Getting to know our Fellows: Q&A with Camilla Manistre

Camilla Manistre is the head of business communications, commercial & institutional at NatWest Group. Here, she talks about her start in IC, and the importance of being continuously open to learning.

02 Jan 2024

How did you end up working in internal comms?

My start in internal communications was a happy accident. I was working as the assistant to the Head of Marketing at PwC and studying for my first degree in Film & Media at Birkbeck in the evenings. As part of my degree, I was majoring in journalism and screenwriting and had every intention to pursue a career in journalism. However, when a vacancy in the internal communications team at PwC opened, I applied and got the job.

Getting that first job in internal communications gave me the opportunity to be creative and it opened my eyes to a career journey which I wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise. That was 20 years ago, and I haven’t looked back since.

Why did you choose to pursue a Fellowship?

The IoIC has played a really important role in my career, in terms of the excellent training courses they run and in building my network. Since late last year I’ve been doing the MA in internal communication management that IoIC runs in collaboration with Solent University and it has been fantastic. I’ve learnt so much and met a fabulous group of fellow IC professionals.

Becoming a Fellow this year has been the icing on the cake and I’m looking forward to giving back and getting more involved with the important work the IoIC does for our profession.

What has your career in internal comms taught you?

So many things. I’ve spent a good portion of my career business partnering senior leaders and that has taught me a lot about being a trusted adviser, flexing my style, building rapport, and supporting leaders to become the most effective communicators they can be.

Likewise, I have learnt lots about the inner workings of big organisations. We really are privileged insiders as internal communicators as we see so much about strategy, business development and change from the inside before it lands with varying stakeholders.

What advice would you give to internal communicators who are at the beginning of their career?

Be curious and learn as much as you can, all the time. Get yourself a mentor who can guide you, build fantastic relationships in the business, shadow frontline colleagues so you understand what they are facing day-to-day and spend time investing in yourself.

I’m a passionate believer in dedicating time to learn more about our profession – so be curious about new and evolving trends in the market. Make the time to go on lots of courses, shadow people in comms who are working on programmes that you haven’t got experience of. And build yourself a good network of business and IC people – you never know where your career will take you and who you might end up working with again in the future.