More about Laura
Laura Hawkins is currently working as a director of PR and Communications for a resort in the Maldives. Laura graduated from Nottingham Law School in 2007 and has had a varied and successful career. Laura shares her experience at NTU below.
What was your best memory of your time at NTU?
That’s so difficult to answer as when I look back on my years at NTU, I really loved every second of it! The social life at NTU is amazing and the city itself is such a fun place to live.
The girls I met on that first night in September 2003 are still my best friends fifteen years later! The friendships I made with those in my Law classes have grown stronger year after year, as we have supported each other through our careers and life’s adventures.
I really enjoyed my law degree from day one and just loved that I lived right in the middle of a cool city with so much to do. NTU were fantastic at organising fresher’s week and parties, events and special nights every week.
What was your greatest achievement as a student of Nottingham Law School?
Before starting at NTU, I had taken a year out and gone travelling to Australia. In my second year I applied for an exchange with students from Queensland University in Brisbane. There were only two spots available and I was awarded a place!
I thankfully did well in my classes, had some incredible adventures and made friends that I am still very close with today. I am always grateful that it was NTU that organised the exchange and gave me that invaluable experience of living in Australia at 21 years old, encouraging me to work, study and be totally independent whilst I was out there.
What did you enjoy most about your course?
The most beneficial aspect of my degree were the tutors that taught me. They had so much passion for the law, the case studies, the course that they delivered and so much energy and drive to support us. I will always appreciate that they were approachable and open and I always felt that I could go to see them with any query I had, especially Roger Sexton, John Tingle and John Hodgson.
Could you give us a description of your job role?
My current job is Director of PR and Communications at Kandima in the Maldives. We are a lifestyle resort on a 1.8-mile-long island. My job is to lead a team that promotes Kandima worldwide.
I arrange for celebrities and social influencers to come onto the island, as well as print and online journalists from all over the world to come and experience Kandima. A lot of the job is planning for these visits and then hosting them when they arrive, but we also have to look after all social media channels, write press releases, create cool content and I also organise many competitions which bring awareness to this new resort.
I started working for Kandima five months before it opened so there was also a lot of internal communications that needed to be set up and planning for our launch parties – one in London, one in Berlin and the largest here at Kandima. It was a huge task!
What route did you take to get to your current job position?
Well…it’s a long story! After I finished my Law degree at NTU my best friend from NTU asked me what my dream job was. It was always to be a barrister but I had also dreamt of being a TV reporter. He encouraged me to try this first, saying I could always go back to my Law. So after some apprehension, I applied for a Masters in Broadcast Journalism.
After graduating, I was a TV reporter / Video Journalist for British Forces News and my first two years were based in Germany. I then completed two 3-month tours of Afghanistan, reporting on the situation out there at the time. For seven years, I travelled the world reporting on everything from military training, court cases, welfare issues, the royal family, sport and stories of true inspiration.
After 7 years, I started working for an NGO in the Philippines. We were helping rebuild houses for victims of Typhoon Haiyan and I really enjoyed working on this small island with the local people. Whilst I was in the Philippines, I met a friend of a friend who asked if I’d like to be the PR Director of Kandima. I had never worked in hospitality, in the Maldives or officially PR and Communications but I thought I would give it a go and here I am, almost 18 months later!
What do you enjoy most about your current position?
Social media is our biggest tool as it’s so powerful, especially video, which is the king! Thankfully, that is where my job as a video journalist has come in handy. The highlights of this career so far is simply launching the biggest, newest resort in the country and within 9 months of opening, we had 92% occupancy over the festive period which was a big achievement for us all. Obviously living in such a stunning location with glorious weather every day is a big bonus, but it is the excitement I get from planning events for PR purposes, photo shoots or inviting great guests to come out here. Engagement is key – whether that be a big social media competition or identifying the right social influencer / content creator to come over and promote the resort as a fun, active, family-friendly resort, which is a place for everyone.
How did your course at NTU help with your professional career?
I learnt so much throughout my four years at NTU and I am so happy that it is the university that I choose to go to. I think my Law degree has helped me tremendously throughout my career as it shows employers that you are hard-working, have sound analytical skills, good research and people skills, good communication skills and overall you have perseverance, which is needed for all careers.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced in your profession?
With my TV reporting, the biggest challenge was time management. I would arrive at a story, find out what’s going on, conduct several interviews, film a piece to camera or do a live broadcast and then still have to script, write and edit a radio and TV report for both the lunchtime news and evening news. It could be extremely stressful but also very exciting, challenging and rewarding.
With my PR job, my biggest challenge is working out the best PR plan for the year. We need to see a return on investment for everything we do and it’s difficult to always know if the hottest social influencer you’re bringing to the resort, is really so significant and so influential that others will follow them and actually book!
Please could you tell us a bit about your daily routine at work?
Firstly I go to the management meeting at 8.30am and we discuss the day ahead. I will usually then go into the office to catch up on emails, social media and plan any future PR trips from journalists, bloggers or social influencers. I’ll often then have an arrival so I’ll make my way to the jetty to welcome any new journalists / celebrities.
Later on, I will take them on a site inspection around the resort that takes 2 hours and then take them out that evening for dinner. In-between, I will be in the office catching up with the PR agents that we have working for Kandima, going around the resort for social media purposes or coming up with new plans and ideas. I am often hosting until 1am or 2am in the morning – showing that the Maldives can be fun and it isn’t the sleepy place that everyone thinks. My day can be tiring, but it is a lot of fun, especially when you meet such interesting people from all over the world.
Do you have any advice for students considering coming to NTU?
Going to University isn’t all about the course that you study. It’s about the environment around you, the location, the mind-set, effort and passion that is put in by the staff, and the sport, events and activities you’ll have the opportunity to do outside of studying. NTU has all of these positive qualities and I would recommend anybody to choose it as a university. I would also tell potential students not to over-think or over worry about what course they choose. Nothing is set in stone. Times are not as they used to be, where you choose one career and stick with it, it’s now ok to change throughout your life time and take on new challenges.
My parents always said to me ‘what you put in, is what you get out’ and it’s very true. If there is something that you really want to do – then you can do it! You just need to put the effort, energy and time into doing it, studying for it, practising it! NTU is a perfect platform for any career that you may want to do.