PRWeek UK 30 Under 30: Jo Dalton, Lodestone Communications

We hear from Jo Dalton (29), account manager, Lodestone Communications.

PRWeek UK 30 Under 30: Jo Dalton, Lodestone Communications

Formerly an aide to ex-Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, Dalton joined Lodestone last autumn, and the agency says she's already had a huge impact. Notable successes include: organising a report about how tech can support innovative businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, which was championed by MPs and peers; and securing celebrities including Joanna Lumley alongside high-profile politicians for the RegistHERtoVote campaign.

Meet the PRWeek 30 Under 30 2020

Judge's comment: "Jo's nomination really stood out because of the impact of her work, such as political decisions being overturned. She's clearly about much more than generating media coverage and sounds like one to watch for the future."

How does working in PR differ from your expectations?

Before joining Lodestone I worked in Parliament and had reservations I might miss the unpredictability and energy of politics. However, the creativity and dynamism within PR has exceeded my expectations. I’ve been blown away by the passion, integrity and drive of my colleagues and clients.

Describe your experience of working in PR during the COVID-19 crisis.

Working with lots of tech clients has enabled me to see first-hand the innovation and creativity that has been unleashed to help us all live better lives and stay connected during COVID-19. Although on the other hand, my pro bono work for a campaign trying to get devices to vulnerable people has shone a light on the divides in our society. I feel lucky to be able to work remotely and stay connected with my friends and family.

How (if at all) will the COVID-19 crisis change the PR industry?

I’ve seen a surge in virtual events and meetings to adapt to the new way that people are working nationally – including changes in politics that I never thought would happen. With COVID-19 as a catalyst for modernisation, virtual Parliament was set up within a matter of weeks. This presents an opportunity to change the working practices of politics today – hopefully creating a more inclusive and flexible environment, especially for women.

What one thing above all would you change about the PR industry?

Diversity in the industry. More needs to be done to make the industry more diverse and representative of our society. I want to see proactive steps taken to help more women, BAME, LGBT+, working class and disabled people thrive, progress and lead in our industry.

What is your 'side hustle'?

I’m passionate about improving female access and engagement in politics. For five years, I’ve been an organiser for RegistHERtoVote, which is a cross-party grassroots campaign aiming to promote women’s voices in public life and encourage more women to vote.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I worked for the Labour Party for five years from 2015 and have been involved in three general elections, two leadership elections and the EU referendum. I learnt a huge amount during this pivotal period in British politics but, along with the rest of the public, was ready for a break from elections. In my next five years, I’d like to stay at Lodestone and use my experience to help clients to engage with the Labour Party purposefully. Maybe in five years’ time we will see a Labour government.

How do you switch off from work?

I love cooking and exercising. During lockdown I have been learning new recipes and doing online workouts in my garden, as well as trying to find places for wild swimming.

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