Interview with Katie King
Ahead of TEDxTottenham on 1 November we spoke to Katie King, one of our speakers to find out more about how she felt about being asked to speak on the day.
Over the years I’ve seen lots of TED talks and I was really honoured to even be considered alongside the sorts of people who speak at their events.
Katie was born and bred in Tottenham, growing up on the 11th floor of a block of flats. One main thing dominates the memory of her childhood.
Spurs. That was really the central thing for me. We used to walk from my part of Tottenham all the way down the high road and as we walked and got closer and closer, more and more people would join the throng. That was a real community because it was a community around the supporters.
Katie’s day job is as Founder and Managing Director of Zoodikers, a PR and social media agency, which she set up after many years’ experience of working in PR.
My first role was a PR and marketing and communications executive for a big telecoms company and it was amazing. I totally landed on my feet. Within a few days of being there I was told I had to go over to Nairobi and Baghdad for trade fairs. My role was going with a box of telephone cables around to international trade fairs and standing up telling them how wonderful the products were. I helped to design the graphics for the exhibition, and write press releases, which we used to post out to the journalists; very old school, but exciting nevertheless.
Later Katie moved into working within PR agencies, before setting up her own agency
“Zoodikers is my second agency and it’s much easier. The first time round it was harder and scary, scary from a financial point of view, giving up a good salary, and all the comforts that come with the security of a big company. I guess when it came to setting up Zoodikers three years ago I wanted complete autonomy.I wanted to leave a legacy, which is something I’ll touch upon at TEDx. It was to be in complete control of my destiny to get some financial stability and to really be my own boss and carve it around my family.
And what’s Katie’s advice for people interested in working in PR today?
It’s very, very different today to when I started because everything is digital. So today it’s about getting an online and digital profile, before you even get on the career ladder. You may have to volunteer to get some relevant work experience and in order to do that you’ve got to show you’re passionate about it/ You’ve got to be the one creating the blog, and posting some really interesting things on Twitter and going into relevant LinkedIn groups. Things like that will make you stand out from the others that are trying to get on the ladder. Energy, proactivity, tenacity.
Katie no longer lives in Tottenham but has returned recently, setting up Project STEP – the Social Training Entrepreneurship Programme – which aims, by working with local businesses, to encourage young people to use social media for more enterprising purposes than just socialising.
I saw my children, who are teenagers, who are completely, intuitively using social media for fun. Then I saw the other end of the spectrum, executives using it, and being completely overwhelmed by it. I thought there was an opportunity to bridge the two. Young people need to be able to use [social media] for business, to get them on the career ladder and set up their own businesses. So I wanted to bring the two together for mutual benefit.
I’ve seen some really passionate business people from Tottenham who are prepared to give up their time, some amazing teachers and equally a really diverse range of students from Haringey Sixth Form Centre, who were just passionate and just want to put the work in and do well.
Katie’s TEDxTottenham talk will focus around similar areas (although we can’t give too much away).
I think more than anything I just want people to see that social platforms can truly can be life changing. You can use them for your businesses and reach out to anybody anywhere in the world. It’s empowering and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. It’s very accessible; don’t think it’s for the young geeks. It’s for people of every age.
The theme for TEDxTottenham is ‘Beneath the Surface’, and Katie talked about what that means to her.
I’m in PR and see the bad press so I see the length of time that it can take to rebuild a reputation. Because of some of the problems over the years, it’s been labelled and it sticks for a long time. But that’s not my experience of Tottenham, it’s an amazing community and I’m glad TEDxTottenham will help showcase that.