Inspirational Woman: Lucy Cording | Partner, Kekst CNC

Meet Lucy Cording

Partner, Kekst CNC

Lucy has more than 16 years’ experience in developing multi-channel, integrated communications strategies and is responsible for leading Kekst CNC’s global digital offer.

Alongside her broader corporate and digital capabilities, she has direct experience in helping individuals build their personal profiles and has developed and executed credible employee advocacy initiatives within key financial and corporate institutions.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’ve been lucky to have spent my entire career in digital communications.  I’ve navigated through the ever-changing algorithms, new emerging platforms (and demise of others), new data sets, new available insights – as well as data restrictions and misinformation and the rise of fake news. It’s these changes that have kept us on our toes as communications advisors and it’s these changes that have led me to genuinely love my job. I feel very fortunate to wake up every day and look forward to finding data-led solutions to the challenges and opportunities faced by corporates and individuals who are trying to manage their own reputations in an ever changing, digitally enabled, digitally driven world.

For the past six years, I have been at Kekst CNC, a leading global strategic communications consultancy part of Publicis Groupe. I am a Partner here and also responsible for leading the digital and insights expertise across our 12 offices. And so, while based in London (and a very proud Londoner), I work with various markets and cultures across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the US.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I didn’t have a pre-defined plan as such, but I definitely had a moment early on when I had a clear choice. I had the opportunity to apply either to an events role or a digital one and that decision was helped by a colleague in Boston who ended up being one of my first digital comms mentors. He taught me everything I knew at the beginning of my digital career, and it helped cement my interest in online behaviour, search engine optimisation, data analytics etc.

Since then, my career path has often been paved by influential people – in fact, mostly by colleagues who have inspired me directly or indirectly and helped to make decisions, be interested and ask the right questions.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Honestly, I am not aware of any major career challenges – which makes me either potentially naive or very lucky! But I do strongly believe that you need to have a level of responsibility in your own course of direction, and I’ve worked very hard to try to own that where I can. Even during times earlier in my career where I didn’t feel supported or my voice listened to, I was able to recognise it and put steps in place to acknowledge that a change needed to happen.

I also recognise that career paths should never be set in stone. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage and self-reflection to put changes in place. I once heard an impressive female CEO say that career paths aren’t linear, especially as a woman and especially if you become a parent. But that’s okay.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I am incredibly proud to be (and to be seen as) a senior advisor both to clients and colleagues. To be able to impart trusted advice every day and have an impact is what keeps me motivated.

In terms of a key moment? I was promoted to Partner in September 2020, in the midst of the pandemic and an unsettling, challenging year. I felt very proud of that achievement.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Having the right mind-set and specifically, being enthusiastic, passionate and motivated. You really do need to find the thing (or things) that give you that feeling of self-reward. Give yourself a goal of where you want to get to, but importantly give yourself a goal on how you will get there.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I take that responsibility seriously and have various regular, consistent touchpoints with female colleagues in particular, to help provide guidance where I can. I see these informal catch ups as a great opportunity for me to also listen and learn and to take feedback on ways of working.

Mentoring within the workplace should be a two-way thing. As mentors (officially or unofficially), you should also be looking to get better, to learn and develop. I think reverse mentoring is an underused approach in general.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

Better fertility education and accessibility. As a woman in my late 30s who hasn’t had children, I have spent a large part of my career struggling with making decisions and facing choices when it comes to managing the dynamic between motherhood and a career. Can women have it all? Can we have the education, the life experiences, the career, the family? In reality, I don’t know. But I do know that our choices could become a lot easier if we were able to also manage the tick tock-ing of our biological clock.

For example, If I had the option in my early twenties (with both the necessary financial and emotional support), to freeze my eggs, I think that the process of making life choices would have been different. The outcome may very well have been the same, but perhaps the journey to get there less pressured.

Egg freezing may seem like the extreme side of the scale, but I do believe that if we want to empower women and achieve gender equality then we need to talk about our fertility more openly and make options more accessible.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

To always remember the value of relationship building – networks, colleagues, clients, within the industry.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

At Kekst CNC, we are always striving to challenge the norm when it comes to the application of smart insights and data. This is an ongoing challenge that we set ourselves and something I am personally very passionate about.

If I can help contribute to our continued innovation and empower our global colleagues along in this journey, I will be happy.

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