How do you become the Director of Communications for Oxfam?
How did you get where you are today?
It’s hard to trace a logical path through the jobs I’ve been lucky enough to have. I guess there’s a theme of creative communications — and I’ve always been interested in the use of creativity to drive engagement for a positive reason. What it takes to make one person respond to another’s invitation is something I’m really curious about, and I’ve been lucky enough to find places where that curiosity and passion has been seen as important.
Tactically, I’ve always thought it was a good idea to work for people you like, and to be comfortable with who I am. Cheese, I know — but well matured, so full of flavour.
If you weren’t working at Oxfam, what would you be doing?
Dream job scenario: writing and playing music that people wanted to hear!
Realistic alternative: anything using creativity to connect people with the chance for us all to make a positive difference — culturally, politically, socially, educationally… interested in all.
What traits do you look for in your employees?
I never really think of people as my employees. I work for Oxfam out of a commitment to what Oxfam is trying to achieve in the world, so I guess seeing that in people is my privilege to employ these individuals is an important first step. Then the obvious traits like authenticity, balance, being grounded, comfort with team working — whether extravert or introvert, passion for their area of contribution, good sense of humour, likes walks in the rain and Rachmaninov… I’ll stop there.
What did your five year old self want be when you grew up?
An artist — or more accurately, a “drawer” — which reads like furniture, doesn’t it? But drawing things, however badly, is such an irresistible form of creating.
Who has inspired you in your career so far?
I’ve been lucky enough to work for dynamic, fearless, talented leaders: Mark Goldring at Oxfam (I have to say that, obviously :-)), Jude Bridge at Save the Children, Richard Marson at Blue Peter, Peter Salmon at BBC Sport, Ben Cook at Real Adventure but also worked alongside amazingly gifted craftspeople — programme-makers, digital experience designers, storytellers, musicians, film-directors and Blue Peter dog-handlers.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“If you want to make stuff happen, make stuff.” Richard Curtis — Comic Relief actually.
“Make sure it’s something you would want to watch, too!” Andy Harris, BBC Sport.
“You always work with someone twice.” Peter Salmon BBC Sport.
“Be nice… or you’re fired.” Jude Bridge, Save the Children (she didn’t say the last bit).
What tips do you have for comms professionals who want to move into the Not-For-Profit sector?
Be ready for a cultural shift. Organisations like Oxfam and Save the Children have their own cultural mix. Lots of passion, talent and vision shared, but also very different approaches between fundraisers, campaigners, humanitarians, policy makers and media types. The debate is fierce and the work can feel endless. People are lovely, but it’s not for the faint hearted.
You can connect with Jack on Twitter and follow Oxfam’s latest news by following @mrjacklundie