Into the lion’s den

Julie Burniston next to the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough, close to her new Tees base. Pic by Martin Walker.
Tees Business Digital Media Pack

Tees Life editor and events manager Julie Burniston reflects on her first few months at Resolution Media and Publishing…

When you make a decision to change your life, you may as well go the whole hog.

Back in June this year I was sitting in my home office in a London suburb. The new neighbours had decided to have a (very loud!) rap party starting at 8am on a Sunday, the 16-wheelers were roaring past the main road outside, and to top it all my stepfather had taken very ill the night before. I was fed up, overworked, lonely and stressed. I missed my family. London had long since lost its sheen. I wanted to go home to Teesside.

I picked up my phone and sent a text to an old friend and former work colleague, Dave Allan. “Gis a job” was the underlying message. You’ve heard of serendipity? It was certainly in force for me.

Dave and co-director Martin Walker had so much going on that I’m surprised they had time to sleep. They were about to advertise for more staff. Bingo! After a series of talks they kindly brought me on board to not only head up Tees Life but to write for Tees Business and organise their events too. It’s a good job I like a challenge!

Fast forward six weeks and I was firmly installed in Boho Four. As an initiation I wrote not only the cover story for Tees Life – singer Paul Smith – right up my alley, piece of cake – but the cover story for the autumn issue of Tees Business. I will be honest – it was my first ever business interview. Thank God Karl Pemberton was a talker. It was summer, I was nervous, I recall sticking to his plastic chair – not a good look!

I’ve learnt so much in the months since then and met the most incredible people.

Being the events manager for the Tees Businesswomen Awards allowed me access to some of the country’s most incredible and inspiring ladies.

I cried along with Cath Devereux and Jane Turner; I laughed with Ann Stonehouse and Victoria Lynch – and was inspired by each and every nominee. The awards night itself left me feeling overwhelmed and full of pride – it was another career first.

Writing this piece, it does make me wonder why I ever left the area as a teenager. Perhaps it was to enable me to fully appreciate just how great Teesside is when I returned.

As I go from one networking event to another and form relationships with contributors, business leaders, charity workers and our readers, one thing really amazes me. Not the lack of traffic on the roads – though isn’t that a great bonus of living in the North! – but the way the community sticks together, encourages and supports each other.

I spoke recently to a fellow journalist and we were both in a quandry. While we are justifiably proud of our region, want it to do well and shout its achievements from the rooftops, we also – selfishly – want to keep it to ourselves, because it is so special. I’m still working on that one…

Moving forward, it’s an incredibly exciting time for Resolution Media and Publishing. As well as Tees Life and Tees Business, there are two new publications due to launch very soon – Wear Business and This Is Tees Valley – plus we have the Tees Tech Awards in April.

I also have a couple of other projects up my sleeve – more about that later. Not that I’ve told Dave and Martin about those yet.

Being metaphorically thrown into the lion’s den with two established personalities on the Tees business scene, I’ve learned to choose my moments.

But if they’re anything, they’re ambitious, forward-thinking and want to grow. So there’ll be more to come from us in 2020.


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