Biz Extra

Published: April 30, 2020 | Updated: May 4, 2020

20 Questions featuring Darren Northeast, Managing Director, Darren Northeast PR Ltd

Darren Northeast: What do I look for in a new employee? Someone with a bit of spirit about them. Working in PR you can’t be a ‘wilting wallflower’!
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Each week we shine the spotlight on a member of Dorset’s business community and ask him, or her, for answers to our part fun/part serious questionnaire. This time…

He loves any kind of pop music, names Superman as his childhood hero, chooses Indian food as his favourite dish, says you can’t be a ‘wilting wallflower’ to be in his line of work and includes Absolutely Fabulous among his favourite TV shows (but please don’t judge him!).

Darren Northeast, Managing Director of Darren Northeast PR Ltd, takes the 20 Questions’ hotseat.

Question: What is your favourite TV show?

Answer: BBC dramas. Things like Line of Duty, The Split, Happy Valley and The Nest. If not, then Absolutely Fabulous and Sex and the City – but please don’t judge me!

Q: Who would you like to share a car with?

A: James Corden and any of the guests on Carpool Karaoke. I love those interviews. They’re so funny and James Corden is brilliant at whatever he does.

Q: The best bit of my job is…?

A: Working in PR I love seeing our clients in the media whether that’s on TV, radio, online or in the newspapers and magazines  Or when they go on to win awards and we see them bask in the limelight when collecting the awards we’ve helped them achieve.

Q: And the worst…?

A: I’m not a huge fan of spreadsheets, accounting and anything that’s remotely connected to Excel. But I do it if I have too. Luckily, I have a fantastic accountant who looks after all the complicated stuff for us.

Q: Who was your childhood hero?

A: Oh, that’s a difficult one. I would say Superman. I loved the Superman movies and I think I even had a bedspread with Superman on it!

Q: What’s your favourite smell?

A: Cakes and anything baking. Now, I’m not saying I’m related to Mary Berry in anyway – but I don’t mind knocking up the odd cake and biscuits at home in the kitchen.

Q: Where’s your favourite place in Dorset?

A: We’re so lucky to have so many great places. I do quite a bit of walking, and love Hengistbury Head. But we don’t live too far from Canford Heath so that’s a lovely walk all across the heath and Knighton Heath Golf Course. It’s really fab if you’ve not been on the heath before.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone starting out on a career?

A: Network and get to know people. Get your name out there by engaging with people and don’t just rely on emails and social media. There’s nothing that beats human contact and face to face engagement.

Q: What was your first record/CD?

A: Again, don’t judge me!  Boney M: Nightflight to Venus on vinyl and the Bee Gees: Spirits Having Flown album, again on vinyl!

Q: What gets you angry?

A: Unprofessionalism. There are companies out there that I see and how they go about business is really shocking. Oh, and people that lie as well. It really surprises me how some people cannot be genuine and honest about themselves. They know who they are…

Q: Do you have a favourite piece of music?

A: I’m a huge music fan, always have been. My favourite single of all time is Into The Groove by Madonna. I’ve always been a huge Madonna fan, and I’m a huge fan of pop music anyway. If it’s ‘pop’ then I’ll love it.

Q: What are the qualities you look for in a new employee?

A: Someone with a bit of spirit about them. Working in PR you can’t be a ‘wilting wallflower’!

Q: What’s your favourite food or dish?

A: Definitely Indian food.

Q: Steamed sponge pudding and custard or a plate of melon?

A: I don’t like sponge pudding so it would definitely be the melon.

Q: Name the best thing about living/working in Dorset?

A: Obviously being by the sea. But I would also say that our ease of getting to London, the New Forest, Devon and lots of green areas.  We’re also lucky to have Bournemouth Airport. It’s also good to have a good road network once we leave the town as well.

Q: If you were Prime Minister for the day what would be the first thing you do?

A: First of all I’d love to have a nosey around No.10! I’m very interested in both UK and US politics and have been lucky enough to visit the Houses of Parliament on a number of occasions. But if I was PM – I’d look at the way small businesses are funded and supported by the UK government and HMRC. After all small businesses are the backbone of the economy and employ 16 million people in the UK with 5.8 million small businesses and an estimated £2.2 trillion turnover.

Q: What’s your biggest frustration?

A: I see lots of people locally who say they are a PR specialist and they don’t know the first thing about what makes for a good PR campaign. It’s so much more than just writing a press release and getting it published locally! A good, fully integrated and strategic campaign should cover many different facets of a PR campaign and that’s far from just a press release here and there.

Q:  Where’s your favourite holiday location?

A: We do go to Poland a lot. That’s because I’m married to someone who grew up in Poland.  It’s handy as there’s no language barrier for me to overcome, and I don’t have to organise anything. We’ve travelled all over the country and we love it. We recently visited Singapore and Bali and fell in love with both. I also love anywhere in the US having previously visited New York, Washington, Chicago, Miami and Florida.

Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

A: I’ve recently celebrated a special birthday so my long-term vision is to be semi-retired in around seven to ten years!

Q: What would you like to be remembered for?

A: I know it sounds a bit twee, but I’d like to be remembered as being a nice, caring and supportive person. That’s the way I was brought up, and it’s important to me to carry on living my life in a similar way.