Welcome to The Collective Goods, a blog series that digs into the hearts, minds, and workspaces behind Reformation. Today, meet Claire Henwood, the cheerful, thoughtful account coordinator, who keeps our Vancouver clients’ social feeds up to date and our office full of ~chill~ Spotify playlists.
Name: Claire Henwood
Title: Account Coordinator
Lives in: Vancouver, BC
From: Wellington, New Zealand
Years in PR: 1
1. Quick – word association. What words describe you?
Cheerful. Focused. Thoughtful. Organized. Silly. Understanding. Nostalgic. Optimistic.
2. Tell us a bit about your career to date. How did you get into PR, and how did you get where you are today?
Accidentally on purpose? When I was younger I thought I was destined to be a journalist or a novelist so after taking a year off after High School, studying Communications was a natural choice for me. I completed my bachelors degree of Communication Studies at Capilano University in North Vancouver over 4 years, graduating in 2016 (finally). When I started the program I wasn’t entirely sure where it would lead, but from the beginning of my time at Capilano I knew I was in the right place.
I took my first Public and Media Relations class halfway through my second year and I think it’s safe to say I had no clue what PR was. On the first day our teacher actually explained what public relations was all about and described what it takes to succeed, shattering my existing perceptions of PR (which I realized had unfortunately been formed through osmosis from watching Samantha Jones on Sex and the City). After that class I knew public relations was something I had to pursue. I took every PR class that was offered during my time at Cap, and enjoyed it the more I learned. During school and after I graduated I did volunteer PR work for Dress for Success Vancouver, connected with mentors in the industry and over the last 10 months I worked at a non-profit in Vancouver providing strategic communications and PR support before joining Reformation this Summer.
3. In another life, what would you be doing?
I would probably be a farmer. I love being outside, and I think I would feel fulfilled by devoting my life to caring for plants and animals. I also have a strange obsession with putting my hands in dirt. If things didn’t happen to work out in my imaginary life as a farmer, I did always want to be a singer/songwriter. I didn’t pursue it in this life because I’m not sure anyone would want to hear me sing haha. Maybe I could meld the two careers together and be a singing farmer. Livestock and plants don’t tend to complain about your voice right?
4. Current Netflix addiction?
I’m actually a little mad at Netflix right now. I went looking for Mad Men one night, which is one of my alltime favourite shows and found Netflix Canada had removed it. I was so upset that I decided to get my ‘revenge’ by signing up for Crave TV (it was only the free trial, so I didn’t really commit – but still)! I binge watched Broad City, and now my boyfriend and I are making our way through Six Feet Under. So there Netflix! Just kidding. I actually have a lot of favourites still on Netflix, some of the Netflix originals I’ve enjoyed are Easy, Love and Master of None. I am also really looking forward to the next season of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm coming out in October!
5. Top social destinations in your city?
I live in Mount Pleasant so I’m often grabbing a coffee at JJ Bean on Main Street, having a slice at Don’t Argue, picking up a pint of ice-cream from Earnest or having a beer at 33 Acres. Sometimes, if I’m feeling ambitious (aka hungry) I hit all of those spots in one day. Another regular food favourite of mine is Sal Y Limon, I recommend the Pollo Pibil burrito – you will not be sorry, but you will be extremely full. When I’m not eating in every corner of the city I also love visiting homeware store Nineteen Ten, browsing clothing and footwear stores Still Life or Nouvelle Nouvelle and picking up all sorts of stuff I didn’t know I needed from Welks. You can also find me cruising the seawall on my bike, probably headed to Spanish Banks – exclusively to the dog beach. The dog beach is probably my favourite place in Vancouver. You can catch a beautiful sunset and, there are SO many dogs.
6. What is the biggest challenge in your role?
Staying on top of what’s happening on social media and online is a daily challenge. As an Account Coordinator I spend a lot of my day monitoring and posting for multiple brands. Content is becoming more and more digestible and I have to make sure I’m paying attention to conversations our clients should be a part of, and leverage those opportunities while they are happening.
7. Describe your workspace. How does your environment affect your work?
I like my workspace organized and functional – with something green nearby. I keep things tidy so I can put almost everything away at the end of the day, and start fresh in the morning. My only exception to this is plants. I need some plants, or something living around me when I work, but that’s also a general rule of thumb in my life. My house has become an ever-expanding jungle. I can often be found at Figaros on Victoria Drive on the weekends, where you will find me regularly adopting new plants. Plants are a good reminder that to grow and thrive, they need to be cared for and tended to – just like people do.
I’m also always far more productive when I work in a bright environment, with some good tunes playing in the background, which is why I love working in our Yaletown office. It has lots of natural light, and I am loving our new Sonos speaker, which is great for playing our team’s favourite Spotify playlists throughout the day.
8. Where do you see the PR industry heading?
Visual content is already taking over and becoming a huge part of social media management and digital marketing campaigns. Content is produced and consumed so quickly that the PR industry is constantly working to stay ahead of the latest visual trends such as video, and Instagram stories.
9. How do you define success?
I think I’ve only truly felt success in my life, after I’ve experienced failure. The hardest lesson I’ve learned about success and failure is that falling down happens, and to overcome it, you have to get back up, and try again.
So to me, I define success for myself, by never giving up or giving in to the gnawing feeling of doubt or fear and knowing that if I do that, I have the capacity to accomplish what I want, and it will feel that much sweeter when I do.
10. Share a little known fact about yourself.
I’m a floral designer by trade! I worked as a florist designing arrangements, bouquets and botanical installations for weddings, events, and every-day enjoyment for about 5 years while I was studying. I took my first job as a florist when I was 19 and luckily worked with the best group of women who taught me everything I needed to get my start as a designer. My specialty was giant bouquets, and my colour palette of choice was aubergine and sandy neutrals with a hint of rust. I would describe my design style as dark and moody, with a gentleness to it.
In my last job as a florist, I also taught floral design workshops which was both a challenging and significant experience for me. Sharing everything I knew about floral design with my students, and helping them learn practical skills to build their confidence was extremely humbling. When I first started teaching I was a little uncertain of the whole thing, unsure if I could possibly teach someone anything of real value. I could make pretty things, but I didn’t want to disappoint people, and waste their time. But the people who attended classes with me were so passionate about flowers, willing to learn and were genuinely appreciative of what I had to share.
My time as a floral designer was both a joyful and creative chapter of my life, and it’s definitely something I still enjoy doing when I have the opportunity.