The Interview

Fresh Face

Posted in Economics, Finance, Interviews, Uncategorized by rosalindbrabner on July 9, 2009

This is an interview I conducted with Emily Tam for WIBF magazine.

 This month Rosalind Brabner caught up with Cambridge graduate, Emily Tam to find out what it is really like to be a Fresh Face in finance.

Tell Us About Yourself?

I studied economics at Cambridge and once I had graduated I looked for jobs in either banking or accounting. I was drawn to accounting as there were opportunities to gain qualifications and train whilst working. So for three years I was involved with a work and study programme and am now a qualified accountant. I’ve really benefitted from this as I’ve developed transferable skills and am now an executive for Ernst and Young.

What aspects of your role do you enjoy the most?

Right now I manage engagements; I’m working with different clients and portfolios of investments as well as being in charge of junior staff. When I first started I was confident about dealing with the technical side of things but it turns I actually enjoy interacting with clients the most.

Do you find being a woman in banking and finance a challenge?

I do still find it a masculine dominated industry, for example I was on a training course this week and out of the 25 people on the course there were only 6 women in the class. You have to be quite strong in this industry but my company hold meetings and seminars especially for women to meet other women in the same work environment and were able to discuss the challenges that we face. I do feel that women are being supported in this industry and that is important to me as there is still a pattern of male dominance as you move up the career ladder in finance.

What do you think has contributed to your success in this industry?

It is the full experience I’ve had in the company, I learnt a great deal and feel valued by my team. Being from Hong Kong I think I look differently at things, I have much more of an international perspective for example I look at the bigger scale, I think about the global view and I know that makes me stand out. Two of the best career achievements last year for me were travelling to Madrid and Milan on business and I’d love more opportunities to travel with work.

What are some of the more important criteria you look for in a choosing career?

I want to know that I’ll be able to progress and develop new skills. As an Asian woman I need to know I’m in a diverse and global company. Diversity is important to me as I want to know I’ll be recognised in the work place. Also I think it is important for companies to encourage flexible work hours, a company that doesn’t expect you to work very long hours so your able to control your own time.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

In the summer I play tennis but most of my spare time is spent socialising with friends. I like inviting people over for dinner and just hanging out and having fun with good company.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I hope to stay with the company hopefully with the opportunity to make senior management and I’d also really like to work in another country, either China or the US.


Posted in Interviews, Journalism by rosalindbrabner on January 12, 2009


In 2007 I interviewed innovative designer, Werner Aisslinger about his striking Loftcube creation for Kudos Magazine.


German design has reached an all time high, Rosalind Brabner reports on the new mobile living space which can be attached to your very own roof.

Seductively luxurious and utterly modern the Loftcube is only for people living the high life. A four hundred and twenty foot see through retreat designed to be tucked away upon roof tops is not only unashamedly cool but can boast a similar frame to a London studio.


Designed by German architect Werner Aisslinger, the Loftcube’s unique design was originally intended to fill the spaces of the flat roof tops of the post war high rises in East Berlin. Providing the perfect space for a modern day tree house Aisslinger’s aesthetic and minimalist designs are strictly grown up.


Another attractive prospect about the design is its versatility. The customer can be given creative input on the visual aspects of the interior. “The unique, modular system with its flexible components allows us to incorporate the ideas of our clients. Each of the four facades gives the Loftcube an individual aesthetic and functional character. Transparent, translucent coloured panes of glass or closed panels and different shading devices enable the desired amount of light entry and air circulation”. The mobile unit which can be delivered directly to the rooftop by helicopter or dismantled then reassembled was originally only compatible with flat roofs but its popularity has since encouraged award winning designer Aisslinger and his team to work with some very different landscapes from beaches to riverbeds.


One of the design’s biggest achievements is its adaptation into a floating home. Attached to a pontoon on a Lake in Canada, Aisslinger and his building team managed to get round the forest authorities’s disagreement for planning permission by attaching the frame to a floating foundation.


To achieve such quality in exterior and interior design Aisslinger uses only the best materials, “we value the quality and exclusivity provided by experience partners as well as the use of high quality materials. We have established exclusive partnerships with renowned brands such as Berker, Bulthaup, Dupont and Vitra”. It is not only the quality of the framework that concerns Aisslinger extra efforts are made to create a feeling of total relaxation. The designer pin points a combination of four factors which create the desired affect “spectacular views, light-flooded spaces, cosy warmth and innovative technology”.


Unfortunately the process to accomplish total relaxation involves a lot of hard work. For the Loftcube to be fully functioning with plumbing and heating it must be connected to the building’s utility lines the team has to check the rooftop’s ability to accommodate the extra weight and the cube’s ability to withstand ferocious winds. It’s a very technical process that can take up to four days but considering the Loftcube can last a lifetime it’s worth every second.


Ascetically striking and culturally innovative, the Loftcube is an exciting project look set to dominate the flat roof tops of our cities. In the Loftcube Aisslinger has firstly provided a space to work and play, but with the help of the 360 degrees windows it is also the perfect place for the city goer to sit back, relax and appreciate the birds eye view of the manic world beneath them and not to mention to indulge in the romantic spender usually only captured on a balcony in a five star hotel.


Posted in Interviews, Journalism, Media, Radio, Uncategorized by rosalindbrabner on December 29, 2008

Kate and TimBack in November 2007 I was comissioned by channel 4’s 4talent to investigate the celebrity obsessed radio industry. I interviewed Kerrang! (West Midlands) radio’s breakfast presenters Kate Lawler and Tim Shaw to find out whether they thought radio presenting’s future is in the hands of reality tv stars and d-list celebrities.

Please note this interview took place before Tim Shaw decided to hammer the final nail in his already vunerable radio DJ career by fixing the shows comeptitions for mates.


More and more reality TV stars and d-list celebrities are turning to radio to resuscitate their media careers. Rosalind Brabner talks to the top dogs at Birmingham’s Kerrang! radio to find out whether this industry trend is damaging the chances of young radio hopefuls.

Celebrity Obsessed?

Like most aspects of the media industry the radio world is a highly desirable career path. Thousands of students graduate from radio specialist degrees each year in the UK, but thanks to our current celebrity-obsessed media is it possible that this talent is wasted in favour of a recognisable ‘name’?

Kelly Osborne, Goldie Lookin’ Chain and even z-listers like Richard and Leah from Big Brother are just a handful of examples that have used their fame to rule the airwaves. That’s not to say that there aren’t examples of new talent coming through in the industry: Radio One recently plucked UEA graduate, Greg James straight from the clutches of student radio, but is this just a unique case or is there room in the industry for more home grown talent?

Communicating Chemistry

“We looked at a lot of different options but the chemistry was so strong”

Midlands radio station Kerrang! made column inches recently when former Big Brother winner Kate Lawler was announced as the new co-presenter of the prime time breakfast slot along with controversial radio DJ Tim Shaw back in October.

Gordon Davidson, Programme Director of the rock music station admits “having a name is of interest” but stresses that it is the content that is paramount. “We looked at a lot of different options but the chemistry was so strong, they get on with each other and enjoy working together.”

Big bother?

“Big Brother did open a lot of doors, and I don’t think all the things would have happened otherwise”

Having dabbled in a number of media projects after her success on Big Brother, such as TV presenting and modelling, 27 year old Kate is certainly thankful: “Big Brother did open a lot of doors, and I don’t think all the things would have happened otherwise – I wouldn’t have tried to get into this industry”. But Kate explains her background as a reality television star hasn’t always helped her career. “There were a lot of times where people said ‘I can’t really employ her because of Big Brother’- but on the whole I’ve had really nice response.”

Kate’s co-host, 32 year old Tim Shaw believes that there is definitely room in the industry for new talent: “English radio is on its fookin’ arse big time, nobody is doing anything new”. Ranked third most controversial radio DJ of all time by an American broadcaster’s website, the father of two has been sacked or suspended from every station he has ever worked at, and says, “We need brighter people in commercial radio: it’s full of idiots”. With a first class degree himself from Ravensvourne in Kent, Tim believes there is a need for graduates in radio: “it just moves you forward- I think that it will weed out all the twaddle, and it shows you’re serious about it.”

Hard graft

“You need to really demonstrate your skills and professionalism to get noticed”

Like all careers in the media, success within the radio industry is at least partly determined by the amount of experience that you gain. Birmingham City University student Jay Dormer juggles his radio degree with working part time for Chrysilis radio at Heart 100.7 and Galaxy 102.2, believing “you need to really demonstrate your skills and professionalism to get noticed because there really is a lot of competition always on your back.”

Despite lacking notoriety as yet, Jay has a positive outlook for the future of his radio career: “There are loads of opportunities out there; I wouldn’t say I’ve so far found it really difficult to get into the industry.” And is he worried about the increase of known names in radio? “Going to university has given me skills that I can use to make a difference, a Z-list celebrity is more likely to turn up, squeeze their big head through the door and do a simple mindless job.”

Ego trip

“Some of the world’s best DJs are up their own arses”

Never short on opinions, Tim Shaw thinks “some of the world’s best DJs are up their own arses,” while Gordon Davidson on the other hand believes it’s important to “learn from those who’ve been around before” but stresses it can simply boil down to “a lot of luck.”

“Radio is full of dreadfully insecure people”, Tim says, and his best advice for people considering a career in the industry is therefore to “go away and ask yourself every day for a year if you really want to be in radio.” And if after that year they still want the same career? “Then hands on experience is better than anything.”

The reality

“Radio is full of dreadfully insecure people”

Having a ‘name’ is a clear headstart in any media career but it’s pretty obvious you need more than that to sustain yourself in the business.

Kate’s clearly one of the lucky ones – which is not to say she doesn’t have talent – but she admits doors have certainly opened for her due to her celebrity. But for every Kate Lawler there’s a Tim Shaw, and thanks to the likes of DAB radio and internet stations it’s getting easier for the next radio savior to have an impact on the airwaves.