As Development Director of BBC News & Current Affairs, Katie Lloyd (American Studies and History 1999) works to the Director of News & Current Affairs, setting strategy and direction for the BBC news teams and operation in the UK and globally. She is responsible for leading the flagship outreach project, BBC Young Reporter and she also devised and launched the BBC’s work educating young people about disinformation and ‘fake news’.
After graduating, Katie initially started her career in marketing before moving into PR and finding a passion for working for charities and organisations with a sense of social purpose.
Prior to her current role, Katie was Deputy Chief Executive of the charity Media Trust and ran a department overseeing PR, public affairs, youth media projects and an award-winning in-house film production unit. In 2018, she was one of 50 business leaders recognised in the Women of the Future inaugural Kindness and Leadership Awards.
She recently spoke on the alumni panel at Careers in Media and Communications, a Make it Happen 2021 event, to share her career journey, advice and tips for students.
How does it feel to be back at Sussex on the other side of the panel?
I was on my WhatsApp group with my uni girls last night and we were all just saying we can’t believe we’re old enough to do this kind of thing. It feels like yesterday I finished at Sussex!
How did you start your career?
It was always about building the idea of working from a really young age and I’ve done probably every job there is: I’ve cleaned toilets, done temping, worked in restaurants, pubs, and clothing shops. All those things really helped me understand what goes into running an organisation and the many jobs there are that become part of the culture and fabric of the organisation – and just how important every job is.
What was your big takeaway from Sussex?
It was the friends I made, without a doubt. I’m still in touch with them today. I have friends from Sussex who are now based all over the world.
I recently did a talk with the Chairman of Selfridges Group Alannah Weston about sustainability, and received a LinkedIn message from the guy I lived with in my first year of uni saying that he worked with her too. So you never know where your Sussex friends and colleagues will end up, and staying in touch with each other is so important.
Tell us about some common misconceptions about working in the communications industry?
The fact that you have to be born a confident person to get ahead in your career. I was really, really shy at school and university – I hated being asked questions in class and couldn’t speak up. Now, I’m doing presentations and big events three times a week! So I believe you can learn confidence.
[There is a misconception] that you have to be born a confident person to get ahead in your career… I believe you can learn confidence.”
American studies and history 20023
Which top tips can you share with students and recent graduates from Sussex?
- One of my top tips is to say yes to things. Any opportunities that give you exposure to different kinds of industries: just say yes to – and be curious.
- Secondly, go and meet people. I think one of the things that helped me is definitely the network that I’ve built over the years and the people I’ve met. You don’t need an exclusive network. Take advantage of your individual relationships including the people you know from university.
- My last tip is to get mentors and sponsors. They will change throughout the years, but they will unlock so many things for you in your career.
You can find Katie on Sussex Connect where she is willing to help with things such as an introduction to connections and answering industry-specific questions. If you aren’t a member of the Sussex Connect platform yet, then take this opportunity to set up your account now! The platform is the perfect opportunity to link with alumni such as Katie, find out about future events and create sustained meaningful relationships with the Sussex community.