Time flies when you’re having fun! Precisely one year ago, Margot Feiner joined the MARNIX and ALLY team as Senior PR Manager during the first week of the international lockdown. Reaching a milestone like this, calls for a celebration and so we sat down with Margot to find out how she has experienced the past year, which challenges she’s faced, what small victories she has celebrated and how she sees her bright future at M and A.

Hi Margot! Glad you could make the time to answer a few questions. Tell us about yourself. Who is Margot Feiner?

I would describe myself as a fun-loving, enthusiastic and ambitious woman. Always up for a challenge, a creative mind with a sometimes uncommon sense of humor, very practical and always trying to bring structure to chaos. Antwerp born and raised and now living in Hasselt with the hubby-to-be and two kids. Besides being a PR Manager, I’m a work-out fanatic with a passion for (sustainable) fashion, who loves having a drink with friends, who enjoys good and healthy food in great company and who currently really misses traveling.

Could you tell us a little more about what drew you towards M and A in the first place?

The clear company vision to only work with conscious brands with great esthetics and a futurist mindset is what attracted me to work for MARNIX and ALLY. At my previous job, I represented a mix of lifestyle brands whose only goal was to be profitable. And of course, that’s fine. It just wasn’t satisfying enough for me personally. That’s why I went looking for something else. Now, being able to help shape and write meaningful stories, to support local talent and to spread the message of sustainable labels is what motivates me the most. And having a clear strategy works! Even during these challenging and financially difficult times, we were able to grow 25% last year. The numbers never lie ;)

If I’m hearing this correctly, your first day was during the first international lockdown. How did you experience this?

Yes, that was extra challenging (laughs). It’s normal to be nervous when starting a new job, and although I was very excited for my first day, I didn’t really know the team or what to expect. Especially because the country was in lockdown, my first day (and the months after that) was (were) all digital. This complicated certain things like finding the right tone of voice for feedback, learning to use all the M and A tools by myself, … Add homescholing the kids, the fear for the unknown virus and the social distancing, and you can conclude these were pretty stressful times. Nevertheless, I must say I felt really welcomed by the team. We adapted to the situation quickly and made it work easily.

What’s a typical day at the office like in your position?

That’s the fun part of the job: there are no typical days at MARNIX and ALLY. From editing press releases, spreading your client’s meaningful message, coming up with creative PR and influencer marketing strategies, organizing events, keeping up with the latest lifestyle and market trends and determining budgets to guiding enthusiastic interns towards becoming a successful PR consultant. The variety is what keeps it interesting. What’s very important is to be flexible, because even if you have your whole day planned out carefully, an urgent client or press request can easily interfere with your entire schedule (laughs).

Looking back at your first year at M and A, what is the biggest challenge you faced and what realization are you most proud of?

I think these two go hand in hand. My biggest challenge was starting as team lead digitally. It’s much easier to provide constructive, helpful feedback when you’re sitting next to someone without a mask so you actually see their facial expressions. The physical distance made it more difficult for me to get to know the team on a personal and professional level, and to be able to be the Senior PR Manager they needed. My biggest achievement is that, after the first lockdown, we were able to go back to the office. It’s right then that we started to truly connect and I started to gain their trust and vice versa. I would conclude that this was my largest challenge and biggest win thrown into one.

One last question: how do you see yourself evolving in your role in the (near) future?

Before looking ahead, I must say that I’ve grown incredibly on a professional level this year. I’ve learned how to manage people in an empathic way. I still have a lot of evolving to do in that field and I’d love see where I’m at next year. Besides that, I’m planning on taking more time to educate myself on influencer and PR trends, reading about them, following interesting webinars, … Media is constantly changing and as Senior PR Manager it’s my job to keep up.

Thank you, Margot, for the inspirational talk. We wish you the best of luck and, of course, a happy 1 year anniversary at M and A. Here’s to many more!