Meet the City Road Comms team: Hector Johnston Stewart
Hector joined City Road Comms in July 2021, bringing with him a uniquely varied set of experiences.
With a degree in Arabic and World Cinema from the University of Leeds, Hector lived in Jordan between 2017 and 2019, working in copywriting and communications positions. This was followed by a one-year stint with the Chickpea Group, an award-winning collection of pubs with rooms and pizza shops nestled in the South West, as its Communications and Logistics Officer.
Upon joining the agency last summer, Hector made an immediate impression. He progressed from Communications Executive to Account Executive after his first year with CRC, and already plays a key role in devising and executing PR strategies, liaising with clients, and helping in the onboarding and development of new team members.
A man of many talents – not least his ability to order for the entire table whenever we venture out for a team meal – in this blog Hector shares his views on PR and comms, life at CRC, and what connects Dolly Parton and Superman…
What attracted you to work in PR and communications?
PR was once described to me by a family friend as “law for people who don’t want to go to law school”. I’m not qualified to verify this, but I am sure that I didn’t want to go to law school.
PR is a wonderful melting pot of creative types from different disciplines, specialities and backgrounds, and I’ve had wonderful colleagues and mentors in PR and comms roles, both in the UK and abroad. I can’t say I entered the workforce already planning to end up in PR, (I fancied myself a humanitarian at first but swiftly realised I had neither the stomach nor the patience) but now that I’m here I’ve found a lot to like about it.
What do you enjoy about working at City Road Comms?
It’s great to know one has the full backing of your company, and I’ve never felt that CRC didn’t have my best interests and development at heart. Though colleagues inevitably come and go, I’ve always been surrounded by a warm and genuine team and am confident that future hires will fit the mould.
The nature of client-based PR means that one must regularly become an expert in new subjects at short notice. While sometimes overwhelming, it’s exciting to tackle a new topic and quickly bring oneself up to speed. Plus, I can pretend to know what I’m talking about at dinner parties much more often.
Describe your job in three words.
What’s the worst thing about working in PR?
Coming across an opportunity for a campaign or comment too late. With reactive commentary, speed is of the essence, and we can’t spend all our time scouring the media for every opening. Finding the perfect opportunity to promote a client after the event is terribly frustrating ¬– though there will always be more opportunities!
What website do you visit the most?
Genius.com. This has nothing to do with how brilliant I may or may not think I am, but in my free time, I love to analyse song lyrics in great depth and engage in the discourse of this nerdy little community.
As a short exercise, go away and take a song you’ve heard 100 times before and look up the lyrics on the site (in the biz, we call this a ‘call to action’). See if you don’t find out some interesting nuance or discover a lyric you’ve always misheard. They also have poems, speeches, interviews with artists explaining their songs – it’s a fun little site!
What is the last book you read or listened to?
Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney. Chaotic, moving and fewer than 150 pages¬ – heaven. Reading it, however, I couldn’t shake the feeling that my twenties have been rather tame so far. I still have a while left, I suppose!
Dolly Parton is the Clark Kent of fame.
She always wears enormous wigs, heavy make-up in public (even at night in case she needs to run out of the house in an emergency) and has always kept her residence and husband’s identity as a closely guarded secret.
When they go out together in public without her “Dolly” costume, nobody knows who she is. It’s like a magic trick to preserving her normal life. Well done, Dolly.
Hector Johnston Stewart
About the author
Hector joined CRC as a communications executive in 2021, having previously held PR and comms roles at companies in the UK and the Middle East. Since arriving at the company, Hector has worked with clients from the finance, tech, property and hospitality sectors. His responsibilities include liaising with clients and journalists, generating content, and working with the accounts team to provide input on messaging and strategy.Email