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Pushing my boundaries to grow professionally and personally by Suezelle D’Costa

What drew you to working at Hawthorn?
In 2018, I moved from Mumbai to London, and was lucky to find a job in public relations. However, my focus was not on crisis and reputation management anymore — something I hesitatingly put on the backburner while I diverted my attention to finding my feet in a new country. But three years later, when I came across Hawthorn, something clicked, and I finally felt like I could resume my career from where I left off in India.

I’m fascinated by the link between reputation and a company or individual’s success, and the impactful role communication plays. From my early interactions with Hawthorn, I got the impression that this is very much within the company’s sweet spot, and I was instantly drawn to it. I was (and still am) impressed by our people and the opportunity to learn from them all.

Here at Hawthorn, we don’t only have people who have been part of the communications industry for most of their careers, but also people who have crossed over from other professions. These include former journalists (print, broadcast, and radio), bankers, barristers, as well as those who have worked in UK Parliament. Why would I miss an opportunity to work with such a diverse and talented pool?

What makes working at Hawthorn unique?
There are two things that really stand out for me. One is the approach we take to addressing our clients’ needs i.e., we refrain from jumping in with recommendations but thoroughly assess scenarios before advising our clients. Second, is the encouragement to build our own networks. On a personal level, working at Hawthorn has pushed my boundaries, presenting new opportunities for me to grow both in my role and as a human.

Describe Hawthorn in three words?
Energetic, hard-working, and inspiring.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
This is something a woman I admire very much said to me a little over a year ago. She said “Don’t look at being from another country as a negative, or a flaw. You have what most of us don’t: experience working in different markets, with people of different cultures.”

This advice gave me hope and strength.

Suezelle in action with her choir group

Are there any quotes you live and work by?
You don’t need more time; you need more focus.
Fewer projects. Fewer commitments. Fewer obligations. Fewer responsibilities.
Carefully choose what you commit to, then go all in.
Shane Parrish, curator for the popular Farnam Street Blog

What advice would you give to someone looking to work in another country?
Don’t be afraid to respectfully point out the parts of conversations you don’t understand because of cultural differences. Believe me, your colleagues will appreciate the reminder and take you along. It’s also important to keep an open mind and value the local culture.

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