I didn't get where I am today... without believing anything is possible

Jackie Cooper, global chair of creative strategy at Edelman, tells Kate Magee how she got to the top.

Jackie Cooper: Global chair, creative strategy, Edelman
Jackie Cooper: Global chair, creative strategy, Edelman

I had a terrible education. I didn’t go to university and most of the big agencies wanted graduates. But now I’ve had a long career in PR and am still staggering my way through corporate life.

A small agency gave me a chance despite the fact I didn’t have a degree and I repaid it in abundance. Having a passion for the job is what has really helped me and counterbalanced my education.

The wonderful thing about the industry is that it gives you a route to do well even if you are a bit different. Clients need you to help them think laterally, have an awareness of what is going on and use your intuition.

Problems are actually opportunities. We should be thinking about solutions, not communications. You should not be intimidated if things do not seem to be going right. It’s an amazing opportunity to fix it and that’s really good for your brain.

The best piece of advice I received came from my dad: you have one mouth and two ears. If you listen, the way forward becomes very clear. PR people do not listen enough; they always feel they have to stand up and speak.

I have also always surrounded myself with people who are brilliant. If you let them fly, you fly too. I’ve got where I am today partly by kismet, but also by having the belief that anything is possible.

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