingredient as ours) and how they brought them to market. I also monitored the market and determined what the company could do to “combat” issues and maintain being the company with the widest reach.

 

What made you decide to use your science background to work in communications?

I’ve always had an interest in research, publications and medical editing and being at the forefront of breakthrough science and novel medications, in whatever way I could. At first, I was unsure about what my career path would be, so I put myself in a position where I was able to try things out and see what felt right.

My undergraduate degree was very broad. For my Masters, I wanted to specialise in a particular area (neuroscience). My Masters was completely laboratory based which showed me that working in the lab was not for me and I really didn’t enjoy it!

My job in pharmaceuticals showed me the difference side of communications, one that taught me a range of skills (client based and content creation) that I used to get the role I’m in now. Madano is the perfect blend of communications + client facing roles, alongside working with ground-breaking science companies that will innovate the medical world!

 

What are you most excited about working in communications?

I’m excited to learn! I see every opportunity to learn new things and develop as a person both outside of work and in work. I’m also very excited to work on the accounts in the company and help bring interesting and innovative science to the public, to continue developing the medical world and progressing. I’m also excited to meet many different people who come from all different backgrounds but managed to arrive at the same place as I am, working in communications. I’m excited to see where the role takes me!

 

Any advice for buddying scientists?

I would say the best advice I can give is that your degree doesn’t necessarily dictate what you do as a career. The science you learn is a great base to build upon, but I think the most valuable thing to take away from university is that all skills are transferable. No matter what the skill is, if you can relate it to a skill within a description for a job, you can really apply for anything that you really want to do. Of course, if the role is something very specific getting a little bit of experience there will help but transferable skills are extremely valuable!

 

Madano is one of the UK’s leading strategic communications consultancies. We simplify complexity within highly regulated sectors, primarily in energy & environment, technology, and healthcare. To get in touch with our healthcare team, email us at madanohealthpractice@madano.com or check out our current healthcare opportunities here.

What is International Women’s Day?

What is International Women’s Day?

The 8th of March marks International Women’s Day – a day for celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness against bias and taking action against inequality. This year’s theme aims to #BreakTheBias 🙅🏻‍♀️🙅🏻‍♂️ against women in our communities, workplaces, schools, and society. Even today, prejudice against women continues to represent a significant challenge to gender equality. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, it is estimated that gender equality will not be achieved for another 135 years.

 

At Madano, we are taking International Women’s Day as an opportunity to remember how far society has come in campaigning for gender equality. Below are some key milestones in British Women’s History:

 

Timeline UK:

  • 1918: Following the British suffrage movement, women won the right to vote (if they met the criteria of owning a property and being over the age of 30).
  • 1918: Irishwoman Constance Markievicz became the first women to be elected to the House of Commons – but refused to take her seat in protest.
  • 1928: All women ages over 21 were given voting rights.
  • 1952: Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne and is the UK’s longest-reigning monarch.
  • 1961: The contraceptive pill for married women became available on the NHS, it was later made available to single women in 1967.
  • 1979: Margaret Thatcher was elected the first female Prime Minister of the UK and was the longest serving British Prime Minister of the 20th
  • 1991: Helen Sharman became the first British Astronaut.
  • 1999: Women were legally entitled to 18 weeks unpaid maternity leave, whereas maternity leave varied depending on length of service in previous years.
  • 2017: Nearly 20 per cent of small businesses in the UK are female owned – increasing to 30 per cent in 2020.
  • 2021: The gender pay gap between men and women dropped to 4 per cent, and women on FTSE boards increased by 50 per cent in five years.

 

International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s and celebrated in the UK since 1977. The historic event commemorates its 45th annual event this year. It is undeniable that much progress has been made towards a more gender-equal world, though we still have a long way to go to achieve gender parity. It is important to continue to champion for gender equality beyond March 8th and remember that we can all make a positive difference for women across the world.

 

Join us as we aim to #BreakTheBias in our workplace, champion women’s voices and celebrate our women colleagues this month.

 

International Women's Day

Madano colleagues supporting IWD with the #BreakTheBias pose.

 

 

Further resources:

 

2016 Fawcett Report

GOV.UK Research and analysis: Gender equality at work: research on the barriers to women’s progression

World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2021

The Fawcett Society

Helen Bamber Foundation

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