Interview: Krysten Swindells

The acting head of marketing and communications at the Air Ambulance Service, which flies helicopters in four midlands counties, talks to Gemma Quainton about making decisions under pressure

Krysten Swindells
Krysten Swindells

- Describe your role at the charity

I oversee all the marketing, communication and PR. This includes two key objectives: income generation and brand awareness. I lead a team of five in activities including direct marketing campaigns, web and digital activity, managing the press office and internal communications. A lot of my time is spent in idea generation and concept development meetings with department heads, as well as researching new ways to increase our income and awareness through research and testing.

- What challenges do you face?

I have to be ready to change direction on a project at short notice and communicate changes to our team. With about 150 staff, I have to offer regular advice and make decisions under pressure.

- What are you currently working on?

The charity is in the middle of launching a new national transfer service, the Children's Air Ambulance. We've been fundraising throughout 2012 and 2013 and we now have a helicopter, which is currently being fitted with one-of-a-kind equipment. We are working on various marketing and PR campaigns to raise awareness and funds for the new service.

- What's your background?

After a journalism degree, I racked up experience in TV, radio, local newspapers, national magazines and online companies. I've picked up a variety of skills, including script writing, social media, filming and editing, and much more.

- What tips do you have for others considering a role in comms?

Work experience is essential - you can learn so much on the job and get a real insight into how an organisation works. The beauty of gaining work experience or volunteering for a charity is that you make a difference to other people's lives. At the Air Ambulance Service, every team member, whether staff or volunteer, is crucial to keeping our life-saving services in the sky.

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