How I got where I am today: Pauline Cook
Published: 30 Jan 2015
What did you want to be when you were young?
I was absolutely set on becoming a solicitor for years and years, probably as a result of watching some glamorous American TV programmes. However, when I was in secondary school, I did a week of work experience at a fairly well known Aberdeen solicitors firm and it put me right off that idea. However, when I studied journalism, I always achieved top marks in the law exams, so perhaps I have missed my true vocation.
What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?
I’ve worked in the media industry my entire career and prior to launching Frasermedia in 2007, which specialises in public relations and strategic communications and delivers training in media response and presentation skills, I worked as a journalist.
My journalism career began when I left school in sixth year as I was pretty determined to get some good experience and quickly secured a part-time job at Northsound Radio. That gave me a good grounding in radio, in the commercial side, as well as news and sport. After graduating in journalism, I went into newspapers, working for a local weekly title before securing as a TV reporter with Grampian Television, now STV. At STV, I quickly progressed to become one of their main news presenters for the six o’clock news and also presented a number of lifestyle programmes which were broadcast Scotland-wide.
Taking the step to leave my journalism career and launch the business was probably one of the biggest decisions of my life and although it was daunting at the time, it has been a great journey so far. The business was launched from a home office and we now have offices in Aberdeen and Inverness and a team of ten, which is ever-growing.
Are you scared of making mistakes?
Of course I am. But in business you must have the ability to take risks in order to progress in the right direction. Sometimes you can't be 100% sure and there’s always a risk of making a mistake, but if something doesn't quite work out, there’s always a way to make the very best of it and turn it into a positive. I’m a great believer that we need to make mistakes to learn in life, though I am meticulous in everything I do, which mitigates the risk. I do, however, tell my husband that I’m always right, so I can't possibly make any mistakes.
Who's been your greatest influence?
My parents have always supported me every step of the way and given me the courage to follow my dreams, whatever I wanted to do. Before I launched Frasermedia, I was really worried about not having any experience of running a business but my dad said: “So what? You’ll learn” and he was right…again! Even now, I sometimes need that bit of reassurance along the way and you can always rely on a feel good pat on the back from your parents.
What advice have you ignored?
Very early on, in my radio days, I was once told by a manager that they didn't think I could hack it in a newsroom. Needless to say, that immediately meant I had to prove them wrong. A few years later I was one of the main reporters and news presenters on STV’s flagship six o’clock news. If I hadn’t ignored that advice, I certainly wouldn't have had a successful broadcast journalism career or been running an award-winning PR and media business.
What do you want to achieve in the rest of your career?
Frasermedia is only in its eighth year and I have a lot of plans to continue growing the business and the team. We’re already working in Inverness and Aberdeen, so the Central Belt will be next on our target list for growth, and who, knows, maybe we’ll go international too. I’m not one for planning too far ahead in career terms as I like to keep my mind open to opportunities that come knocking, and not quite knowing what is round the corner is part of the excitement and drive.
What's your best career advice?
Always follow your gut instinct and do what feels right to you. If it doesn't feel right, walk away as there will be a better opportunity around the corner. And if you want something, no one else is going to get it for you, so stop procrastinating and start focusing on your goals and never give up until you get what you set out for.
Smile, be positive, be ambitious, be honest and always conduct yourself with respect.
What's your dream job?
I have two jobs that I dream about quite regularly. I have a serious obsession with shoes, so I’ve always wanted to have my own fabulous shoe boutique and I’d love to run a coffee shop as I think it would be a lovely stress-free, fun thing to do. Though I’m sure anyone reading this who runs a coffee shop will be literally laughing in their latte.