Meet the In-house Elites

The history of the in-house comms/corporate affairs chief has been one of steady evolution, but recently the pace has quickened.

L-R Cory Reynolds, Jamie Dunkley, Dr LeMia Jenkins Thompson, Fiona Laffan, Sophie Timms.
L-R Cory Reynolds, Jamie Dunkley, Dr LeMia Jenkins Thompson, Fiona Laffan, Sophie Timms.

New responsibilities have been thrust onto this new breed of ‘in-house elite’ as businesses adapt to modern demands. These often mean more oversight of a strengthened public affairs function, enhanced internal comms capabilities, investor relations and regulatory remits, and, increasingly, corporate brand and digital development. 

PRWeek has interviewed five of what we’re calling the ‘in-house elite’, to gauge more about their backgrounds and their new roles, and how those are likely to evolve from here. (As a side note, we’re not saying this group are the most senior figures in in-house comms. Rather, they have moved into clearly expanded roles, with one exception, within the past year or so, and offer a fascinating perspective.)

The profiles touch on key themes: the necessary meeting of comms and public affairs under one umbrella; the ascendance of internal comms; the growing importance of digital content and branding; the role of data and analytics; reporting lines; evolution of the media; and agency relationships. Our subjects share their views of some of the biggest challenges of our time, including diversity and sustainability. Underlining all this is the impact of the great accelerant: COVID-19.

It’s noticeable how many of these enhanced roles have emerged over the period of the coronavirus. The five discuss how the pandemic has affected day-to-day operations and consider the wider, long-term implications. Meanwhile, the status of the in-house elites vis a vis the hallowed ‘C-suite’ is also considered.

We start across the Pond, with a comms professional whose career has taken her from US political campaigning to the biggest company in the world and, most recently, to social media firm Pinterest.

More PRWeek In-house Elites profiles will be published over the next few days.

Now read:

The In-house Elites: 'The road is endless for comms leaders’ 

The In-house Elites: 'I’ve had to roll up my sleeves and do the doing’ 

The In-house Elites: 'It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity’ 

The In-house Elites: 'The future will be as complex and fast-moving, if not more so’

The In-house Elites: 'It’s not every day you get to build a FTSE 100 press office’

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