Serina Tan (pictured above) has had just under two years to recuperate and spend time with her family after leaving her high-pressure role as APAC MD at Allison+Partners. Now, she's back with a new venture: Brewer Consulting, a firm that aims to offer agencies and corporates bespoke advice.
Strategic comms advisory will happen at a senior level for corporates and will cover the areas of brand marketing, social impact, employee experience, and crisis comms.
"I'm not looking to compete with agencies, but rather, I'm looking at partnering with both client and agency teams," Tan told PRWeek. "It's not the first time I've set up a PR consultancy from scratch. But what's different now is that I'm hoping to make a positive difference in my own small way."
The big-picture objective of the agency right now is clear to her: to make a positive impact to society. And this is what has informed her decision to offer bespoke coaching rather than focus entirely on brand or crisis work. The coaching she refers to will focus on mental wellbeing, an area Tan became increasingly passionate about during her brief career hiatus.
Based on positive psychology and mindfulness techniques, Tan's principles took shape when she picked up a book on the topic and learned to apply stress-combating techniques during Covid. She also took courses around these areas in the last few months. And when a personal loss hit her family early this year, she used it as an opportunity to apply her learnings to better handle her grief.
Tan said that the industry could do with a dose of positive psychology, especially during this period of trials and tribulations.
"If the PR industry is so stressed right now, I think the best thing that employers can do for their employees is to arm them with the tools to manage their stress," she said. "At this point in time, skills mastery is as important as mental wellbeing.
When advising leaders, meanwhile, Tan said she will focus on topics such as leading with compassion and challenges that women leaders face, rather than merely prioritising performance-based marketing.
Tan, who is particularly passionate about aiding women leaders in managing the stresses of work and home life, said that women tend to be harder on themselves when they fall short in either area.
She said: "Women tend to be compassionate leaders, but they tend to be more self-critical. They need to learn self-compassion. We're not superwomen, we can't do every single thing with perfect outcomes. And we need to recognise that and be aware of our own limitations."
On advice for those looking to start their own agency, Tan said it's all about "landing a big first client" which she is hoping to gain soon.
She added that it's not about planning too much in advance: "You don't have to overthink it. As long as you try your best and honour your work, the work will come in. Maintain the values of excellence and integrity while being client-centric and collaborative."