Deepak Kumar

Senior Press Officer - Transport for London

What is your proudest professional achievement? 

The Elizabeth line launch campaign. I grew up in Forest Gate acutely aware of how the Elizabeth line could help transform the lives of people from underserved communities across the East and West of London. Working on an award-winning campaign that turned the long-awaited opening into a moment of national pride and distanced it from being a byword for delays and budget overruns was therefore an immensely rewarding piece of work for me. My highlights from the campaign include pre-launch filming with BBC Click, photo-calls with the Mayor of London and TfL's Commissioner with hundreds of transport enthusiasts, live opening-day news broadcasts with the BBC and ITV, and an iconic moment involving the Queen using an Oyster card. 

Which social media platform do you use more than others, and why? 

X. It's constantly being derided as the world's biggest outrage machine, and perhaps rightly so, but for me it remains the best social media platform for the latest news and conversations on current events from around the world. Misinformation, flattened discourse, and trolls continue to be perennial problems on the platform; however, the eclectic mix of people I follow on it, including journalists, football fan accounts, and activists, make sure that whenever I open the app I am able to learn something new about the world, and often through a different lens. Also, memes. No platform has better memes.

In your view, how can PR employers better retain talent? 

Increase pay at the entry-level. The salaries for entry-level roles at agencies in cities like London make it impossible for anyone from a working class background to sustain a half decent standard of living. Many people in my network have left the PR industry because of it for roles in industries that pay far more handsomely. Until this is addressed, particularly in the wake of the cost of living crisis, the industry will continue to be partially-subsidised by middle class parents. 

If you could change any one thing about the comms industry, what would it be? 

I would ban greenwashing. Work that downplays the seriousness of the climate emergency and promotes solutions favoured by the fossil fuel industry is a blight to the PR industry. Now, more than ever, everyone in the industry urgently needs to get comfortable with asking themselves, their businesses, or their clients, the tough questions regarding the climate emergency. Only once this is commonplace, will the industry be able to reshape its approach to work focused on the climate and make room for campaigns that are genuinely grounded in science. 

What is the motto you live by? 

Do not take life too seriously, you will never get out of it alive.