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We find out about Sarah Roberts’s role as a communications manager in a large NHS trust, and her love of tea, in the latest in our IoIC People series.

Did you always want to work in communication?

I stumbled into communication as I have a head for business, and wanted to be able to use my creative skills too. I never realised how interesting and varied a typical day in comms could be – that was until I joined Coventry City Council's communications department on a summer placement whilst at university. I'm entirely grateful to them for heading me down this path.

What was your first experience of internal communication?

At one organisation I was working at, I remember seeing their internal newsletter and thought I bet I could do a better job. So I put myself forward to take over and did!

Tell us a little about your current role.

I'm currently communications manager at a large NHS trust in London, and it's my job to make sure the stories of our staff and patients are told internally and externally. I get to work closely with our inspiring front-line NHS staff, as well as the Executive Team. With 6,000 staff and a population of 750,000 people, it makes for a variety of communication opportunities and challenges. It's a really exciting time as our team grows and we explore new technology and digital media.

What stands out for you about IC in the health sector?

For me internal communications is incredibly important for any organisation, and particularly so for the healthcare sector. There's evidence to suggest that happy and engaged staff equals safer outcomes for patients, meaning communications can impact care. This is what motivates me to continuously improve. It can sometimes be a challenge to reach front-line staff, so it's nice to think outside of the conventional communications box. There's also an active community of NHS comms people who are always willing to share ideas and best practice.

Tell us about an achievement you’re particularly proud of.

There are many achievements that have made me proud in recent years including gaining the CIPR Diploma and launching the NHS trust I work at as smoke-free. I’m particularly proud to have helped the communications assistant I previously line managed to grow and develop to the next stage of his career. I find developing talent incredibly rewarding.

What was it like to find out you’d become one of IoIC’s ‘Under 30s’?

I was super chuffed to find out I was one of the 30 under 30. There are some top people in the category and it's been great getting to know some of them and seeing how they approach internal communications differently in their sector.

What would you like to be doing in 10 years’ time?

I like to aim high, so I hope I'll be somewhere leading a team of inspirational communications people to be the best they can be, driving up the standard of excellence. Though I'm sure the face and technology we use to deliver comms will undoubtedly look different.

Tell us about an experience that made you stronger.

In my younger years I was always the shy kid. That was until I joined the Army Cadet Force. The four years I spent getting muddy on camp, practising rifle skills, orienteering, and even teaching recruits the ropes, made me realise I could accomplish anything with relentless determination. This attitude has never left me and I'm who I am today because of it.

Twitter or Pinterest?

I'm much more active on Twitter (you can find me @sarahrroberts), but I love to pin once in a while – it's perfect to help me plan my wedding!

If you were going to devise and present a TV programme, what would it be about?

I have a penchant for all things tea. I'm absolutely bonkers about the stuff! I even run my own tea blog – The Tea Girl, so it would definitely be tea related. Perhaps a round the world travel programme to the big tea producing countries.
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