Tara Sillery
Interviews

Tara Sillery : “Women should support, elevate, love, honour, respect and encourage one another”

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Tara Sillery:

“Women should support, elevate, love, honour, respect and encourage one another”

Interview with Founder of PR Passion : Tara Sillery

Hailed as the regions “Fashion PR Empress” by IN Magazine, Irish expat Tara has resided in the Middle East for twelve years. She launched her successful career in the region with a Kuwaiti owned Boutique Development company where she headed up the Communications Department. She then moved onto brighter horizons and established her own boutique agency in 2014. Tara is the founder of Public Relations and Media Company “PR Passion” and operates the majority of her business activities between Kuwait, Dubai, Lebanon, Europe and the USA. She is a Global Brand Ambassador for numerous corporate, beauty, cosmetic and fashion brands within the region and beyond.

Tara Sillery

How has your background helped you in this role?  

In an ever changing and competitive world, especially nowadays when people are so deluded with social media, fake followings and likes, my Irish background has most certainly helped me to stay VERY grounded!!  I will never allow myself to forget my roots, and to always keep myself very realistic in my outlook and mindset in this industry and life.  I work alongside many high-profile figures across the world but to me, everyone is human, everyone is normal and I do not entertain ego/s or narcissism.

What has been the most rewarding part of your work in the region?

Honestly speaking, to watch clients achieve their goals and see their dreams turn into a reality is probably one of the most rewarding parts of what I do.  Watching my Kuwaiti designer Mashael Al Mutawa open at NYFW was a huge highlight as many designers and artists do not get the local recognition that they deserve. 
Many people outside of the industry do not realise the struggle that young and upcoming designers face.  Sleepless nights, endless competition, expenses, people who imitate their work to name but a few of the struggles.  The list is endless!  To witness those close to me succeed is the one thing that makes my heart skip a beat!   Whether this be my fashion, food, art, sports or beauty clients, to watch the hardest working people succeed is the most rewarding part of my job.  Working with so many amazing people, especially local men, has been highly rewarding as I break barriers and have amazing stories to share with people who think that working with men here is impossible.  In fact, for me, working with local leaders in the industry has NOT been a challenge, it has been one of the most valued parts of my career and I consider myself highly blessed to be in the position that I am in.

What is your biggest success story as a Fashion PR Empress in the UAE?  

I think the fact that I am still here and have not run off to a deserted island with no internet is a huge success story!!!!   I don’t pinpoint one particular story as a success as for me, getting through each day, learning new things daily and navigating my way in a highly competitive industry, in such a transient world is a success in itself.  I personally don’t think we need to have one example of what makes us a success.  In a pressured world where everyone is so desperate to be something they are not, being present in the market with a loyal and happy list of clients is my success story.  That and having loyal and trustworthy people around me makes me a success story.

How do you motivate and inspire other women to pursue their careers here in the Middle East? 

THE most important thing of which I instil and is pretty evident when you first meet me is that we are NOT IN COMPETITION with one another!  Women should support, elevate, love, honour, respect and encourage one another.  Never tell another woman she cannot achieve her dreams.  Always encourage one another but be honest and do not talk nonsense of give fake friendship advice.  Stay true to yourself always, we all have different skill sets.  We all have our own pathway and journey to take, not all the same journey, so always support one another.  However, I also have limitations on what I support, absolutely never support narcissism or fake personalities! 

What strategies have you implemented to ensure that your business is successful in this region?  

Stay true to my beliefs and my moral compass.  Never deviate away from my life purpose and never jeopardise my position or reputation for fame nor money. I would also never undercut another agency; I would never engage in discussions bad mouthing another person in the same industry and I stay true to what I believe in.  I have strong political and moral beliefs and stay true to myself always and don’t engage in business activities in which I don’t believe in.

How have you adjusted and adapted to cultural differences when marketing brands in the Middle East? 

For me living in a region of which I respect immensely, means I have immersed myself into the culture since day one.  Frankly speaking, there are not that many differences between the Irish and Arab culture in terms of many aspects of life such as family life and hospitality.  The main challenge I have had is when I appear on TV in the USA or Europe and have to educate people who tend to have a very blurred vision of how life is in the region.  Those in the west tend to believe that women are treated differently to men.  That we don’t have women in senior positions in the region nor are women allowed to work – giving such people examples of local successful women is a favourite pastime of mine when representing the Middle East when abroad.

What advice would you give to young women looking to break into the PR industry here in the UAE?  

Find your niche, find you, find what you know you excel in.  Stay true to yourself and do what makes your soul happy.  If you genuinely do not love what you do, there is no point doing it as you will bore easily and never be content.  In a world where we spend most of our time working, whether it be in the office or online, inner happiness is paramount.  Never allow anyone to make you feel like you cannot achieve your dreams and never allow anyone make you feel that you are inferior to them.  Never give up, we all have down days and bad days but the most important factor in life is to never give up.  Put on a brave face and kick butt! 

Biggest misconception about PR 

So many people have the perception that PR is all about going out, being popular and going to events.  Do not get burnt thinking that being out at every event is what makes you successful!!!  It is actually the polar opposite.  In fact, my ideal night out is a night in!  If was hiring someone and see that they are out every single night, it would somewhat cloud my perception of how they will deliver when it comes to the strategic side of this industry.  Never underestimate how difficult this industry is.  It is not all glamour and it is most certainly not about going out every night.  I have been backstage in LA fashion week pinning dresses together and pushing models down catwalks !  It is not always glam so make sure you are prepared to give it your all. 

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