Most of us would see giving a shout out to someone who is in the same industry as yourself (and who holds a similar level of experience) as highlighting the competition. And maybe that is, to an extent, the case but here goes. I came to work alongside PR powerhouse Simon Murphy some 3.5 years ago, as a freelancer and found a sense of comradery and commonality that complemented my own professional credentials. Simon is super switched on, diligent and one of the best operators in the PR landscape. The spotlight is usually on our clients, but this time it’s on one of my industries brightest change makers.
The Little Things Interview
Describe yourself in one word: Taurean.
When do you work best – morning, afternoon or night?
Morning without a doubt. If I feel that I’m going to turn in under-par work just to meet a late deadline, then I would rather break the deadline (whilst managing my client expectations naturally).
What is your personal passion outside work?
I’m an ocean lover and find a surf trip or even a long beach walk and a dip in the big blue a great recharger. I also enjoy contemporary art (the highlight for which was a visit to Tate Modern in 2014), soul and funk music (thanks to my wife Georgina for this) and film (I have a share in my brother’s production company Solar Productions).
On a more serious note I’m passionate about environmental and mental health issues.
Exercise-wise, do you prefer to sweat, stretch or strengthen your body?
A bit of everything really, although in recent years I’ve given up the heavy weights in favour of cardio, the goal being a lean flexible body over brawn. I also ran my first, and last, marathon in 2013! I did fairly well but running no longer features in my exercise regimen.
How do you define success? Professionally speaking being in the PR game for so long I used to say that you are only as good as your next press clip, but in this changing media world I no longer believe this is the case and personally am now more impressed by campaigns that achieve longer term outcomes that don’t necessarily always hit the headlines but do help inform national debate on issues that really matter.
What does it for you most? For me it is when junior colleagues step up to the plate and take ownership of a client issue or project, and in the process really think through the challenge and see it through to the desired outcome. Nothing pleases me more than seeing those I work with (or have worked with) grow in confidence as a result.
What’s your secret weapon to getting things done?
My weekly to-do list. Call me old fashioned, but reflecting on the crossed-off items at the end of the week is very satisfying.
Also there is truth in the adage ‘eat the frog’ and do it early, preferably over phone rather than email where difficult issues can get so misconstrued.
Best communicator you know – living or deceased – and why?
This doesn’t necessarily reflect my political persuasion, but I think what Margaret Thatcher did in the UK in the 80s really spoke to the UK as a nation, and whether you liked her mandate or not she followed through on it. I would argue New Labour under Tony Blair followed a similar path and I don’t think there is any coincidence that the current UK PM David Cameron was a spinner in a former life. Successful politicians know how to tell a good story.
Closer to home and I also hold Chris Savage in high regard. He was the founding CEO of Ogilvy PR Australia and taught me a considerable amount about winning new business and crisis management. Whilst much of this comes down to good methodology and process, a fair chunk is also about gut instinct, intuition and getting inside other people’s minds to understand the story from their perspective.
So thank you Chris.
Your favourite quote: “There is a better way to do it – find it.” – Thomas Edison
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