Meet The Team - Toni-Lee Duffus
Get to know our Associate, Communications
How did you begin your career in PR?
It’s cliche to say you fell into your career, but I can’t think of any other way to put it. Up until a few months before I’d be heading off to university I had my heart set on studying fashion communications, but in a last minute panic realised I wasn’t ready to commit to a four year course or leave my hometown. On a complete whim, I applied to a shorter course at North East Scotland College in Aberdeen to study advertising and public relations and quickly realised that my interest in brands, understanding the mind of consumers and the ever-changing media landscape made it the perfect match.
Alongside studying, I joined SPEY as an intern working out of the Speyside HQ before I finished my degree at Robert Gordon University and the rest is history.
What’s been the most memorable experience at SPEY?
Any time we’re all together as one sticks out to me. When we get the chance to meet up you’d never guess that we are a team who work from separate ends of the country. It's testament to how well we communicate daily, and how much everyone genuinely cares about one another.
We had our SPEY Summit towards the end of 2021, looking at our progress as a company and what we hope to achieve over the next twelve months and it was really motivating to see the big moves we’re making as a small agency.
What’s been your favourite project to work on so far in your career?
Working on The Balvenie Makers in Residence programme stands out for sure. We were tasked with bringing a series of ‘makers’ up to the distillery, immersing them in the character of The Balvenie and planning a trip that would showcase the best of the local area and being a native to Speyside this project was the perfect fit.
Along the way I have met some fantastic people and have been lucky enough to spend time at the distillery learning directly from the talented craftsmen.
What do you get up to when you’re not at work?
Away from work I am always keen to plan my next trip, whether it’s a quick pit-stop in the capital, a festival abroad or an away-day somewhere local, visiting new places, eating good food and exploring some cocktail menus never goes a miss.
Outside of food, drink and travels, you’ll find me with a lifestyle magazine in hand or on the search for some zen at a sound bath.
What is your favourite book/podcast?
When it comes to podcasts, and life in general, I like to learn about people, what shaped them into who they are now, their successes and failures. That being said, anything with a lengthy interview I’m usually down for. Annie Mac’s Changes, Ferne Cotton’s Happy Place and Diary of a CEO have some really worth-while listens.
My fascination with people’s life-stories doesn’t stop at podcasts, I am a sucker for a good autobiography and I always recommend Lily Allen’s ‘My Thoughts Exactly’. For some plot-twisting goodness, Lisa Jewell’s books hit the spot.
What it's like interning for a PR company
At SPEY, we’re passionate about providing career opportunities for young people and retaining talent in rural communities, proving you don’t have to move to a big city to have a career in communications. Our intern Frankie, a Speyside local, writes about what she’s learned so far during her time here at SPEY.