PRWeek UK 30 Under 30: Alex Kolawole, APCO Worldwide

We hear from Alex Kolawole (29), senior associate director, APCO Worldwide.

An APCO intern six years ago, Kolawole is now one of the agency's most sought-after client leaders and a leader in integrated comms. His key achievements include leading APCO's fastest growing client, Upfield, into one of its largest global accounts - driving revenue growth in Europe from 27 per cent in 2019 to 44 per cent in 2020. An advocate for diversity in PR, he founded and co-leads APCO's first ever diversity & inclusion council in Europe.

Nominator says: "Alex may be under 30, but he brings the courage, wisdom and leadership skills of someone far his senior"

Take me back to the full 30 Under 30 list for 2021

What's your favourite thing about working in PR?

It is one of the most creative and rewarding industries. We’re in the business of capturing public attention – that challenge keeps you on your toes so no two days are the same.

What have you learnt about yourself during the COVID-19 crisis?

The COVID-19 crisis has reinforced the importance of some values I try to live by. I value authenticity. One thing we’ve learnt from the pandemic is how much we treasure our community and human relationships. The crisis has reminded me that authenticity will always have a positive impact on any relationships including those in the corporate environment.

Check out the 30 Under 30 Newcomers list here

What do you think will be the single biggest change to the PR industry brought about by the pandemic?

The biggest change to the PR industry brought about by the pandemic is (hopefully) proactive action from companies to create a truly diverse and inclusive industry. Previously, companies could make meaningless statements about 'commitments to diversity and inclusivity' without any tangible action; however, societal attitude to these statements has changed. Activism is at its peak, so the public has more energy to scrutinise companies that talk without action.

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

An intensive effort to ensure the senior leadership teams in the PR industry truly represent the societies they engage. Representation will increasingly become an important factor for the talent pipeline.

Which social media site is most important to you and why?

Tough question, but it has to be Twitter. It’s a huge source of knowledge, comedy, and inspiration if you’re following the right people. I also think it’s one of the last channels that doesn’t rely on filters and a social bubble, which means most of the content on the feed is genuine.

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