Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Thought Leader #3 | Lisa Pearson | #WIBA Nominee & Previous Winner

The Women’s Organisation Thought Leader Series is back with our third interview! We have previously spoken to Hana Awwad from Chocolate Envelope Designs, and Jennie Riding from Ancorra Environmental Services Ltd, and now, we were lucky enough to sit down for a chat with Lisa Pearson, Head of Marketing and Business Development with the HHL Group. 

The Women’s Organisation started this series of interviews because we wanted to celebrate those women who were really excelling, and making changes in their career. A Thought Leader, by definitions is ‘An individual that is recognised as an authority in a specialised field, and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.’ For The Women’s Organisation, these Thought Leaders are experts in their field, achieving in their careers, and successes in their business, and we want to talk to them about their views, thoughts and opinions.

Thought Leader #3 is Lisa Pearson, Head of Marketing and Business Development with HHL Group. Based out of the historic Edward Pavilion at Albert Dock, the Group encompasses leading personal injury law firm, Hampson Hughes Solicitors and the professional legal services firm, Cassell Moore as well as The Hampson Hughes Charitable Foundation. Lisa was the winner of Best Marketer at the Downtown Women in Business Awards for 2014, and was over the moon to be nominated again in 2015.

So, The Women’s Organisation sat down with Lisa to talk about the future of marketing, her career and what it means to be a woman in business today. Lisa has a lot on her plate, currently on Maternity Leave but still popping her head round the door to check in with her team of 8 to make sure everything is ticking along whilst she is away.

As Head of Marketing and Business Development, Lisa’s role is to develop & oversee how each company within HHL Group markets itself, ensuring anything put out in terms of marketing activity is ‘right’ for the individual company as well as for the Group as a whole.

Lisa Says; Obviously, there are different messages that need to be communicated in our marketing activity depending on which element of the group I am working on. My job is to work on the marketing strategy, develop opportunities for the Group and oversee the marketing process from start to finish – overall making sure that everything we do via our marketing generates new business’

She has been with HHL Group for 3 and a half years, previously spending 7 years in the Sponsorship & Promotions Department within the Commercial Team at Radio City 96.7 (part of Bauer Media)

It’s clear when speaking to Lisa that her time at Radio City made a huge impact on her career development. She says it is where she learnt a lot of her craft and the skills that have led to her being named Best Marketer at DWIB2014. ‘I spent seven brilliant years at Radio City 96.7, joining in 2004 as Sponsorship and Promotions Co-Ordinator, working my way up to Sponsorship and Promotions Manager. I really feel that I ‘grew up’ there and honed my skills. So many great things happened in my personal & professional life whilst I was part of the Radio City team, including forming a very close knit circle of friends who I still keep in touch with today’

But, after meeting Paul Hampson and John Hughes – the founders of Hampson Hughes Solicitors & HHL Group, an opportunity came up that was impossible for Lisa to turn down.
This was the opportunity to join Hampson Hughes Solicitors and head up their Marketing team, which at the time consisted of, well, just Lisa!

‘It broke my heart to leave Radio City but I knew it was time to move on. When I met John and Paul it was so exciting to hear what they wanted to achieve. These guys didn’t just want to take over Liverpool as the personal injury ‘go to’ firm - they wanted the whole country to know about Hampson Hughes! I thought ‘Right, let’s do it!’

Since joining in September 2011, Hampson Hughes Solicitors has gone from local to regional to national with its presence - taking over the country through radio advertising, billboards, social media campaigns, TV advertising, sponsorship of events, being involved in unique partnerships and producing quirky branded merchandise to name but a few marketing successes. 

Lisa says; ‘We’ve utilised every opportunity we can in terms of marketing platforms to promote Hampson Hughes Solicitors and we’ve become very well known as a result of this. I’ve watched the Firm grow into a huge player in the personal injury industry and I am incredibly proud of the role I’ve played in making that happen. In 2013, the Group launched Cassell Moore, which of course requires a completely different marketing approach because of its unique offering as a professional legal services firm. It has been really exciting to work on Cassell Moore from the very beginning – from its inception”

Now, as HHL Group continues to grow (requiring an office move to bigger premises on the Albert Dock in September 2013), Lisa’s family continues to grow too.She is currently on maternity leave following the birth of her second child in November last year but keeps up to speed with work, making sure emails are checked and responded to daily as well as spending time working in the office for a day or so each month.

For Lisa, something that she must always keep an eye on is the advancement and changes that the marketing world is constantly going through - in particular, finding new and exciting ways to utilise Digital Marketing in her activity. 

She says; ‘Everyone has really got to get their heads around digital marketing & using social media, utilising both properly. For example, it’s all very well having a Twitter profile but if what you’re putting out through it is not engaging, relevant or helpful then it’s not going to make an impact for your business. The way we now function day to day and consume our news and information means that everyone lives on their smartphones. We take in things differently than we did even 2 years ago, and as a business you have to make use of that opportunity. For the Group, it’s also massively important to learn from every single campaign we run with – the positives & the negatives. I am constantly assessing what worked, what didn’t, what can we do better next time, what haven’t we tried yet?’

During her time with HHL Group, there have been many campaigns and projects she’s worked on, some Lisa remembers more deeply  than others “Before we launched our first TV ad campaign for Hampson Hughes Solicitors, I had so many sleepless nights. This was about to become the biggest thing we’d ever done and I felt hugely responsible for the campaign, and the investment put into it. I’d been involved in everything from the creative ideas stage through to on-set filming of the TV ad itself. I remember watching the ad go out for the first time and then seeing new client enquiries coming through by email & text straight away. I slept that night.”

Another hugely important factor in her role is the reputation of the Groups’ brands and the knock-on effect this can have for future business. Lisa says; ‘We have a huge focus on our clients leaving us happy. We aim to ensure they have a positive experience from day one and would recommend either of our Firms to a friend, family member, co-worker or neighbour. If you have a good experience you maybe tell a few people, but if you have a negative experience, you’ll tell everyone you know. Our objective is always to deliver a positive one!’

From talking to Lisa, it’s easy to see how she has made such a massive impact on the HHL Group and how her tenacity and dedication to doing well has powered her through her career.

She says; ‘I am incredibly determined and I don’t remember ever not being. Starting on my career path when I was younger, my determination was fired on by my Mum as I saw how hard she had always worked for us as a family. Now I’m a Mum myself I feel a different kind of determination and my focus is on doing well for my children, hopefully to be an inspiration for their futures.’

For Lisa, grasping the opportunities when they arise, like her meeting with John and Paul back in 2011, is key to progressing. ‘I have one small piece of advice that I would give to anyone, regardless of the stage in their career or business, and that is to be open to opportunities and challenges - even if they seem daunting. This is your life and your career or business - if you don’t step up to these unique moments, no one will do it for you and something absolutely amazing could pass you by’

Amazing things haven’t been passing Lisa by, and as well as crediting her Mum to the success that she has achieved in her career to date, Lisa was lucky enough to have a business role model in her time at Radio City 96.7. 

Vicki Allison, now Station Director, has been a major influence to Lisa. ‘Vicki was a huge inspiration to me. When she came in to Radio City as Sponsorship & Promotions Manager in 2005, she brought a new way of doing things and a whole lot of positivity & creativity with it. She made me feel that I had her support and could and should push myself further in my career,  even  if the challenges I would face felt scary and uncertain’

And outside of her personal life, Karen Brady is mentioned again as an inspiration for business women with Lisa telling us; ‘She’s a Mum with an incredibly successful career and a great attitude to work and getting things done. To me, she’s a good role model - I have a lot of time for her. Closer to home, I am lucky to know some truly amazing women who inspire me – friends & family members who’ve decided to take a leap of faith and go it alone to forge a career out of doing what they love and doing it for themselves & their families. It takes guts to set up your own business and I admire anyone who goes for it’

Lisa Pearson is a woman who isn’t afraid to take that leap into the unknown, and has reaped the rewards of doing so.

 As we finish up the interview she reminds us of how important it is to pass the support forward, and encourage other women to do well; ‘Women need to support each other as much as we possibly can, acting as positive influences in all our lives and careers. Women are always harder on themselves than men are, and sometimes, you  have to remember to give yourself a pat on the back and say; ‘Yeah, I am doing alright…’ 

Lisa is also a Trustee of The Hampson Hughes Charitable Foundation, formed in 2013.  This year, the Charitable Foundation has chosen The Whitechapel Centre and ACSIL as it's nominated charities. Fundraising activities will take place over the year to raise money for each cause. 

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