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Be Seen, Be Heard

May 17, 2017


On Tuesday 2nd May, I ditched the office for a day in the land of showbiz – or Northern Ireland’s equivalent of Hollywood the BBC’s broadcasting House. How did I get here? Last November, I accidently landed myself on BBC’s Newsline at Down Royal talking about Brexit (whilst holding a glass of Merlot). This just so happened to coincide with the launch of the Be Seen Be Heard initiative which I had seen promoted on the Lean In Belfast Facebook page. I filled an application form and had the privilege of being accepted and attending the Be Seen Be Heard Media Familiarisation day. In one word it was AMAZING!! There is another intake in September, which unfortunately is currently oversubscribed but get applying and get yourselves on the waiting list.


During the morning, we undertook a workshop with local celeb Sarah Travers and Mike Philphott and got to meet and hear first-hand from two female BBC producers, who told us that they needed women to step up and stop making excuses to not appear in their programmes.  


It was pretty simple, men who are contacted will say YES before even hearing the full details whereas women will doubt themselves and think surely someone else will know more than me. In essence, we need to be braver and just say YES…to all opportunities.


Throughout the day, I met such fascinating women, those who championed their charities, causes and research. After the opening round the table introductions, I really felt like a fraud as a tax specialist and definitely far too corporate. It was that female doubt beginning to creep in and I hadn’t anything valuable to say… but we all do, each and every one of us in our chosen field. Why should the population consume media provided by men, when half the population are women! (Special shout out to fellow Lean In member Sinead Steenson, who helped give me some confidence and provided a proper Lean In!!)

The main learning point that I have taken from the day was the power of 3! Humans remember things in threes, Churchill actually said Blood, Sweat, Toil and Tears – we remember only Blood, Sweat and Tears!!

When communicating your message whether via a vlog, interview of snippet on the radio – use 3 key points. We should all be more pro-active and shown the power of Twitter. Identify the news outlets available to us in NI, there are quite a few and follow the presenters and correspondents who cover your area of expertise, reply to their tweets with your opinions on current stories. Many of the media’s researchers find news on the social media especially Twitter, since the training day my own Twitter activity has increased and so has my number of followers.


Over the course of the afternoon, we conducted fake (not fake news though) TV and radio interviews and received a tour of the BBC studios. The TV is just another piece of electrical equipment, think of it as a toaster, we were told. I found it best to try and ignore the camera and the cameraman and focus on what my message was. Our messages should be clear, concise, easy to understand and have a takeaway / action point for the listener/viewer.


Looking forward to watching and listening for you all to make your voices and opinions heard on Twitter, radio and TV….Ladies, Be Seen Be Heard.


Lorraine is the manager within the corporate tax department of Grant Thornton NI.  The team provides corporate tax compliance and advisory services to small, medium and large companies. She has led the delivery of services to clients in sectors such as technology, manufacturing, retail, energy and property. She has considerable experience in providing UK tax compliance services to companies and liaising with decisions makers based in the UK, Republic of Ireland, mainland Europe and the US.

She is a qualified Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) and is a member of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA). She is currently completing an Advanced Diploma in International Tax and has been awarded her Transfer Pricing Certificate. She is also a freelance writer for publishers specialising in accountancy and tax books.

My social media handles are:
Twitter : lorrainen6


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