As a journalist, I knew the opportunity to go to this event was just too good to pass up. With a panel consisting of Donna McConnell – Mail Online’s showbiz editor, Liam Tootill – SB.TV managing director, Cookie Pryce – former event marketing and communications manager at AEG/ the o2, Ray Paul – the playmaker group founder and ex-BBC 1Xtra/ Radio 1 executive and Janine La Rosa – BSkyB diversity manager, it was a great opportunity to network.

This event was supported by Pearson – the world’s leading learning company and hosted by ITV journalist, presenter and supporter of Inspirational YOU, Charlene White. The event kicked off with each member of the panel telling their story of how they got to where they are in their career today. Something that popped up a few times was the hard truth that you sometimes have to be brave enough to just ask for your position. ‘I’m a single black mother, they’re going to hate me,’ joked Donna McConnell in regards to how nervous she felt prior to beginning her freelance job at the Mail Online. ‘I just made myself indispensable’ she continued. She was promoted two years ago and said ‘I had to ask for my job four times’. Now she’s the showbiz editor of one of the ‘most viewed news websites in the world’.

The floor was then open for attendees to pitch their questions to the panel, who were able to offer priceless advice. For brand owners, Janine La Rosa stated ‘my top tip would be to make it commercial… make sure you understand the business you’re approaching’. The playmaker group founder, Ray Paul said ‘there are a lot of people who meet you in places like this and say “I’m going to call you” and never do. When you call me in six months time, I’m going to say “it’s taken you six months”,’ highlighting the importance of keeping good relationships with your contacts.

Other points raised included the importance of how you present yourself in person, and via email and over the phone before you have even met a contact in person. Multiple panel members also stressed how vital it is that you surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Sometimes they may not be directly around you but with the aid of social networking today, it’s easy to find events such as this, where you can meet people with similar passions to your own. Always remember, continue to learn as you progress, which Cookie Pryce described as ‘an organic process’.


After the main panel there was an opportunity to network. People were able to take professional advantage of the amazing set-up that allowed face-to-face interaction. The room was jam-packed with leading media professionals alongside social entrepreneurs, students, business leaders, those in media, journalism, marketing, aspiring entrepreneurs and those who wanted to network and raise their profile.

Liam Tootill, whose mantra is ‘progress with unity,’ noted that SB.TV has just reached the point where they can now employ and pay people. This has been built from a small YouTube channel and is proof that if you stick to Cookie Pryce‘s ‘three p’s – be productive, be progressive and positive,’ you can achieve your goals.

Listen to the final words at the event from the organiser, Sonia Meggie, below.

[audio:|titles=Invest In You – Sonia Meggie Final Words]

Click here for more information on Inspirational YOU and their activity.