PRoust Questionnaire: Heather Yaxley
The PRoust Questionnaire provides a quick insight into a public relations practitioner’s interests and point of view, as well as their professional beliefs and values. If you are not familiar with the original 19th-century Proust Questionnaire, please see details at the end of this post.
1. What is your most striking characteristic as a PR practitioner?
I hope I have a reputation for being helpful
2. What is your principal fault as a PR practitioner?
Being too helpful
3. What is your favourite occupation in PR?
Writing about something new to me
4. Why do you work in PR?
Because I’m a sado-masochist with a sense of humour
5. What is your idea of PR nirvana?
A CEO who welcomes my advice
6. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery in PR?
Doing table plans and name badges
7. What qualities do you most admire in a PR practitioner?
8. What qualities do you most dislike in a PR practitioner?
9. Who would you describe as a PR hero or villain?
I can’t stand PR bullies or liars – but I have a soft spot for Mark Borkowski’s brand of creativity
10. What do you most value in your professional contacts?
11. Have you ever been influenced by a PR campaign?
I feel I owe it to the suffragettes to exercise my right to vote
12. Where would you most like to practise PR?
13. Has a novel, film, play or other work of fiction ever influenced you as a PR practitioner?
I think Orwell’s 1984 highlights the real dangers of PR as propaganda and especially rewriting history
14. Who do you think has great public relations?
15. Which real, historical or fictional person or brand would you like to give a reputation makeover?
Wile E Coyote
16. Who is your favourite writer?
Charles Dickens – great characters, engaging stories and a social conscience. And, I was born in Great Yarmouth, which Dickens features in David Copperfield and is quoted as describing as “the strangest place in the wide world“.
17. What one thing is essential to your PR life?
18. Groucho Marx is quoted as saying he’d never join a club that would have him as a member. Which PR club, association or tribes do you belong to—and why?
Professionally, I’m a Fellow of the CIPR and a Director of MIPAA Limited. Academically, I think I’m critical realist – well that’s how I’m approaching my PhD. I think my “tribe” would be a loose affiliation of global mavericks who like to say exactly what they think.
19. Where do you most like to do your professional networking?
Face to face
20. What’s the best career decision you ever made?
To reply to a job advert in Autocar for a PR Officer at Peugeot
21. What skills and abilities do you think tomorrow’s PR leaders need?
Curiosity, wisdom, and an ability to listen, inspire and stay ahead of impending chaos
22. Which talent would you most like to have?
I’m rubbish at languages – and would like to show others the respect of not having to always use English
23. How would you like to end your PR career?
24. How would you describe the current state of public relations?
A great opportunity
25. What is your PR motto?
My motto for life was inherited from my dad: “never use a nail when a screw will do a better job”. My PR motto is: “How can I help you?”
The Proust Questionnaire was originally designed to reveal one’s personality. Its name and popularity as a form of interview has roots in the responses given by the French writer, Marcel Proust. His first set of responses came at the end of the nineteenth century, when he was still in his teens (from an English-language “confession album”).
For PR Conversations we have adapted this original idea with questions that offer a public relations’ perspective. It will be fun to compare and contrast responses as the series grows. If you would like to be invited to complete our PRoust Questionnaire for posting on PR Conversations, please visit our Crowdsourcing suggestion form.