Episode 18

Farzana Baduel: Resident PR Expert at The Foundry, Oxford University on Protests in the USA, Brexit and Cultural Differences

Farzana Baduel is the founder and CEO of Curzon PR. As a passionate advocate of strategic communications, she champions the power of PR as a dynamic force for building bridges and unifying the world’s voices into a global narrative. She set up Curzon PR in 2009, having previously served as Vice-Chair of Business Relations for the UK Conservative Party. 

She set up Curzon PR in 2009, having previously served as Vice Chair of Business Relations for the UK Conservative Party. Farzana has been appointed as the resident public relations expert and ambassador for the Oxford Foundry, the University of Oxford’s entrepreneurship centre, where she delivers masterclasses in PR and mentors female entrepreneurs. She is a committed campaigner for the economic empowerment of women. She is the founder of TiE Women (London). TiE is the largest global entrepreneur network in the world. 

Farzana is a Chartered PR practitioner who regularly lectures around the world on PR and women leadership and, as a thought-leader, is asked to contribute on the BBC, Forbes, the Financial Times and Al-Jazeera. She has also written for newspapers/publications such as The Guardian and PR Week. Her industry blogs can be found on the PR Insider. 

Farzana has been a judge for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ PR awards. She has won awards including Businesswoman of the Year at the Muslim Awards 2016, Entrepreneur of the Year at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards 2015 and the Media Professional of the Year at the Asian Media Awards 2014. She donates her time and expertise to various organisations and audiences on a voluntary basis.

Transcript of the episode:

*this transcript is generated automatically*

Alex Romanovich (00:00):

Hi, everybody. This is Alex Romanovich. And welcome to GlobalEdgeTalk. Today is June 5th, 2020, and we are delighted and privileged to have Farzana Baduel with us. Hello, Farzana.

Farzana Baduel (00:13):

Hello, Alex.

Alex Romanovich (00:15):

I will tell you a little bit more about Farzana, but all of the talking is going to be done by her. Farzana is the founder and CEO of Curzon PR. She is also a very passionate advocate of multicultural and open strategic communications. She teaches at Oxford University. She is a practitioner of public relations and communications in the UK, but also all over the world. She’s traveled all over the place, all over the world, and she is one of the top entrepreneurs in the UK and outside of the UK when it comes to PR communications and so forth. She’s also a leader in the Muslim community in PR communications as well.

Alex Romanovich (01:00):

She is a recipient of multiple awards. One of which is the Businesswoman of the Year at the Muslim Awards 2016 and many others. We’re very delighted to have Farzana with us. So, Farzana, let’s talk a little bit about you of all people. Tell us a little bit about yourself, because GlobalEdgeTalk is about personalities first and foremost. We absolutely love to learn from entrepreneurs, people who are edgy, but also on the edge and have experienced a lot of interesting things in their life and their professional career. Tell us a little bit about your younger years, about your growing up and your passion for PR communications, your passion for what you’re doing right now.

Farzana Baduel (01:52):

I was born in London, and London is an incredible city because it is diverse. I mean, you walk down a street in London and you hear a dozen different languages. People you walk past or these groups of people and they look like an advert for the United Nations. I mean, I’m blessed to have been born in a city like London. And because I was born in London, and my parents came from Pakistan, from Kashmir, I immediately was really brought up in terms of my formative years in an incredibly diverse environment where I thought that was the norm. And then only when I would like perhaps leave London to venture out in the shires in the UK or go to another country like say Pakistan or whatever.

Farzana Baduel (02:46):

And then it would strike me, these very homogenous societies. And I remember when I started traveling when I was sort of 10, and I remember thinking, my God, the world is not actually like London. And it was quite incredible when I started traveling and I was noticing that actually you have very homogenous in terms of the culture all these different countries, and the UK and the U.S. are actually quite incredible countries, when you think about the level of diversity that’s there. And it’s somewhat of a bit of a social experiment because it’s really the first time in history that this level of cultural diversity exists in societies. And of course you have positive moments like Obama being elected, and you have sad moments such as what has been happening right now to Black Lives Matter. So I’m not saying it’s the utopia, but at least it’s a hopeful future that we are working towards and struggling towards. But I think, for me, diversity is intoxicating and I love coming across people from different cultures, different languages, different perspectives. For me, it’s literally like a drug. So I’ve always had that openness ever since I can remember

Alex Romanovich (04:04):

Very interesting. And obviously, being in London or being in New York, you do experience this diversity. And my years working in the multicultural agency, advertising agency, I’ve experienced the same thing. I was joking sometimes that I’m in there for the food and I absolutely love it. And that’s why I love New York and every time I go to London, I experienced the same thing. Tell us more about Oxford. Tell us more about how you got involved with teaching, with training, your work with entrepreneurs, but also your work with a lot of governments in Asia, in Europe, all over the world. That’s a very interesting topic.

Farzana Baduel (04:48):

So, the Oxford university, they have an entrepreneurship center, and they allow students undergrads and post-grads who have a business idea to come to the entrepreneurship center and really work upon their idea from conception to startup, to raising finance. And I always used to sort of give the odd lecture on public relations, marketing brand to various different sort of teaching institutions. And I was invited by King’s College to do the same, and the lady left King’s College entrepreneurship center to set up the one in Oxford and invited me and the entrepreneurship center, the Foundry was actually launched by Tim Cook a couple of years ago. And then they invited me to be their resident public relations expert, which basically means you are on a monthly basis, a few times a month I basically go there and I mentor, I also hold master classes in brand marketing, public relations, and really I work with startups to help them understand what is brand, what is marketing, what is PR, how does it apply to them?

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