29 PR pros who have gone places since being in the PRWeek 30 Under 30

The PRWeek 30 Under 30 has been highlighting the industry's stars of the future since 2006. Now it's the future - so what have the previous entrants been up to?

Having released our series of profiles on 2018's 30 Under 30 cohort yesterday, today we look at some previous entrants who have gone on to bigger things.

In honour of the fact that the list was originally the 29 Under 29 when it launched in 2006 (inflation kicked in for 2013), we have picked 29 alumni for this list.

It was pleasing to see so many past entrants carve out impressive careers. But with such tight competition, a number of successful figures haven't quite make the cut here, as we've tried to provide a broad spread of career paths and sectors.

We've omitted alumni from 2016 and 2017, for the obvious reasons that they're still young 'uns, while there are no representatives of 2014 on the list for an even better reason: we did not undertake the project that year.

Here we go:

1) Drew Benvie (2006)

Then: account director at Lewis PR

Now: founder, Battenhall

Benvie's creation Battenhall is a PRWeek UK Award-winning agency, known for being ahead of the curve on flexible, modern working practices.

2) Barney Hooper (2006)

Then: PR and events manager at Homechoice

Now: comms director for The O2

Since leaving the TV and VoD service, Hooper went on to become comms director of one of the country's most high-profile venues – a role he's held since 2014.

3) Liz Williams (2006)

Then: account manager, Threepipe

Now: head of food and Plan A product PR, Marks & Spencer

Williams has worked her way up through M&S to a senior role with a focus on its sustainability programme, Plan A.

4) Daljit Bhurji (2007)

Then: an independent consultant having recently left Hotwire

Now: CEO and founder, Diffusion

Bhurji set up his own agency in 2008, and is a mentor on PRWeek's BME Mentoring Scheme

5) Jace Tyrrell (2007)

Then: head of comms, New West End Company

Now: CEO of the same organisation

Tyrrell now leads the organisation representing the businesses in one of the world's best-known shopping districts.

6) Manisha Ferdinand (2007)

Then: account director, Idea Generation

Now: senior PR manager, entertainment, Amazon

Alongside Netflix et al, Amazon is playing an important, disruptive role in the way we consume entertainment. Ferdinand has also worked for Sky.

7) Scott Bowers (2008)

Then: co-head of UK Sports practice, Weber Shandwick

Now: director of comms, Jockey Club

Leads PR and comms at one of the country's biggest leisure operators, and has won a PRWeek UK Award for work there.

8) Rachel Bremer (2008)

Then: senior director, SPR Europe

Now: global comms directors, ASOS

Bremer's employer is one of the most relevant names in consumer fashion. You might also have heard of her previous employer, a website called Twitter.

9) Alisdair Haythornthwaite (2008)

Then: director, Pelham PR

Now: partner, Consulum

Stayed with James Henderson's Pelham after it merged into Bell Pottinger, and now works with other alumni at publicity-shy geopolitical specialist Consulum.

10) Danielle Whitney (2008)

Then: client lead, Biosector 2

Now: EMEA MD, W2O

W2O has grown strongly in recent years since healthcare specialist Whitney joined in 2011, and is now ranked 37 in the latest Top 150.

11) Sarah Todd (2008)

Then: PR manager, Gentoo Group

Now: global client leader, Geometry Global

Todd has moved beyond PR and now occupies a senior leadership post at this WPP experiential agency.

12) Alex Finnegan (2009)

Then: consultant, Mandate Communications

Now: director, Brunswick

Left Mandate (now MHP) the following year, and was Sir Alan Parker's chief of staff at Brunswick before moving to its office in Washington, DC.

13) Simon Hailes (2009)

Then: media relations manager, BBC

Now: director of external comms, Barclays

In addition to his high-ranking role at Barclays, Hailes is a Royal Navy reservist. His boss at the BBC was none other than Ed Williams.

14) Danny Stone (2009)

Then: director, APPG against Anti-semitism

Now: director, Antisemitism Policy Trust

Stone may be the only MBE among 30 Under 30 alumni – he was awarded the honour in 2017 for services to combating hate crime.

15) Toby Craig (2010)

Then: head of comms, The Bar Council

Now: director of comms, City Football Group

Craig swapped silks for soccer to join Sheikh Mansour's football business group, which owns Manchester City FC, New York City FC and Japan's Yokohama F Marinos.

16) Alex Myers (2010)

Then: founder, Manifest London

Now: founder, Manifest Group

A start-up back in 2010, Manifest has now gone international and made the Top 150. (Bonus listing – Manifest's Ali Maynard made the list in 2013, and is now group business director.)

17) Annabel Rayer (2010)

Then: founding partner, Silver Ball PR

Now: head of PR, events and sponsorship UK & ROI, Nestlé Nespresso

Rayer, who moved to Nespresso in 2015, was Jeremy Hunt's press officer earlier in her career.

18) Steve Strickland (2010)

Then: head of creativity, Weber Shandwick UK

Now: co-founder Talker Tailor Trouble Maker

Moved from Weber to a similar role at M&C Saatchi PR, his new agency with Gary Wheeldon is one to watch.

19) Emma Silver (née Boon) (2011)

Then: campaign director, TaxPayers' Alliance

Now: special adviser to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling

Silver won't be the last person to move from the influential low-tax pressure group to work for the Tories.

20) Amy Lawson (2011)

Then: head of comms, Channel 4 News

Now: global head of comms, Sage

"A total one-off," Jon Snow said of Lawson in 2011. Her path to accountancy tech firm Sage included being chief press office at the Cabinet Office.

21) Kate Pogson (2011)

Then: account director, Red Door Communications

Now: head of health, MHP

Has lead one of the industry's bigger healthcare teams since 2015.

22) Dylan Sharpe (2011)

Then: head of media relations, Countryside Alliance

Now: Theresa May's head of broadcast

Sharpe's route to Number 10 involved eventful stints as The Sun's head of PR and as MP Damian Green's special adviser.

23) Maria Allen (2012*)

Then: account director, Burson-Marsteller

Now: director of external affairs, The Estée Lauder Companies UK and Ireland

Allen has packed a lot in, working at the former Department for Energy, on the Tories' 2015 election campaign, and at Jaguar Land Rover before joining the cosmetics group.

24) Nick Pickles (2012*)

Then: director, Big Brother Watch

Now: senior strategist, public policy, Twitter

A former Conservative activist, Pickles joined Twitter in the UK in 2014, moving to San Francisco this year.

25) Rich Leigh (2012*)

Then: account director, 10 Yetis

Now: founder, Radioactive PR

Not one for conformity, Leigh has officially changed his name to Public Relations, and doesn't much fancy coming in on Fridays any more.

26) Beth Murray (2013)

Then: associate director, Lansons

Now director of comms and engagement, Catch 22

Murray's current employer is a large provider of various youth, employability and education services. She is a 2018 fellow with the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

27) Amy Richards (2013)

Then: senior consultant, Lexington Communications

Now: director of comms, Global Witness

After stints with Labour, Stronger In and Portland, Richards has just taken up at this influential anti-corruption NGO.

28) Gemma Cook (2015)

Then: PR manager, Samsung

Now: PR manager, Alexa & Echo at Amazon

Cook has also worked for HMD Global, the revivers of the Nokia 3310, before joining Amazon.

29) Andy Silvester (2015)

Then: campaign director, TaxPayers' Alliance

Now: head of PR, The Sun

Silvester's predecessors at The Sun (Dylan Sharpe), and before that the TaxPayers' Alliance (Emma Silver), are now senior government spads. Just FYI...


In addition to these movers, we salute those who have shown loyalty to an agency and progressed their career within that firm, including (but not limited to): Ellie Bacon (2010, Aspectus), Sharon Bange (2009, Kindred), Chris Blackwood (2011, Third City), Lindsey Davies (2009, Open Communications), Sarah Jones (2008, iseepr), Natalie Maule (2008, africapractice) and Joe Walton (2011, Weber Shandwick).

A few, of course, have moved on from PR: for example, Thomas Morris (2015, Fishburn) is now a product specialist at Allianz Global Investors and Kiera Donovan (2013, Subway) has co-founded a skincare firm.

Others, meanwhile, haven't strayed far from PR: Carys Afoko (2012, New Economics Foundation) now leads feminist campaign group Level Up, while Katie Lloyd (née Simpson) (2007, Media Trust) is a development director at BBC News.

*(Apologies to those from the 2012 cohort, your article may not appear correctly on some browsers.)


Read next: The 30 Under 30 2018 - the can-do generation

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