Looking to the future with Lynne Franks


From leaving school at sixteen to working as a journalist and subsequently starting her own PR agency from her kitchen table at the age of twenty-one, Lynne Franks has been at the forefront of the changing societal patterns and has shown time and time again her ability to predict changes. Interview Editor, Lotte Micklethwaite, talked to Lynne about her incredible career and the opportunities coming into our rapidly changing world.

Lynne left school at sixteen wanting to be a writer and journalist. “School wasn’t really for me, so I went to secretarial college and in those days it was feasible that, as a woman, you could go from being a secretary to go up the ladder to become a journalist.”

“I very quickly was trained up from being a secretary to be an editorial assistant at Petticoat Magazine, where I was working with many female journalist pioneers.” 

After working as a journalist in a few jobs, Lynne moved towards PR. “I got a job by accident at a PR agency through someone I met as I couldn’t get a job on a magazine that I really wanted. And I soon realised that PR was a natural fit for me. After only about 6 months, I met Katherine Hamnett at London Fashion Week and she convinced me to do her PR and start my business. I was 21 at the time.”

We live in such a different world and it’s largely to do with social media

Talking about the organic way in which her career began, Lynne expresses “I think it’s still possible to do that – it wasn’t but now it is again.” Even in the last few years, the possibilities have expanded. “We live in such a different world and it’s largely to do with social media and technology, meaning it is very natural for young people to become self-employed or start their own businesses or have multiple careers once again.” 

In discussing the ways in which careers have shifted in recent years, Lynne highlights the similarities between her generation and young people, particularly how making a path like what she took is more accessible once again. “Baby boomers like me who grew up in the 50s and 60s have more in common with young people now than the lot in between. The way we think about life, how we go about life, travelling, I think we have a lot a of similarities, far more than either groups usually realise.”

“The influences of the 60s, although we didn’t have social media, were similarly aligned to those now. We were backpacking, travelling, nomading. Our attitudes to politics, music, festivals, and life in general, were more open and relate a lot more to young people now.”

It is the role of my generation who have been through it all to be mentors for the younger generation

The recent years have certainly thrown a spanner into the works and have led many people, in particular the younger generation, to reconsider the structures and systems that were previously just accepted, in a similar way to that seen among youths in the 60s. Lynne reflects on this uncertainty discussing that “there is no stability anymore and we are in a fluctuating world on a monthly, weekly, daily basis. And this change could go really well, or it could be really quite nervewracking and we will find out soon enough which way it is going.” 

Acknowledging that there is “a lot of dark stuff happening”, Lynne sympathises with all that young people will inherit. “Whether it be climate change, corruption, greed, war, there is a lot of shit going on, especially for women, LGBT+ communities and minorities. And it is really the role of my generation who have been through it all to be mentors for the younger generation.”

Throughout her career, Lynne has been passionate about this idea of passing wisdom down, providing opportunities, and helping to create a new generation able to better tackle the issues that past generations have not dealt with effectively, having worked with young people both in the UK and globally. “It’s what all my generation should be doing, we should stop being selfish and just be there to leave our legacy and teach young people what we have learnt from our mistakes.” 

Lynne is hopeful that with the guidance of older generations, younger people will be able to change the existing system. “The whole system needs to change and it needs to change fast because it is all corrupt. Yet it is evolution, not revolution that will do this. Buckminster said ‘You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.’ This is how change needs to happen and how I think it will happen. I still have faith that we can create something so much better that starts on a community level and incorporates everyone and all ages in their own roles.”

Photography by: Joseph Hunwick

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