The Life: Since leaving journalism for a career in public relations, Dubai executive Jason Leavy has learned how to stop feeling guilty, and start taking lunch.
Lots to digest when eating is not cheating
Former journalist Jason Leavy has learnt many things since making the leap into public relations. For starters, he no longer feels guilty when taking a lunch break. The Dubai-based executive was the launch editor of Emirates Today newspaper, which closed in 2007. He was recently promoted to managing director at the PR firm DABO & CO, whose clients include Hilton, BMW and flydubai.
I'm up. I normally go to Fitness 24/7 in Al Quoz, which is Dubai's best-kept secret in terms of gyms. It's two converted warehouses in the back of beyond in Al Quoz, and I follow something called cross-fit, which incorporates weightlifting, gymnastics and athletics.
I head into work, feeling alert. I start by consuming media, both on and offline. It's really important to digest it as thoroughly as possible.
On Mondays we have a weekly team meeting for everyone in the company. Communications companies, ironically, are normally bad at internal comms. And so we want to avoid a vacuum of information. We have quite a flat management style, so we want everybody to feel included.
At this time of year it's all about planning for the next financial year, which starts on September 1 for us.
I'll normally try to get out of the office to meet a media contact or a client. It's always good to talk to clients on a broader level, in terms of how happy they are with the account. The Rib Room at Emirates Towers does a great business lunch, as does Zuma near the financial centre. I come from a newspaper background, where "eating is cheating". So it took me a long time to shed the guilt of removing myself from the office to go for lunch, because you don't think of it technically as work. But I actually think it's massively important.
We've had a significant wave of recruitment over the past few months. So during the afternoon, I could well be at an interview or second interview. That's something I like getting involved in, because I'm a huge believer in hiring on the basis of attitude. Skills and experience can be acquired; it's all about recognising the raw potential.
The inevitable checking of emails. I get probably 100 to 200 a day, more than when I was a journalist. Running a daily newspaper was obviously intense, [but my current job] is more demanding because you have a diversity of clients, and every client is different. So in that sense you are juggling a number of different things at the same time.
Spending time with divisional heads, finding out what's going on. That can be anything from a new business approach to an existing client requiring something.
Leave work. I'll occasionally have a dinner with a contact. I'm a social animal, and I love meeting people, and I love sparking off people who have different viewpoints.