Olam International is a leading agribusiness with 26,300 employees, 47 product supply chains and operations in 70 countries. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, the company grew from being a one-product, one-country company in 1989, to becoming the global leader in many of its businesses just 26 years later, making it one of the few challengers this sector has seen in over a century.
Olam is looking for a senior PR executive to join its UK London office to develop and drive impactful campaigns for some of the world’s most challenging developmental issues.
The pace is fast. The work is challenging but rewarding. We spoke to Briony Mathieson, global head of corporate communications at Olam International, to find out more about the senior PR executive role and what it’s like to work as part of a business that touches millions of people’s lives.
Briony Mathieson, global head of corporate communications at Olam International
Tell me more about Olam International and the work you do
Olam is one of those huge companies you have never heard of but you’ll be eating chocolate made from cocoa beans we’ve handled, drinking coffee from the farmers we have supported and wearing cotton first processed in one of our cotton gins. We are ‘the brand behind the brands’, counting among our customers and partners some of the biggest names in the food industry including Nestlé, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Rainforest Alliance.
Why would someone want to work at Olam?
The breadth of Olam’s business means no two days will ever be the same – one day you could be helping to drive forward our Pan Africa comms campaign, the next learning about women in cashew processing and a week later publicising the results of our award-winning Olam Livelihood Charter. With Olam’s purpose of ‘Growing Responsibly’, you will play your part in an organisation whose business and products touch millions of people’s lives directly and indirectly.
What role are you recruiting for and what are their responsibilities?
We are looking for a hungry PR executive with a nose for news to help manage proactive PR campaigns and tell our story.
What kind of person are you looking for?
Ideally you will have experience of working in a complex multi-stakeholder environment where you have honed your writing skills and powers of persuasion through media and digital channels. You will be smart and efficient in your approach, able to think creatively and have a keen eye for detail and accuracy.
What kind of career challenges are PR professionals currently facing?
The blurring of lines between traditional ‘PR’, marketing and advertising means we all need to have multiple skills up our sleeves, be collaborative and have the flexibility and commercial awareness to understand what will work best for our business and communications objectives. I’d also add consumption of news.
Even in the B2B space, we’re all facing a proliferation of channels. Reading anything more than a few paragraphs now is a luxury. So you have to really think through how you communicate on complex and diverse issues. Images and short videos are now a major part of our comms toolkit as they can say so much in a such a short space of time. Our mindset is becoming more B2C than B2B.
A session in Nigeria where Olam's field workers are teaching rice farmers to use pesticides safely
What exciting projects are you working on?
Too many to mention! One that stands out is the launch of Science Prize for Innovation in Food Security – supporting research that really will make a difference to people’s lives. We also have a Sustainable Futures Forum coming up in Singapore, multiple press trips to three continents, and we are looking at how social media impacts our traditional audience.
Sum up what it's like to work at Olam International
We say on at least a weekly basis that it’s time to ‘strap yourself in’! One of our values is ‘stretch and ambition’ – the pace is fast and the work challenging, but working within a supportive international team and having ownership to deliver impactful results is extremely rewarding. We are also very good at having fun in and out of the office.