Nina Stobart – Communications & Public Affairs Leader, ConocoPhillips

ConocoPhillips Humber Refinery is lucky to have someone such as Nina Stobart looking after their public affairs. She is very passionate about her job and anyone who has ever met Nina, will know she has such energy and passion. She’s the type of person you want at your party to get it started!

Nina joined the petro-chemical company after being headhunted. She had previously been doing marketing and public relations for St Andrew’s Hospice in Grimsby. As she says it’s not the traditional route into the industry as many people normally have a degree, though it’s not essential.

From  day to day her job varies from producing newsletters, to employee communications to looking after PR for Killingholme and Whitehaven. She also looks after marketing in the UK, which is the petrol sales under the Jet brand.

Another area of her job is CSR – Community Social Responsibility – something which the US owned company is good at. Nina can spend time from painting community centres to helping out at homeless shelters, planting trees or painting children’s faces! The job is varied and is not the normal run of the mill PR, which is why she loves her job as no two days are the same.

Her skill base is varied – being good at communicating is essential – talking and writing. Having a good grasp of the English language and grammar is a number one priority. Another is having good people skills, as the job involves talking to a range of people from different backgrounds from children to royalty and MPs.

As far as degrees go there are some good communication degrees at Leeds and Manchester and the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) also offers some good courses and is especially good if your employers are willing to pay for you to do them.

Nina is actively involved in the community and whenever you mention her name, people always have a good thing to say about her, which is nice as PR people can sometimes be portrayed as the dark side!

You can listen to a podcast of this interview, though sadly Nina had so much to say and we ran out of time!! Don’t worry as I’m sure there’s a part two in there somewhere.

Nina Stobart with a group of students from Grimsby Institute

Lincolnshire Show 2011

HE delivery has finished; exam boards are over and we’re about to start planning for the next academic year. But there’s also time to fit in continuous professional development (CPD) and last week saw me spend two days at the Lincolnshire Show.

Day one I was presenting and reporting for Seven TV. All my interviews had been set up via Twitter. It was the first time I’d used it to such great effect to put the call out for the show. From the request I interviewed Jeremy Stock at Richard Austin Agricultural (@RAA_Labs) about their company and the role they play in farming. I also interviewed Andrew Shirley from CLA Midlands (@CLAMidlands) about the drought conditions and how it affects farming and the consumer. Their PR officer is a former broadcast journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay. He was very passionate about social media.

Day two saw me VJing and getting colour shots of the show – rain put a bit of a dampener on that. So in between dodging the showers I was tweeting from the @eastcoastmedia account about what was happening in the GIFHE tent and taking photos and posting them on there, as well as interviews. I did a podcast with Sean Wagstaff, SFX tutor about his course.

All in all it was an excellent two days and kept me busy and updated!

The I interviewed John Stobart (@UnrealGardens) about his unreal garden products – fake grass, plants – all ideal for the non gardener or those who are preparing for drought!

Social media guru Glenn LeSanto presenting the weather from the Lincolnshire Show

Interviewing John Stobart of Unreal Gardens at Lincolnshire Show 2011

Here's me interviewing John Stobart of Unreal Gardens

Working with Industry – ConocoPhillips

At East Coast Media we work hard as tutors to forge links with industry to give our students an experience. These links involve industry coming in to give talks or do workshops and in other instances it is to offer work placement opportunities. It’s important for education and industry to work together. It’s a two way process, at the end of the day these students could be the future employees. It’s an opportunity to have a say and help shape the training and development, so as education providers we get it right.

A recent link that has been forged for journalism students at FE and HE level, is with ConocoPhillips’ Humber Refinery. Their press officer, Nina Stobart, is working with second year National Diploma students on a press conference to take place next month. The students will participate in an emergency exercise and will test their interview techniques and professionalism.

Students will also be working with Nina on helping produce video content for their Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mayflower-Wood-Houltons-Covert/168804863163482. The refinery owns a wood – Mayflower Wood and Houlton’s Covert. This is a great opportunity to write content for a client and practise their journalistic skills. We look forward to working with them on this project.

Visit http://www.mayflowerwood.co.uk/ for more information.

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