Jez Ashberry at Shooting Star PR and marketing in Lincoln

Jez Ashberry

I am one of the agency’s founders and directors. As well as looking after some of our biggest clients, I’m also responsible for finance and recruitment, and with my business partner Kate I’m involved in the day-to-day running of our business. Between us we provide strategic direction for the agency. I line manage an account director who is responsible for about 50 per cent of our clients, so I naturally get involved with a good deal of our client work. I believe this is a good thing, as clients always like to feel as if they’re getting support from senior members of the team. I’m supported by an account executive, but we have a strong team working ethos and so we all find ourselves working across accounts to make sure we’re giving our clients the best service we can possibly provide.

My Skills & Experience

I began life as a newspaper reporter, and deep down I’m a writer and a newshound at heart. I also tried my hand at radio reporting, teaching and magazine editing before moving into PR as Press and Media Relations Manager at the new University of Lincoln.  

In my first PR role I set up the university’s Lincoln-based press office and delivered a strategy for keeping the university in the hearts and minds of Lincoln people, for whom living in a university was a new experience. I learned a lot about reputation management, proactive media relations, leading a team and translating what academics say into language that ordinary people can understand! 

My strengths are my copywriting, my PR instincts and my ability to unearth and craft stories for clients that engage their audiences. Along the way I’ve become a marketing all-rounder too, though we have experts in house who know more about that side of the business than I do! 

 I believe I’m a good leader and a good client account manager – our philosophy is to treat our team and our clients as we would wish to be treated, and to go the extra mile to make sure we keep our clients and staff happy. 

Leaving a steady job to set up the first PR agency in Lincoln was a leap of faith, but I was lucky to take the plunge with my business partner Kate Strawson. Working with Kate has been a privilege and a pleasure and we’re still enjoying the experience even as we approach our third decade!

Running an agency is hard work, and there’s always something to worry about, but it’s very satisfying to make a difference to clients and to provide a workplace where people feel safe, happy and valued. The variety is what I enjoy most about agency life – that and working with a great team who are always positive and supportive, whatever the circumstances!

My Work

As a news reporter I quickly learned how to immerse myself in a subject and understand it sufficiently well to be able to explain it to others. At the university I had to be across a huge range of topics, from international relations to food science, and from architecture to phonic art. Now, as an account director at a small PR and marketing agency, I’ve worked for a huge range of diverse clients: local councils and economic partnerships, niche manufacturers, law firms, accountants, charities, hotels, restaurants and many more.  

I look after two of our longest-standing clients: the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, for whom we started working in 2012, and glass packaging manufacturer Beatson Clark, who first hired our agency back in 2011. Along with the rest of the team I was delighted when we won a national UK Digital Excellence Award in 2023 for a campaign I led for charity Carers First 

As a senior team member with over 30 years’ experience in journalism, PR and marketing, I like to share my knowledge whenever I can; this could be by giving talks and leading workshops, or by mentoring students from the University of Lincoln. I’ve also written blog posts on everything from planning ahead during the Covid lockdown to the new rules of PR and marketing.