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Thomas Willis - Classics to PR

As I neared the end of a PhD in Classics and English literature at University College London, I began to plan my next move. While I enjoyed the solo research that comprised my doctoral work, years tucked away in old libraries left me seeking a career more imbricated in the world.

During my PhD, I spent 14 months studying at Yale University, where I organised a number of events and discovered that I enjoyed putting on and promoting them. On returning to London, I began hosting a reading series based on the readings I had attended on weekend visits to New York from Yale. Once again, I got a kick out of these buzzy, social events and found that I had a knack for publicising them. I found a mentor who tutored me in how to write pitches to journalists, and together we promoted the reading series further.

Through my master’s and subsequent PhD, I spent years reading research papers and literature, and turning these texts into sustained, coherent, and convincing writing. Separately, the thrilling results of working with a team to achieve tangible successes at the Yale and London events had also stoked my interest in events and publicity. These experiences combined to helped me turn my sights toward PR.

When I came across the role at BlueSky Education, I knew that it would combine my interests and suit my skillset. I spent my twenties ensconced in universities and have a deep admiration for the learning opportunities that they provide. While at Yale, I played rugby against several other American ivy league universities, including Harvard and Columbia, through which I gained exposure to a great number of business school students.

I am a devoted believer in the missions and work of universities, and I am proud that working in education PR allows me to disseminate the important work of researchers and academics.

When I came to BlueSky, I was attracted to the joyful and creative atmosphere in the office, and the passion my new colleagues had for their work. I was also immediately drawn to the people-focused agency culture, and BlueSky’s atmosphere of collaboration. I am extremely excited to learn at and contribute to the great work that BlueSky does.

Classics to PR might not seem like a natural path, but it is one that I am glad to have trodden.

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