In our new ‘get to know’ blog series, I’m posing a few questions to the Element team. Next up, we have Sarah-Ann Lim, Communications Associate.
What’s your background?
My PR career started straight after I graduated university last year – an exciting transition into what I fondly call my first ‘big girl’ job.
I studied politics and international relations during my university days, with special focuses on communications, advocacy and the role of media in shaping policy narratives.
I was eager to then take my interest in messaging from theory into practice, and a career in public relations struck the perfect chord.
Fast forward a little over a year into agency life, I’m grateful to be able to incorporate my academic background into a job that I find genuinely purposeful.
How would you describe your job?
As a Communications Associate, I work on various client accounts to help make sure that we get the best possible media outcome for their brand. Whether it’s securing top-tier placements, planning an integrated communication campaign, managing issues or crises, or preparing clients for high-pressure situations – no two days are the same.
I was attracted by the promise of a dynamic environment where I’d be able to work with equally dedicated and likeminded colleagues, and I haven’t been disappointed!
It’s a fast-paced role that constantly pushes me creatively to put the best messaging forward. But that’s what makes it so exciting as I get to think big picture about how to shape narratives for clients through the media.
Tell us about a memorable career moment.
It has to be my time as an Intern at the Foreign Office in Singapore, where I had exposure to the 2018 North Korea–United States Singapore Summit, best known for the highly anticipated meeting between North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump. I was asked to usher media to and from the Summit, as well as support with press release proofing – a pretty cool moment early on in my career!
More recently, I remember fondly the first time I met a client in person. Having started my career in the post-pandemic era, I often joked I had only ever seen clients from the shoulders up on video calls so, the opportunity to engage in a face-to-face meeting was genuinely refreshing.
What does ‘Authentic Communications’ mean to you?
Far too often, I feel like communications can feel disingenuous especially when you’re stuck in a corporate echo chamber. It can often seem like a lot of corporate jargon and buzzwords; messaging more concerned with ticking boxes that connecting with actual people or communities.
To me, ‘Authentic Communication’ starts with stepping outside that bubble and meeting audiences where they actually are. It’s not just about filling the space with coverage for the sake of it. Rather, making sure that whatever is put out there serves a purpose and is an effective extension of a company’s brand.
What would you say to people pursuing a career in PR?
PR often conjures images of glitz and glam, where your calendar is filled with exciting product launches and events. While you’ll get opportunities for some of that excitement, the job is so much more than that.
There’s the behind-the-scenes work – writing press releases, pitching stories, building relationships with journalists, and helping manage the different client accounts. All of which bring the real impact. Having the right messaging and narrative can make or break a company. If you enjoy creating content, devising media strategies, and planning crisis messaging – and have thick skin – then PR is a very rewarding career.
So, while the reality may not be as sexy as Samantha Jones makes it look on Sex and the City, if making an impact through messaging excites you, I say go for it (and feel free to bring the Manolos along).
What are you known for in your team?
I’d like to think that I am a reliable team member who can be trusted to get things done. That and maybe also being the person who always needs to borrow a phone charger.
Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn here