Interview with Sarina Kiayani, Senior Public Affairs Officer, Dogs Trust  

At Grayling we wanted to shine a light on the incredible women in the Public Affairs industry and the work they do. 

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be posting a series of interviews with inspirational women across the Public Affairs industry, discussing their careers and their experiences so far, how we can make the industry more inclusive, welcoming and progressive – for both men and women – as well as their predictions for the year ahead in politics. 

This week, we spoke to Sarina Kiayani, Senior Public Affairs Officer at Dogs Trust.

 

Sarina Kiayani is a Senior Public Affairs Officer at Dogs Trust. She has previously worked in agency at FleishmanHillard and Dentons Global Advisors. She is an advocate of women’s issues and is currently Women’s Officer of Young Labour, Membership and Recruitment Lead of Labour in Communications and Social Media Officer of the London Young Fabians. 

What attracted you to a career in public affairs?
I was always very interested in politics, having studied it at A-Level and university. When I graduated, I knew that I wanted to work in politics but not for a particular party, so that’s how I ended up drawn to Public Affairs. It was actually an internship at Grayling in my second year of university that made me decide to work in Public Affairs!

What advice would you give to women who want a career public affairs?
Joining networking groups, such as Women in Public Affairs, and attending their events is a great way of speaking to people in the sector to get advice on tips on applications. It’s also good to build your own political profile, such as through attending events run by political organisations and writing blogs, and to keep up with the news and key events like the Budget.

What has been your career highlight to date? 
Working with Carolyn Harris MP as part of the Menopause APPG to successfully lobby the Government to cut the cost of HRT prescriptions for those going through menopause. Menopause affects 50% of the population, with many suffering adverse side effects and unable to access sufficient treatment due to high costs. Because of Carolyn and her amazing activism, access to menopause treatment has now become fairer and more open to those on lower incomes.

What are your predictions for the coming year in politics?
The Government has been flagging in the polls for a while, so I think we will see them trying to retain their voter base as much as possible – the immigration announcements are just the start of this. The content of the recent Budget was another indicator of this, but I expect there to be more of a wider focus on driving up economic productivity and keeping closer ties to businesses through regular engagement to avoid losing their support – which is good for Public Affairs professionals, I guess!

How can the public affairs industry deliver gender equity?
Producing surveys and action plans to identify where there are gaps in organisations on gender parity, and how this can be addressed. Also profiling women in the industry, through blogs and knowledge-sharing events. 


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