What does it take to be a PR Manager? And can learning a language really have an impact on your career? Benedetta, Lingoda’s PR Manager, explains all in our latest “meet the team” series.
Hi Benedetta! Tell us a little about you!
I’m Italian, originally from Modena (you must have heard of it because of the delicious food!) but I moved to Berlin four years ago. I celebrated my fourth birthday just at the beginning of September! I chose Berlin since I was interested in tech and there was no better choice than Europe’s number one cultural and digital hub. I spent the previous years between Milan, Glasgow, and Saint Petersburg, both for study and work, I’ve always enjoyed exploring new places and getting to know new cultures. I can say that I am empathetic, I love actively listening to people and understanding who I have in front of me.
What does a PR Manager at Lingoda do?
When I joined Lingoda at the beginning of this year, I had the opportunity to start a new department. I found it a very challenging proposal and extremely exciting! My role is to communicate externally the brand’s identity and the company’s activities. My goal is to create and maintain the public image of Lingoda and raise awareness of the work of the company amongst our audience.
What does your typical day involve?
Since I started, my days have been very different from each other! It really depends on the projects I am working on. In general, I would say that a big part of my job is actively looking for journalists or bloggers I could get in touch with to pitch stories about Lingoda, whether it’s campaigns, partnerships, product updates or broader stories. I also spend time looking for activities that can bring authority and visibility to our brand, like awards or events relevant to our industry. Also relationship building is a crucial part, and I hope I will be able to attend more networking events once the current COVID crisis will be over.
What do you look for in a potential business partner?
When it comes to possible partners to work with, for example agencies or consultants, I would say that they need to have a great understanding of our core business, vision, and needs. When it comes to an outlet, I would say that the main criteria are its audience and the topics it covers. I would never propose a story about Lingoda to a magazine that covers the automotive sector!
How do you build relationships within the business?
My role involves close relations with management. I am working closely with our CEO, Michael Shangkuan, to shape the corporate narrative and find opportunities to tell both Lingoda and his personal story, which is extremely inspiring. Mike is a polyglot who speaks six languages. He’s travelled to 100 countries, lived in 8 countries across 4 continents, and now leads a team of over 100 professionals, who come from over 30 countries and speak over 40 languages. His story really shows that language learning is key to personal and professional advancements!
How do you work with the rest of the company?
One of the things that have become clearer to me since I’ve joined Lingoda, is that I really enjoy working cross-functionally, meaning leading and/or working on a project that requires the collaboration and common input of colleagues working in different functions. In my team, I work closely with almost everyone, the content team, brand, and the creative team. All my colleagues come from different parts of the world so it’s stimulating from a personal perspective as well.
Why did you choose to work in online education?
So far I have had the privilege of working in interesting industries such as tourism, transport, e-commerce, but I can say that this is the most meaningful role I have ever had! Every morning I read our students’ reviews on Trustpilot and so many stories are truly inspiring. Language learning enables transnational communication and empowers people to reach the next level in their personal and professional lives. I can’t think of anything more enriching!
How has learning a language influenced your career?
I would say right from my studies. I studied Latin and Greek in high school and I chose a university degree that was combining languages and economics, where I studied Russian for several years. I also studied French for several years, and Spanish too. I even started studying Hungarian for a few months! Ironically, I still speak and understand German very little. In short, I am very grateful for the open-mindedness that studying languages has given me. I feel that working in the language learning industry is a kind of natural progression for me.
Do you have any tips for someone who might want to pursue a career in public relations?
Certainly! To have a career in PR, you need to have a passion for storytelling and the ability to create mutually beneficial relationships are key aspects. But one fundamental tip I learned from a person I consider a mentor is that simplification is key, especially when you work in tech. If you are able to explain your job to your grandmother then you are on the right track!