The inside track on leadership

PRWeek's Leaders in Communications conference is designed for seasoned professionals from big brands, with big responsibilities. Below, 10 of our speakers, selected from the cream of the crop in PR, share their thoughts on getting creative, the all-important CEO/comms relationship, and investing in the 'reputation bank'.

Leverage reputation management as a corporate asset

"Ensure you get your key stakeholder engagement right. If your opinion formers have a strong understanding of your business, they are likely to impart that to others and enhance your reputation. Get it wrong and it can do untold damage."
Geoff Loader, Director of Communications, Southern Water 

"Continuing to invest in the ‘reputation bank’ through responsible corporate citizenship and effective customer and stakeholder engagement remains key and with the social web, active management of reputation has never been more important."
Tim Harrison, Vice President, Global Communications and PR, Sony Mobile Communications

"Remove reputation management from the responsibility of the ‘communications’ board member. Make it part of the CEO’s main target to ensure it becomes more of a tangible asset rather than the intangible one it is at the moment."
Richard Parkinson CEO and Founding Partner, IncrediBull

On CEO/Comms relationships

"You should be able to sell the benefits and absolute necessity of your role to the CEO. If you can’t, then you can’t be a very good communicator. In my limited experience it’s not the CEO who undervalues the comms function. They might think they know more than they do, but then again they might know more than you…" 
Polly Neate, Chief Executive, Women’s Aid

Top tips for creativity

"Think and act like editors of publishing organisations. Have a mobile-first mind-set, understand how your content works across paid, earned and owned media channels." 
Dominic Redfearn, Global Brand Diageo Director, Diageo

"Hire smart people. Monitor best practice among your peers. Consider new distribution platforms with care." 
Oliver Rawlins, Group Director of Communications, Guardian Media Group 

"Create a strong team and trust them. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new strategies. Share experience, never stop thinking about how you can do things better." 
Nicola Green Director of Communications and Reputation, Telefónica O2 UK

"Look to the outside for inspiration, ensure strategies are insight-driven, take risks and learn from failure." 
Jane Lawrie, Public Affairs and Communications (PAC) Director, Coca-Cola Europe

Drive innovative comms strategies

"Think big first – and then tailor to need/budget. Test with an honest audience, before your ideas go too far. Assure the board it will be evaluated – the best way of bringing colleagues alongside the seemingly daftest idea."
Arthur Leathley, Director of Communications, DECC

"Abolish hierarchy in your organisation as much as you can. If everyone feels equally able to contribute you will tease out the best thinking from across the team instead of hearing the same old thing from the usual suspects." 
Fiona Thorne, Corporate Affairs Director, Gala Coral Group

Leaders In Communications will take place on 6th November at South Place Hotel in London, and is an exclusive and closed-door event. For more information and to read the full interviews, go to

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