My name is David Gatehouse
Time at HGS
I attended the Sixth Form from 1978 - 1980
Fondest memories of HGS
It has to be said that I wasn’t tremendously academic, so I enjoyed the many extra curricular activities on offer most. I helped behind the scenes on every theatre production in my two years there and played endless hours of tennis with friends in the summers. We also took full advantage of the gym facilities particularly the indoor football court on Friday evening s!
Job title, where you work & what you do for your job
I’m a content and media relations manager at Definition Agency , which has offices in Leeds and London, as well as a South African operation. Our teams deliver award winning PR and media relations, SEO, content and social media to leading B2B clients internationally. I research and create copy and content and foster and manage relationships with journalists across national and global media outlets.
Route taken to get where you are now
After travelling abroad for a year or two following university, I worked in NHS and civil service press offices and PR departments. There, I learned how to write and present effectively and got to know how broadcasters and print titles work. I engaged with them every day, responding to their queries and persuading them to run our news and opinion. Subsequently, I became a local radio news reporter, then a journalist on lifestyle, entertainment and business magazines, before going into communications agencies. I’ve remained with consultancies ever since, both as a freelancer via my own company and an employee. Occasionally, I still dabble in a bit of journalism, principally gig reviews.
Skills/qualities needed for current job
The usefulness of a higher education qualification for any job should never be dismissed, but having one won’t automatically make you suitable for this role. You must have an innate writing ability and the confidence and vocabulary to talk a good talk. Even then, you’ll need to strengthen and hone all of them on the job constantly after more than 30 years, I learn something new most days! And shrinking violets and sensitive souls need not apply. They’ll wither away very quickly. Knockbacks from journalists you’re trying to secure a commission from can be brutal, while tight deadlines and the need to navigate complex issues quickly are constant companions.
If you’re resilient, tenacious and can maintain an insatiable enthusiasm for the work, it’s hugely fulfilling and enjoyable, though. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a varied, challenging career where you can go as far and as fast as your ambition and abilities allow.
Top tips for a successful career
I have two:
1) If you believe you’re good enough, go for it. Whatever it is. I always have. I haven’t always succeeded , but have never regretted having a go.
2) Try to find an experienced mentor. They can make all the difference to your career, if you’re lucky enough to have one. I still tap into mine for advice and support.
Is there a particular teacher that stood out during your time at HGS that you would like to recognise?
As I said, I was far from a brilliant, or diligent, pupil probably the worst in the class of 1980! and all my teachers were very patient, encouraging and kind. They made the best of the inferior academic material they were presented with!