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Employee Spotlight

Employee Spotlight Q&A: Zaid Haroon

December 11, 2023

Describe your time at BackBay in three words.

Engaging, empathetic and teamwork.

Why BackBay Communications?

A new era of geopolitical and economic disruption is under way, at a time when a fragile post-pandemic world could have benefited from greater solidarity. However, events of recent years have caused fractures in the globalized world, prompting companies to revaluate their long-standing positions in terms of what, with whom, and how they want to conduct their business. It is definitely a very interesting time to be in public relations. BackBay provides a great platform in this regard, as it sits at the intersection of geopolitics, global markets, technology, and climate change, which are all at the heart of everything that will determine the future.

It also provides constant exposure to various subjects and industries through its diverse client base, ranging from established financial institutions, to up-and-coming start-ups. This exposure not only enriches my professional expertise but also allows me to continuously learn and expand my knowledge in various domains. I enjoy the fact that working in public relations provides me with the opportunity to work with world renowned clients, to promote their unique and powerful stories, and to support the growth of the world financial system in a sustainable manner.

BackBay, without a doubt, has an incredible culture; we are a close-knit organization in which everyone contributes and brings their own unique views and skillsets to the table to work towards the collective goal of achieving success for our clients. I have learned so much about myself in this process and feel extremely grateful, daily, to work for a company that encourages me to grow, learn and be part of change.

What made you want to join the public relations / communications industry?

I consider myself extremely lucky and privileged to have been exposed to the world of public relations, communications, and, to a great extent, journalism from a young age, as my family has been in this industry for decades. This, in turn, made me into a natural ‘news junkie.’ My curiosity always drove me to question things that were taking place around me, and I would happily share my thoughts and ideas with others, whether they be friends, colleagues or even acquaintances. Ultimately, this industry and the path that I was following was very clear to me.

I have also always had a passion for reading and a knack for business development, and, holding true to my public relations roots, I still feel a sense of excitement each time I secure a great piece of coverage for a client; the satisfaction of witnessing a client being a part of a good story to a global audience is truly exhilarating.

What do you like best about media relations and what should one be aware of going forward?

In my experience, at its core, media relations is the practice of developing strong relationships with journalists, editors, producers, and other media professionals to help them get their stories out there in a reliable, insightful and timely manner. In this regard, in an ever-growing competitive and unpredictable world, being able to consistently provide high valued media opportunities for our clients to share their stories on global media platforms to influence world changing decisions is the best contribution for me to do good in my own way.

Media relations also helps to boost our client’s credibility in several ways; as an example, when a credible journalist quotes a client or features them in a story, it provides third-party validation, which is a great measure to establish a client as a credible source of information and as a respected thought leader.

It is also important to recognise that media relations is a continuously evolving landscape, much like the world around us. The speed at which it is unfolding is rapid especially the role of AI, and as we head into 2024, it is going to get even bigger as it continues to impact every facet of our lives. Therefore, while the world has become more connected due to exponential technological advances in a short span of time, it has also become even more disconnected and full of misinformation. This, in my humble opinion, is something that we, in the media relations industry, should always be cognizant of, going forward.

What did you want to be while growing up?

Truth be told, growing up, I experienced different phases in my life in terms of what I wanted to be, however, at the core of all my plans, I had always wanted to be a foreign minister, despite having worn many different hats in various MNC’s around the world over the course of my career. I have always been very passionate about international affairs but as I grow older, I realize that it is a lot more complicated than I had originally envisaged. Having said that, a strong desire to support a better and cohesive world for all has always been at the forefront of my mind.

What do you like to do when you are not in the office?

My day begins with at least one hour of catching up on the latest current affairs, general and financial news from multiple global and diversified sources from around the world. This has been a habit of mine from an early age, due to my family’s background in media and politics.

I also enjoy swimming and being out in nature, however, I absolutely love to travel to experience diverse cultures. I see the world as is, rather than what it may be perceived to be, and that has taken me to visit 45 countries, with an aim to visit a total of 75 countries by 2030. As brilliantly quoted by Gustav Flaubert – “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.

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