Introducing our Account Manager, Ruth Davis, with a few questions to get to know her and hear about her background and passions.
What’s your experience prior to OXygen?
I graduated from The London School of Economics in 2017, with a degree in International History, completing multiple courses in economic development, international affairs and submitted my dissertation on the AIDs epidemic. During this research period I really began to find an interest in human rights and development.
After graduating, I joined an American media company, working on research for clients such as UEFA and The Olympics, before starting my career at Oxford HR. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with so many wonderful organisations; from smaller UK charities to multilateral organisations and everything in between. I also spent a month with my colleagues in Senegal, learning French and meeting some of our clients such as Plan International. I’ve volunteered with Widening Participation at LSE, a tutoring scheme for disadvantaged London schools, Crisis at Christmas and taken part in Concern’s Ration Challenge. My very first volunteer experience was at a local library when I was 10 years old, so I’ve always been keen to be part of the for-purpose community!
What can you bring to OXygen’s clients in your role as Account Manager?
I really enjoy getting to know the organisations we work with and how they tick. I’ve had experience working with lots of different clients during my time with Oxford HR and I find it fascinating to learn about their mission and values, and how both their internal and external communications can help achieve their ambitions. One of the great things about OXygen is the passion that our team has for the sector, and we strive to act as an extension of your brand, as if we were an in-house team. I really think that communication and transparency is absolutely critical for any client relationship, and it’s rewarding to be a part of our clients’ mission for the duration of a project.
Why do you feel digital communications are so important in the for-purpose sector?
I think the rise of Gen Z, and especially their online activism, is something that could really be harnessed by the sector. We’ve seen amazing examples of this with the school climate strikes and the Black Lives Matter movements. These ‘digital natives’ are not only changing the current landscape, they are the future of the workforce. And with 72% of Generation Z stating a greater interest in social causes since the start of the pandemic, they’re likely to have a vested interested in the for-purpose sector.
I think digital media is a great tool for change. Last month I organised Oxford HR’s first ever Knowledge Festival, where we gathered to discuss important, but not totally comfortable issues within the sector. Platforms like Zoom, Twitter and LinkedIn are vital in creating safe spaces where people can learn from each other, and in order for us to best represent the communities we serve, the work has to start from within.
Who is your dream client?
I’ve always been really interested in the justice system in the US, particularly with regards to detainment, so working with Clive Stafford Smith’s organisation Reprieve would definitely be a goal of mine. Similarly, organisations like Detention Action are doing invaluable work for refugees and asylum seekers being detained indefinitely, so it would be amazing to support them.
I’d also like to engage more with Innovative Finance organisations, be it microlenders like Kiva, or Impact Investment organisations.
What are you most excited about achieving with OXygen?
I’d really like to see clients being braver with their communications. For a while we’ve been seeing the same sort of messaging that focuses on the why. I think the for-purpose sector needs to start highlighting the how; showing audiences the incredible work they’re doing and having greater transparency. Especially interesting is the debate around ‘suffering sells’; there is a real controversy surrounding European filming in local communities, especially those that are vulnerable. A really great resource is the film ‘STOP FILMING US’ by Joris Postema. Furthermore, with attention spans getting shorter and shorter (research indicates that Gen Z has an attention span of only 8 seconds!) campaigns need to be much snappier whilst still conveying the key message.
With current thinking around diversity and inclusion growing to incorporate other factors such as diversity of thought and diversity of lived experience, there is a really exciting opportunity to change the way we communicate both internally and externally. Difference really is something to be celebrated, and there is huge potential in this space to create more engaging and tailored campaigns.
Ruth joined the Oxford HR Group in 2018 after completing a BA in International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science, submitting a dissertation on human rights policy during the AIDS epidemic. Excelling at all things project management, Ruth works across the Oxford HR Group on all things related to communications and marketing, with a particular focus on digital innovation.
She has worked on assignments for a variety of clients focused on areas such as conflict resolution, the environment and conservation, housing and poverty, internationals security and UK charities / board roles. Ruth holds a Certificate in Professional Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Certificate in Project Fundamentals and is learning French. Her main areas of interest are the justice system in the United States and how digital communications can be used as a tool for development.