Aedhmar Hynes is a highly respected global CEO and leader in the technology and marketing communications industries, having spent almost 30 years at Text100, a digital communications agency with 22 offices and more than 600 consultants across Europe, North America and Asia.
In her current role as chair of Page she is working to harness the power of the world’s best communications executives to transform business, playing an active part in the recent release of a comprehensive survey about the future of the CCO function.
What would your advice be for a young person entering PR in 2020?
It’s the same advice I tried to follow when I got my start in the early 1990s: Find your passion. Mine was for business and tech. PR became a vehicle to explore that.
A career in PR can take you anywhere you want to go. It’s a path to explore passions across industries, business disciplines and geographies. So, remain constantly curious and become a business scholar so you understand how your work can make a profound impact on your organization and the world around you.
PR is constantly changing, but it feels like we’re at a fundamental tipping point — what role should the industry play in government, society and business?
While institutional trust may be low, trust in business remains relatively high, putting brands in a unique position to be an authentic voice for good in our society. Brands taking stands, if you will.
Equally, many businesses are experiencing an existential moment and struggling to determine their place in the world of all their stakeholders. This provides a huge opportunity for PR professionals to advise on when and how it may be relevant for business to do so.
How are the founding principles of PR relevant in today’s fast-moving and febrile communications environment?
I’ve always believed PR at its best helps organizations express their corporate character. The Page Principles have been a touchstone for me throughout my career — especially the first two: "Tell the truth" and "Prove it with action."
Those foundational principles are more important than ever in a world where authenticity is often the most important currency. Technology provides greater transparency for all stakeholders to engage with brands in a meaningful and authentic way — making truth and action more important than ever.
What was the main lesson you learned after taking over as global CEO of Text100 just before the dot-com bust?
I learned that people need strong leadership. The dot-com bust was just one of many cycles the technology industry has gone through. To survive and thrive during these times, it’s essential to have a clear vision, a road map of how to get there and the confidence to lead people in times of great uncertainty.
What keeps you excited about working in PR?
We have always talked about the power of purpose and values in driving business performance. I’m excited today to see that garner more traction in all industries and across the world. For a company to express its true character through its purpose is incredibly important and meaningful work. To now be in a position to influence this as a board director is incredible.
What do you miss most about Ireland?
Family and friends — although I’m fortunate to be able to get home to visit my mum as regularly as possible. I’m increasingly interested in how business and society is progressing in Ireland. It has been at the forefront of many issues I care about, whether that’s gay marriage or a woman’s right to choose.
It makes me proud to see the emergence of a more confident and assertive generation in Ireland.
How do you relax?
This is an area where I’m in need of personal development. But when I do, I spend time with my family and enjoy cooking, theater, opera and yoga.
Dry gin martini.
Favorite band and album?
Damien Rice — O.