8th March 2021
In celebration of International Women’s Day we spoke to two inspiring women from our Mailbox community and discussed their careers, current roles and achievements to date. Grab a cuppa, have a read and find out more from the BBC’s Beccy Wood and Sinead O’Herlihy from Harvey Nichols.
Beccy Wood interviewing Alexandra Shulman at Styled at Mailbox
Beccy Wood, TV presenter at BBC
How did you first get into TV?
I was working for BBC local radio in Stoke-on-Trent and had always really wanted to work in TV. I was lucky enough to get a three month attachment as an assistant producer for Newsround and it was the hardest job I’ve ever had, but very rewarding. When the job of weather presenter for BBC Midlands Today came up, I applied and I remember the interview so clearly. I bought a new dress and in the screen test, I was asked if I could remove my high heels. Kat who filmed it still works with me, and frequently takes the mickey out of me for it! I got the job, and the rest is history. I presented my first weather forecast in the dress I wore in my interview. It’s awful, but I can’t part with it!
What do you love most about your current role?
Every single day is different. I report as well as present. Some days I can be leading the news talking about a hard hitting issue, or I can be right at the bottom of the programme telling everyone about snow. It’s varied and challenging. I never ever forget how lucky I am to be there and I still get excited when I go into the gallery and see how TV works. When I craft a piece of TV I feel so proud watching it go out, knowing I’ve written it, I’ve asked the tough questions and together with the editor we’ve turned words and pictures into a story.
Do you have any advice for young people looking for a role in TV?
Never give up. I worked my way up from a tiny radio station, and I’m still striving now. I want to keep improving and producing great content. Work experience is key and I know it’s tough to get, but seek out something that others might have overlooked. When I was searching for work experience, I found a Sky News bureau that not many people knew of, I called them directly and got six weeks experience out of it. I think there is something super magical and captivating about television – so if you want it badly enough, don’t stop trying.
Sinead O’Herlihy, Press and Marketing Manager at Harvey Nichols
What was your professional background before you started in your current role?
I joined Harvey Nichols just after leaving university, and I have been here for 9 years now! I started as an events coordinator and now I’m looking after the press, marketing and events for the Birmingham store. Whilst I was at university I was lucky enough to do lots of work experience placements, from More! Magazine (does anyone remember that?!) to Propaganda PR. I also interned within events and planning fashion shows with brands such as Missguided and Flannels, which led me to my first role at Harvey Nichols.
What’s your favourite part of your current role with Harvey Nichols?
I love the family feel of Harvey Nichols and how supportive everyone is. We always find time to celebrate, such as our annual children’s Christmas party, with the REAL Santa Claus and lots of hyper children, or our infamous staff karaoke nights. In terms of my actual role, I’ve really enjoyed mentoring my team members, we’re really lucky to have such a fantastic and talented team. The work is really inclusive at Harvey Nichols, and there’s always the opportunity to share your opinion on wider projects across the company, which is great.
Do you have a memorable moment from your career so far?
Our fashion shows! We’ve staged quite a few over the years, in various locations. Think 16 models, hair, make up, styling, production, music, drinks, food, 600 customers, goody bags (and the less glam but really important bits, such as risk assessments). Inevitably, something always goes wrong – like the time we closed the Mailbox car park a few days before a show, but with two hours to go there was still a car parked in a space on the catwalk. That was not so fun at the time, but it was a relief when we resolved it. Fashion shows take so much planning but the buzz I get when it all comes together is incredible – events are definitely my thing!
What are you most looking forward to when stores are able to reopen again?
Seeing everyone! I’ve really missed my colleagues, business contacts in the city, and of course our wonderful customers. We have so many exciting new brand launches that haven’t had the love they deserve, from Fenty Skin to Chantecaille – I can’t wait to get back to planning ‘real life’ events, working with our amazing influencer contacts, and of course, having a sip of a nice chilled bottle of Harvey Nichols Prosecco.