Posts Tagged ‘Cystic Fibrosis’

My Fuzion highlights by Alison O’Brien

November 26, 2020

Irish War Crimes

Fresh out of college in October 2006, having just graduated with my Masters in Public Relations from Dublin Institute of Technology, I moved home to Cork with the ambition of bagging myself my dream job in PR. After doing my research and seeing who was who in Cork, I was delighted when Dee and Greg said they would meet me for a coffee.

I had my first “official interview”, which thankfully was more like having a chat with old friends, in The White Horse in Ballincollig, which incidentally became one of my very first clients!

I liked the sound of Fuzion, and they liked the sound of me, and so my PR career was borne!

On January 7th, 2007, I joined Dee and Greg in Fuzion as their first employee, working from their home. Dee and I shared an office, and I learned the ropes from one of the best in the business. I was thrown straight into the midst of consumer PR working on Danish fashion brands b.young and ICHI

Days were filled with drafting press releases, coordinating advertising campaigns, and creating press packs, which at that time involved hours of burning product images onto CDs, and packing up lovely goodies to send to fashion journalists in Ireland’s top titles. The reward was when I would get big envelopes in the post in the weeks that followed, these envelopes contained press coverage!

Yes actual press clippings; there was no such thing as receiving a daily email with your clippings automatically uploaded onto a server for you – you had to scan each one carefully and save every column inch of coverage for the client – but I loved it. There was the work I was doing, featured in national titles!

Early in 2007, we had our first team planning meeting to discuss how we were going to put Fuzion on the map, and get ourselves noticed. This meeting also happened to be the first ever Fuzion Friday! Ideas flowed, and so did the wine.. and the rest is history!!

Fuzion Friday became a regular fixture on the Fuzion weekly calendar, and to this day is an opportunity for the Fuzion team to sit back, share time together and relax after putting in a hard week’s work. On the odd occasion Fuzion Friday lunches turned into Fuzion Friday after work drinks – but as the saying goes, “work hard, play hard”!

In my early years with Fuzion, I would say that my car could have driven on autopilot to Killarney, as I was up and down the road so often, working on a variety of clients in The Kingdom, from the Killarney Outlet Centre to Killarney Golf and Fishing Club to Christmas in Killarney. All these projects gave me great experience, and I worked with lots of people who were passionate about doing great work in their community. 

The summer of 2007 saw Fuzion work on Tour de Munster for the very first time, which today remains Fuzion’s longest standing client!

Tour de Munster

It has been an honour to work on this charity cycle, which has raised phenomenal funds for various beneficiaries over the years. Today the main beneficiaries are the Munster branches of Down Syndrome Ireland; but the beneficiary in 2007 was the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland (CFAI), and our work with them through Tour de Munster led to us working with the association on an ongoing basis for a number of years.

Working on charity campaigns has been a highlight of my time with Fuzion, but none more so than when we worked with CFAI on what was, literally, a life changing campaign for so many in 2009.

After years of empty and broken promises, the CFAI had lost total and utter confidence in the Department of Health, the HSE and Minister Harney; and decided to take action into their own hands. They challenged the HSE/ Department of Health to honour the commitment given publicly in 2008 to fulfil the promise of having the dedicated CF Unit operational in St Vincent’s by 2010.

We worked with CFAI on a very high profile and evocative campaign, fronted by CF Campaigner Orla Tinsley, entitled  ‘Irish War Crimes’. I was at home one evening when I got a call from Dee to say that the government agreed to honour the commitment to deliver on the vital, dedicated CF unit – this was the proudest moment of my PR career to date and I cried with joy – what we were doing was making a real difference. Our work on this campaign was acknowledged with an Award For Excellence in PR in 2010 for “Best Public Affairs Campaign”.

Mid 2010 saw me take a sabbatical, when I worked with The Hope Foundation for one year as PR/ Media Coordinator, putting into practice everything I had learned on working on charity campaigns to that point. But I missed the variety of working with an agency on a broad range of clients; and so I was fortunate to be able to rejoin Fuzion in 2011 with a refreshed mindset!

Since then I’ve been lucky to work on great clients in an industry that’s changing constantly. There’s so much more to the job than pure PR nowadays, and managing successful campaigns includes everything from strategic planning and implementation to event conceptualisation and management; media relations to sponsorship negotiation; crisis management to social media management, implementing national advertising campaigns to graphic design liaison; so much more, and everything in between.

Over the last few years I’ve been particularly inspired by young entrepreneurs I’ve worked with through UCC’s IGNITE programme and the Local Enterprise Offices’ ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition – these startups are Ireland’s future, and it’s been an honour to help them and advise them on their journeys.

One of the highlights of my time in Fuzion has to be the great colleagues I’ve worked with, many of whom have become what I know will be lifelong friends.

Doreen O’Mahony deserves a special mention as she was my first “Fuzion friend”. She started a few months after me, and was my partner in crime for the first few years. Together, we “held down the fort” when Dee and Greg took a well earned break for their honeymoon in December 2007. We still talk about how we were having nightly dreams about work, so concerned that we would do everything right so that Dee and Greg could return home knowing their baby was in safe hands! 

Today, as Fuzion celebrates 20 years in business, it still is in safe hands, with a passionate, dedicated, and much larger team behind Dee and Greg, helping to “drive the bus”!

Alison O'Brien, Fuzion CommunicationsAlison O’Brien

Alison O’Brien is an Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing & Design, who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The Secret of My Success

November 24, 2010

One of the guys my partner Greg and I really admire in business is Louis Copeland.  He is a very practical guy, full of positivity and like a breath of fresh air every time we meet him.  I remember when the storm clouds first came in on the economy we were listening to a national radio station and heard Louis being interviewed with loaded questions of doom and gloom.  The interviewer asked him how he would cope with this recession and Louis just said “I’m just going to get to work earlier, stay at work later and give my customers an even better service.” He added that this wasn’t his first recession and this is what he did for the others and was still around to tell the tale!

Doreen O'Mahony, Fuzion Communications
Doreen going that extra mile!

It was so refreshing to hear such a simple solution and both Greg and I vowed we would do the same.  This was over two years ago; our alarm clock goes off now at 6am every morning; we are at our desks for 7.30am and I can’t tell you the last time I was home in time for Coronation Street at 7.30pm!  (Although Greg doesn’t complain about that last part!!)

Greg, our Ringmaster, drums into us the value of customer service and going that extra mile for clients.  Within Fuzion we are instilled with an ethos of hard work on behalf of clients with lectures of Good to Great” and “Purple Cows” from Greg, that most of it does stick!  Because of this we have all become great practitioners of going that extra mile for clients.

One example is this photo; on a rare day off we went on a Charity Walk that a client was organising; Doreen our colleague came with us, even though she didn’t have to – she wanted to.  Not just content at taking part, there were record numbers of participants and she couldn’t get a good enough shot of the crowd so Greg had to lift her onto a pillar to take the shot.

She took time out for a client and then went that extra little bit to record the successful event.  Now that’s going that extra mile for a client (or 10k in this instance)!  It’s not going to appear on an invoice or a time sheet, but the client will remember it and so will Greg and I!!  For me this photo sums up going that extra mile for a customer.

There are other things we have done within Fuzion.  I joke that I dropped a dress size for a client!!!  Well my client Kate, was starting a really fab weight loss programme ( that I totally bought in to, thanks to her enthusiasm and passion for the product.  I wanted to be her first paying customer.

I went on to lose over a stone in weight in a month (badly needed) but was able to prove that the product was as good as our press release said.  I admit it was a big motivating factor that I didn’t want to let my client down by failing in my mission to lose a stone!!!  I was able to send messages out on facebook, once a week on my progress; received great encouragement from my friends and my client got some new clients as well as good exposure for her product.

Another example would be our work with Cystic Fibrosis.  We were once asked by a member of the board, who belonging to us had CF?  They felt we were so passionate about the issues that we must have a family member with CF!  We went on to win a major national award this year for our work with this client.

I don’t think a week goes by without one of the team going that extra mile for a client and I continue to be impressed by them and so glad they are part of the Fuzion family.  I know I can rely on them through thick and thin.  This past year has been especially tough, with not just work stuff, but losing my mum and others not being very well.  But they have shown me that not only do they go the extra mile for clients but for each other.

Such teamwork has helped us through so much and despite all the craziness around us we still have fun, we work hard, play hard and on the eve of our 10th birthday, I just want to dedicate this blog post to them and to thank them for focusing on what is important.  Happy Birthday Fuzion Love Dee xxx : )

I didn’t mean to spend your money- A poem by Anna Melia

November 24, 2010

One of the reasons I decided to work in PR was for the variety of interesting people I meet on a daily basis. No two days are the same, without wanting to sound too clichéd.

Recently, I came into contact with a lady called Anna Melia who wrote a book called ” A walk in my Shoes”  The book is an account of some of her life experiences. She has been writing poetry since she was a child. Much of the book concerns her relationship with her son Derek, who died aged 32 from Cystic Fibrosis. It is a touching book, a book which is getting a tremendous response from people.

Earlier today as we chatted about different ideas in relation to her book, I asked her whether she was still writing poetry. She told me that recently she woke up with the words ” I didn’t mean to spend your money” In her head. Soon she had written a poem, a poem about Ireland and the crisis we are going through. She wanted to capture the fighting spirit the Irish have always been renowned for. Today, more than ever, we must cherish our writers, artists, musicians, poets and thinkers. We must protect them.

I hope you like her poem as much as I do.

A poem about Ireland

I didn’t mean to spend your money
I just wanted milk and honey!”
As the bear droned on and on
It dawned on us it was a con.

Men in mercs and men in suits
Sold us out and here’s the fruits
Ireland’s now completely broke
And has become a world wide joke

Children yet unborn will pay
Broadcasters tell us every day.
Doom and gloom and downcast heart
This veil of worry we’ll not part.

“True, true, I hear you say,
I dread the start of each new day“.
A Patient lying on cold trolley
Wonders where is all the money.
His mortgage now he cannot pay
“Out, out,” the judge will say.

With picks and shovels in the shed
Ireland’s spirit is not dead.
With hands and hearts we’ll make a light
We Irish love a darn good fight.!

Forget the mercs, forget the suits
Lets dig and find our working roots.
Through the years we built and slaved
In other lands their roads to pave.

Now its time to build our own
And help to bring our youngsters home.

By Anna Melia

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