To mark UNESCO's International Day of Education, we meet Cultural Comms Junior Account Director Hannah McLaughlin and Senior Account Manager Zoe Fields, who recently completed the WSET Level 2 Awards in Wines and Spirits.

From tasting and evaluating to different styles of production, the courses were not only enjoyable and informative, but a demonstration of the importance of continued education in developing one's career.

Read on for more.

Hannah McLaughlin: Hannah has worked in communications since completing an MA in Near and Middle Eastern Studies in 2016 at SOAS University of London. During this time, she has worked across a handful of agencies, specialising in B2B and corporate affairs, for major blue-chip clients, alongside lobbying and crisis management. Hannah joined Cultural Comms in 2022 to follow her passion for culture and the arts – and has never looked back!

Zoe Fields: Born and raised in Bermuda, Zoe moved to the UK in 2013 to study a BA in Marketing and Communications at the University of Bournemouth. After graduation, she worked within the architectural sector at Foster + Partners, before following her love of art, design and fine wine and spirits to Cultural Communications, which she joined three years ago.

Tell us about your role at Cultural Comms?

HM: As Junior Account Director, I work across a number of clients – from art to drinks and luxury hospitality. I love the diversity of the role and the range of clients I get to work with. One minute we’re working on a prestige drinks launch, the next a major exhibition opening. Everyday is different, and that’s what makes the role so engaging.

ZF: As a Senior Account Manager working across an array of our clients within the UHNW sector, I help to plan, deliver, and manage campaigns. On a normal day, you can find me writing press releases, liaising with our key media contacts, or rushing off to a meeting.

You recently completed a WSET Award. Can you tell us about the course?

HM: I completed the WSET Level 2 Award in Wines. It was hard work, but so rewarding to ultimately complete and pass. The course covers a variety of areas, from tasting and evaluating wine, through to factors affecting quality and style, as included principal white and black grape varieties, alongside sparkling and fortified wines. So there’s a lot to learn, and much to be gained from the course.

ZF: I did the WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits covered the main categories of different spirits and liqueurs, including Whisky, Vodka, Tequila and Fruit Spirits to name a few, and looked at the influences of production methods on the different styles available in each category. We also learned how to taste and evaluate spirits, as well as how to mix with spirits.

How has this impacted your work at Cultural Comms?

HM: I have always had an interest in wine, having worked across several Cultural Comms drinks accounts – from Château Figeac, an icon of Bordeaux’s Right Bank; through to Luigi Bosca, an Argentinean estate rooted in prestigious heritage. Taking the WSET gave me an even greater understanding of the wine-making process, and what makes these estates and the wines they produce so very special.  

ZF: As someone with little knowledge of Whisky/Whiskey before this course, it was invaluable to gain an in-depth understanding of this category and understand how distillers can produce an incredibly varied range of spirits through varying grains, distillation strengths and the barrels they use. This has hugely helped with my deeper understanding of the high-age liquids we are working with.

Why do you think external training and/or qualifications are important to your role and career?

HM: They give you a greater depth of understanding to take your knowledge, and in turn, your client delivery, to the next level. In doing so, they provide a truly enriching experience that you’ll take with you throughout your career.

ZF: External training is imperative to career development, furthering your knowledge around subjects we use in our day-to-day life here at Cultural Comms. This ultimately means that you have a better understanding and can come at a task with a greater approach.

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