Leanne Fawcett is Managing Director of Peterlee-based LEC Communications and Design, which she launched in 2012.
Did you always envisage a career in the Media industry?
Yes, from a young age all I wanted to be was a journalist. I was fascinated by newspapers and used to cut out articles I liked – usually about celebrities – and make scrap books filled with them. I’d write my own stories and loved watching the news to see what was happening in the world.
I wasn’t artistic in the slightest – I’m still not – but I loved writing so I guess that was my creative talent.
What has been your career path so far?
After A Levels, I went to journalism school to sit the NCTJ exams, as I was in doubt I wanted to be a journalist. I could have gone to university but from speaking to people in the industry I knew that even if I did, I’d still have to gain this qualification. I was so keen to work, so sat the exams and by the age of 19 I’d got my first job.
I worked for five years in the industry, latterly as a business reporter at the Hartlepool Mail, before moving into corporate communications at One North East and Tees Valley Unlimited, now part of the Tees Valley Combined Authority.
In 2012 I set up my own business and nine years on here we are!
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
In the early stages of my career, I struggled with the exams. Academically nothing has ever come easy, it’s been down to hard work and determination, so I had a fair few resits. But I got there in the end which is what matters!
Who do you most respect in your industry?
Those people who understand business and are passionate about making a difference. I am lucky enough to work with some great people who I respect very much, and for me that is so important – surround yourself with the right people and you’ll be stronger for it!
Which fictional media character can you most relate to?
Olivia Pope in Scandal – I’m watching that at the moment and her role as a ‘fixer’, after she left the role as White House media spokeswoman, is one I would absolutely love to do. I’ve always loved crisis communications and she’s very good at it.
How have you adapted your business during the coronavirus crisis and supported clients?
In the early days of the pandemic, a lot of projects were put on hold and clients had to step back from their communications plans, which was tough. But I knew we’d get through it so it really was a case of allowing them the time they needed to manage their own challenges and being there for them when they were ready to start working again.
What is your greatest strength?
The ability to put myself in my clients’ shoes and really understand them; to use that understanding to write editorials that bring their business to life. I pride myself on the fact that what I write rarely needs editing by the client, which is a talent not many people possess.
What is your biggest weakness?
I have always been guilty of writing too quickly, which can be an asset but also a weakness. That’s why proof reading is key!
What has been your proudest achievement?
Having a news piece which I broke go international – I covered a story about an offshore off-licence being run off the Hartlepool coast, which sparked national and international media coverage and led to me being nominated for a regional journalism award. People still remember that story now!
What are your remaining career aspirations?
To continue to grow LEC and help our clients implement and achieve their own plans for growth.
How do you see your industry evolving in the next 10 years?
Coronavirus has highlighted the importance of digital marketing and media profiling, and that’s resulted in many businesses investing in things like their brand, website and profile. I expect that will continue for the coming months and years, with the continued growth of social media platforms as tools to support business profiling.
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