An Interview with Farzana Baduel

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Farzana Baduel is the founder and CEO of Curzon PR, a global strategic communications firm that has won multiple awards. With bases in London, New York, Dubai and a newly launched office in Delhi, Curzon PR was set up by Baduel in 2009. She previously had the role of Vice Chair of Business Relations for the British Conservative Party. Farzana has grown up surrounded by female role models, with her mother, aunt, sister and cousins all setting up their own businesses and has created her own success.
If you had to describe yourself in 3 words what would they be?

Positive, Empathetic and Energetic

What does you daily routine look like? 

I wake up early and first check the news online and social media to see what's happened around the world. I like to see what's trending and what people are talking about. This is followed by the school run for my daughter. Normally I then go into the office for Curzon team meetings discussing client accounts and internal functions such as HR, Finance, Legal and Operations. 

I spend afternoons on external meetings with clients, journalists and prospects. After work I spend time with my family before I head out for evening events which are often organised by Curzon PR. I do not have a 9am-5pm day, it is more like 9am  - 11pm during peak months. My passion for PR drives me and I never see my 12-14 hour day of work, I am incredibly grateful for being able to work in an industry that I love.

What prompted you to want to start Curzon PR?

After I left finance , I entered politics through the Conservative Party. Once I was involved in politics as the Vice Chair for the Business Relations forum in the Conservative party , I became witness to the power of communications within the context of political campaigns. This inspired my pursuit into the world of communications and its effect on both the commercial and non for-profit world which made me want to set up an agency that was able to make a real impact. 

What appealed to you about the communications industry?

Communications appealed to me because it requires such a variety of skills and capabilities. PR is at the intersection of multiple disciplines including psychology, advocacy, research, strategy, media, marketing, language and creativity.

What has been your biggest achievements and what would you like to achieve next?

My biggest achievement has been to discover PR and understand the importance of pursuing a path based upon my passion and skill set. Too many people are stuck in jobs and industries that they do not feel a passion about which is such a shame as we spend most of our waking life at work. I would like to continue to build an agency which has a progressive environment where talent can evolve their skill set within the ever increasingly changing media and marketing global landscape.

What is your definition of feminism and in what ways, if any, has this changed over time?

Feminism, for me would be, the empowerment of women to feel able to choose to do anything and feel confident in succeeding in their choice. I think Feminism initially started off in the form as a women's rights movement that set out to achieve equality in the work place and in legislation , however I think nowadays in the UK it concerns itself with inclusion, the gender pay gap, lack of women in senior positions and accommodating the needs of women at the workplace.

I am fortunate to be a woman in the UK; there are other countries in the world where there is a dismal record of abuse towards women.

What are the best ways to empower women?

The best way to empower women is simply not to discriminate against them. Allowing childcare costs to be offset against taxable income would be a start in the right direction making it commercially viable for mothers to return to work. Women are empowered when they are economically independent and do not have to rely on a man for money.


How do we keep women in the workplace?

Women are more likely to stay in work if we give them flexible hours and accommodate for their home life, with an emphasis on performance rather than rigid office rules that stiffle progression, creativity and act as a barrier to their home life. 

Flexible hours, remote working and project based work help women who have responsibilities for children and ageing parents.

Workwear, Women, Fashion, Work style

Do you think it is up to businesses and organisations to actively promote gender equality?

 Yes, it is a moral and legal obligation for businesses and organisations to ensure there is gender parity in terms of pay and seniority.

The women who are in leadership positions should be more vocal about what they do and how they got there for the benefit of their organisation and for the benefit of other professional women out there. 

What is the biggest issue you feel that our society is currently facing and how do you feel about it?

We are living in an increasingly globalised world where technology is changing the way we work. We are constantly learning how to remain competitive when we are not only competing with our competitors in our city but also around the world. We are learning how to navigate across cultural, economic and political boundaries to work with talent and customers across continents.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Treat a rose like a rose and a thorn like a thorn (persian proverb).

Could you give an example of an obstacle you have faced as a career woman, and how you overcame it?

A few years ago, I made the cardinal agency sin of taking on a client who represented over half of our agency income. The client in due course became aware of this and become increasingly aggressive in their behaviour towards our team and their constant scope creeping and late payments played havoc with the running of the agency. I realised we were in a weak position, so I went on a new business drive and onboarded several clients and then fired the client. I learnt that as an agency, you should be as careful as you are in hiring talent when it comes to representing clients. We now carry out due diligence on prospective clients and turn them away if they do not share our values of trust, transparency and respect.

If there was one piece of advice you could have given yourself when you started working, what would it be?

Do not launch straight into tactics, spend the required time for research, outlining objectives, strategy and the measurement of outcomes.

Who is your ultimate style icon and why?

Audrey Hepburn -  simplicity and elegance.

What one piece from your wardrobe represents you best?

Tights; I love patterned tights from Wolford.

If there was one statement or trend you could bring back into fashion what would It be and why?

I don’t believe in following trends, I believe in choosing clothes that fit your body shape, with the appropriate dress for you for who you are and where you want to go.

Who is the most important female in your life and why?

My daughter, to love and be loved is the ultimate feeling.

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