Kate Hartley: Good Communication Can Create Change

December 08, 2022 00:39:03
Kate Hartley: Good Communication Can Create Change
Genuine Humans
Kate Hartley: Good Communication Can Create Change

Dec 08 2022 | 00:39:03

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The Social Element

Show Notes

This week on Geniune Humans, Tamara LIttleton and Wendy Christie talk to Kate Hartley, the co-founder of Polpeo, and author of Communicate in a Crisis. Kate talks about how good communications can create change, why it’s critical to rehearse a crisis before you manage one for real, and the impact that a crisis can have on your teams. 

She talks about the people who’ve influenced her career, including Alison Taylor, Alison Clarke, Richard Houghton, and Tamara Littleton (and how Tamara taught her why it’s ok to be vulnerable, and how it is possible to be a good person and successful in business). She also looks at how the PR industry is changing, with power shifting to ordinary citizens, and how companies respond to that change.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:12 Welcome to Genuine Humans, exploring the stories behind the great marketing leaders of our time and hearing how their journeys have influenced the brand they've built, brought to you by the social element. Here are our hosts to Mara Littleton, CEO, e o and founder, and Wendy Christie, chief People Officer. Speaker 0 00:00:44 Welcome Speaker 2 00:00:45 Back to Genuine Humans. And I'm here with my co-host, Wendy. Wendy, how are you doing? Speaker 3 00:00:50 Hello, Tamara. I'm really well, thank you. I'm super excited cuz tomorrow we're gonna go and meet my stepdaughter's brand new puppy and he's called Obie and, uh, been buying all the, all the, the, the puppy grandmother toys and things. So I'm really excited. How are you, Speaker 2 00:01:04 Have you got little puppy coat or something like that? I haven't Speaker 3 00:01:07 Got a puppy coat, but maybe I've still got time to get one. So, <laugh>? Yeah, <laugh>. How are you doing? Speaker 2 00:01:13 I'm doing well. No, I, it's cuz it's, it's, we are recording this on a Friday. I've got a, a weekend coming up with, uh, Emma and, and the boys and I suspect they'll be pepper pig related, jumping in muddy puddles. That seems to be very much my life. Speaker 3 00:01:27 <laugh>, everyone likes jumping in. Muddy puddles, <laugh> <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:01:31 So we are going to be joined today. I am particularly excited and, and obviously this is a different one because we both know our, our guests very, very well because we are joined today by Kate Hartley, who is a PR and crisis consultant and the author of Communicate in a Crisis, which is an excellent book. But also Kate is the co-founder of peo, uh, my co-founder. I will say, I'm claiming you. Kate <laugh>. Uh, Kate. Kate, welcome to the podcast. Speaker 4 00:02:02 Thank you. I was, I'm really excited to be here. I love this podcast, so I'm, yeah, I was thrilled. Thank you very much. Speaker 2 00:02:07 Well, thank you. And what we're gonna do is I'm gonna ask you about your, your career. So would you mind sharing how you got into the PR industry, whether it was something you sort of absolutely wanted to do when you were younger or did you fall into it? Ju just take me through your early career and how you've got to where you are now. Speaker 4 00:02:30 So, I didn't even know what PR was when I was younger. Like a lot of people. I think I had absolutely no idea. So it was completely by accident. I had left university come out and done a, a TEFL course, a teaching English as a foreign language course. And I really wanted to travel and teach while I was traveling so I could earn some money. And that didn't work out cuz I met someone here and got into a relationship, you know, usual, usual thing. And then was completely skinned. And so, so I, I saw this temp job stuffing envelopes for a, um, a company who I didn't know. I'd never heard of them. They were called Edelman Hu. You know, they're the biggest independent, independent PR agency in the world. Um, but I didn't know anything about who they were or anything. And I was literally stuffing envelopes for, uh, aluminum can recycling campaigns, very, very glamorous. Speaker 4 00:03:18 Um, my starting pr <laugh>. And I, I just, I just really like the environment. I like the people. I suddenly realized that actually you could use publicity as a means for good. It wasn't just about, you know, promoting products. You could actually change the way that people think and behave and do some real good in the world. And, and that was a bit of a revelation for me, I think. And I really loved it. And I, I left for a bit and then, and and did a bit of teaching English as a foreign language here for probably about a year, a year and a half, something like that. And then went back to it because it just kind of drew me back. Um, really lovely people and amazing experience. A great first job to have, I mean, really incredible agency to work to work with, with working with Edelman. Speaker 4 00:04:01 And I kind of worked my way up a little bit there, had my first kind of experience of being around crisis management there. I was working for a big dairy organization and the, just as the b s e crisis was, was happening and although I was way too junior to be advising at that point on anything like that, I was really, really interested with how it was being managed and the communications around it. It was also the kind of time of the Edwina Curry egg salmonella thing. <laugh>. And so there was a lot of kind of really interesting stuff happening and I just, I love that little buzz that, that you get from, from managing a, a crisis. And again, that this idea that you could advise people to do the right thing in crisis situations was really, really interesting for me. So that started really young, I think. Speaker 4 00:04:47 Um, and then I moved to, as an account exec was something I moved to, to Shandwick again, it was, I, it was a subdivision of Shamwick, a company called Prime Communications and that was in the travel industry. I loved the idea of being in travel, I've always loved traveling and visiting other places. And so it was a kind of perfect, perfect place and, and worked my way up there to associate director. I was there for about six, five or six years and eventually we had to merge that travel and leisure division into the consumer division at, at Swick become part of a much bigger, bigger beast, which was really tough actually, cuz there was a lot of resistance from people who joined a small team. We, it was, it was felt that it was losing its identity a little bit and there were some really tough decisions to be made. Speaker 4 00:05:28 But actually I'm quite proud of how we did it because we did merge everybody in and we ended up being the most profitable team in that bigger division. And everybody by one person kept their, kept their jobs. And so I'm quite proud of that actually cuz cuz we survived as a, as a group, which was lovely. And then I had the opportunity to go and be part of something much smaller. Having done my stint in big agencies, I was working with somebody called Richard Howton who was starting a, a small tech PR company called Carrot Communications. So I went to, to work with him, really, really enjoyed it. Kind of working with some really interesting startup tech companies, although we started the company or Richard started the company just as the, the tech bubble burst literally by three weeks before the crash. So that was an interesting experience, but that again, really, really fascinating to be part of, of that industry at that time. Speaker 4 00:06:20 So I got much more interested in technology then and, and again, working on crisis preparedness for really big things. Like I think the biggest one probably was the technology provider, one of the technology providers for the Olympics. So what would happen if, you know, if the timing stopped working midway through a race, you know, you can't rerun it, you know, there's some really big stuff that you have to think about. So that was really, really interesting. And then I moved a bit more into to child safety, obviously working with what was their new moderation. Yes. Um, with tomorrow with you. And again, I found that area really fascinating. So I started to work with a couple of other social networks on their child safety policies and, um, reputation issues around child safety. And probably the, the most interesting work there was working with the amazing [email protected] who bought a fm, I dunno if you remember Ask fm, which was a yeah, mm-hmm <affirmative> pretty awful actually in those days. Speaker 4 00:07:15 Network for social network for teenagers. And it was full of really horrible problems. And ars.com bought it on legal advice because they were associated with it, even if there were nothing to do with them. So people thought that ars.com owned s fm, so every time something awful happened on a fm, ars.com would get the reputation hit, even though they were completely separate companies, nothing to do with it. So they ended up buying the company in order to clean it up or shut it down. Those were the kind of two things, if they couldn't clean it up, they were going to shut it down. And they were an amazing company, an amazing team to work with because they really genuinely wanted to do the right thing. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it was a very difficult period in lots of ways cuz obviously there was some really awful staff that the team had to see and go through and face up to, and realizing what some of those families had gone through with the kids on that side with the bullying. Speaker 4 00:08:04 And it was just awful, horrible stuff. But they genuinely really wanted to do the right thing and make it a safe space and they achieved that. And I think that was amazing. So that was an amazing thing to be, be part of. And so crisis has always kind of run through my career, I think. Yeah. There's a theme as a theme. Yeah, exactly. There's not few personal crises on the way <laugh>, um, but, but mostly, mostly kind of work related ones. So it seemed a really natural thing to then co-found Poeo. And tomorrow we were having a conversation, weren't we? I think and saying, you know, why is it in the early days of kind of people starting to talk back to Browns on social media rather than just, you know, it being a broadcast marketing platform. And we were looking at some of these companies who were just doing awful things on social media and going, why so wrong? Speaker 4 00:08:50 Yeah. Getting it really, really wrong, saying why are they doing that? And then there was this realization that they had no way of rehearsing it. They had no way to practice how they would do things on social before it, you know, before a crisis actually hit. So we had that light bulb moment, didn't we? Of let's build something to, to help 'em do that. And, and so Popeye was born and, and um, yeah, that was a, um, a really exciting time. And I will say it was about seven years ago. I think it was probably about nine or 10 years ago now, wasn't it? Speaker 2 00:09:15 Yeah, yeah. I think it was coming up to 10 years ago actually. Speaker 4 00:09:18 Yeah. Yeah. Gosh. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:09:19 Party Speaker 4 00:09:21 <laugh>. Oh yeah. It's a good idea. Good idea. I like that. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. And, and now, you know, I I, one of my favorite things to do is, is training people. I was training an amazing agency yesterday on their crisis, how, how to advise their clients in, in crisis communications. And I just love it. And I'm finally getting to use that training qualifi, that teaching qualification that I had all those years ago when I left university. I'm kind of combining that with, with the crisis work. So I just, I just absolutely love it. We train organizations all over the world now. It's incredible. But Speaker 2 00:09:52 It almost feels like everything that you've done is, has led you to what you are now doing. Speaker 4 00:09:56 Yeah, exactly. And I always felt a bit bad that I never used that tougher qualification other than that, you know, that very first year. But now I use it all the time. And when we are, we are training organizations, it's really, really useful to be able to know things like how to manage a room or how to engage with people, how to get people, how to draw people out, and how to open them up to learning without just talking at them. So how to run workshops and things like that. It's a really, really useful skill. I think it's, it's probably one that we should, we should look at more, I think. Speaker 2 00:10:25 And, and I think also you are doing it under that immense pressure of a simulation situation where people are being put through this very immersive simulation with a reputational issue and they're having to get press releases out. They're having to talk to back to activists and journalists on, on, you know, on social media. Yeah. And, and on the platform. And then you are having to try and train them at the same time when they're highly stressed. So Speaker 4 00:10:50 Really highly stressed and not always very opening to open to listening as well mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, because when you're really, really stressed, you, you are kind of closed to everything else that's going on around you. And so trying to draw them outta that is, is really interesting. I absolutely love it. And it's really fascinating to me to see how the dynamics of people work in that situation under pressure, because you see patterns of how people behave. And it's the bit I think in crisis management that people forget about is how, what the impact's going to be on their own teams. And we see patterns in how they behave. So we see, you know, at the beginning of the crisis simulation, they're really, really, you know, they're really on it. They really know what they're gonna do. They're really, you know, up for a challenge and then a couple of hours in, you just see them slump a little bit. Speaker 4 00:11:34 They're stressed, they're tired, they're adrenaline, you know, they're starting to get that little drop and they need a break, but they won't take one because they're still really trying to control this situation. And then after about four hours they start to do really bizarre things. People start to lie, they start to get defensive, they lose empathy. Um, they just, just stop caring about anything other than short-term survival. And I think we really need to look at the impact of the work we do on the people that do it, because we start to make bad decisions when we're under pressure and we're stressed and we don't give good advice. We don't do the right things. We do lose empathy. And you have to rehearse in order to overcome all those, those things. Uh, so that you know how you should behave in a crisis and, and the right things to do and how you make decisions. It's really, really tough. But it's, it's fascinating to watch it. Speaker 3 00:12:24 So you'd never heard of PR where you didn't know what PR was, where you were grown up. And actually I think nearly everyone that we've, that we speak to on this podcast, there's nobody that says, oh, I always wanted to go into marketing. I knew from, you know, since I was nine. So when you were, um, a kid, did you have any idea what you wanted to be? Speaker 4 00:12:42 Yeah, I think, I think I wanted, I sort of veered between, wanted to be a writer. I was a really, really avid reader and I wanted to write always. I was great for writing little short stories and things all I wanted to be a teacher, fun enough. I used to have, you know, teddy bears that I'd line up and then kind of be the school team <laugh>, Speaker 3 00:13:00 School Speaker 4 00:13:00 Teacher, <laugh> when I was, yeah, yeah. <laugh>. And the other thing I wanted to do was a professional peer. I used to play the piano a lot when I was young and I reached a, you know, reasonable stage re quite young. So that was always a real focus for me. I thought I was gonna go to music college and, and go into, into music in some way. And then I think I got a bit more realistic when I hit 18 and thought actually I'm going to be an impoverished pianist for the rest of my life. And actually this probably isn't, isn't the path for me. It would, it would mean giving up too much else in my life to really focus on music. So I stopped that. But I suppose now in a way I've got, I mean I haven't got the peer bit, but I've definitely got the writing and the teaching bit. So in some ways it's, it's been a very roundabout way of getting there. But I've, I've kind of, yeah, I've kind of met what I wanted to do. Speaker 3 00:13:48 There's been that thread that's been there for yeah, for a really long time. Yeah. And were you someone, uh, when you were growing up, who was, who was good in a crisis? Speaker 4 00:13:57 Yes. So my friends always used to say to me, why are you so good at getting yourself out of trouble? And I used say, cuz I've been in trouble quite a lot, <laugh>, um, you know, you have to you I, so I think I am quite calm in a crisis. I've always been a bit of a justice warrior as well, even as a child. I, I remember leading a, a march on the head teacher's office at school cuz one of the, one of the, our teachers was I thought, being bullied by another one. Um, so I went in and demanded a public apology. I think it was about 11 and got one I might say. Um, so I was always had a very kind of deep sense of, of fairness and things when I was, when I was young. Speaker 3 00:14:33 And were there any particular people who you looked up, looked up to when you were growing up? Who either someone you knew or a musician? Speaker 4 00:14:41 I used to, I was lucky. I had a, I had a amazing childhood. I had a very happy childhood. I had amazing parents who had not had particularly happy childhood. So I, so I think put a, invested a lot into us as a family and I really, really admired them for that. They, my mom was an incredible person. She, she lived in Malaysia for 20 years or 15 years, something. She spoke fluent Malay. Our house was always filled with people from all over the world and really interesting people. My dad was a soldier, so it, you know, they both traveled a, a huge amount. So I, I was really lucky in that way and I really looked up to both my parents. My mother had, both her parents had died by the time she was 14. She was brought up by a woman who hated her. And so she'd had a very unhappy childhood. So she was so invested in making sure that we had a lovely kind of family experience, which was incredible. And I had three older brothers who were much older than me. So big influences on me. Uh, my mother had been widowed before she met my father. So, and had three sons by that marriage, all of whom were, were a massive influence on me in, in very different ways. So yeah, I was surrounded by adults, I suppose that I automatically looked up to when, when I was young. Speaker 3 00:15:50 And how about, um, as you've gone through your career, have there been particular genuine humans who've supported you or influence influenced you along the way? Speaker 4 00:15:59 Yeah, there have been a few, actually. Funny enough, one of the women who, um, really influenced me was somebody whose team I ended up training yesterday in crisis. A woman called Alison Taylor, who was my first account manager at Edelman. And got me out of a bit of a hole, um, in a work situation. I had, oh, I really shouldn't tell this story, but I'm going to. Um, I really shouldn't. I, I had, I was running a load of events, I was quite junior, but I was running a load of events for a big client that was paying a lot of money into the agency. Uh, monthly fee was sign, it was about a full-time is my annual salary, so you can get that whole thing. Wow. And we were organizing 10 events and four, we'd done the first nine, they'd gone really well. The local contacts within the clients were, were sending out all the invitations. Speaker 4 00:16:46 We were doing the press, the venue, the flowers, the flying, the speakers in, you know, all that kind of stuff. And nine of them had gone really well. And the final one was gonna be in Bristol. And the night before it I thought, oh, this is the end of it. We've done, you know, we've done so well. It's the last one. And the contact at the local office rang me and said, how many people have we got coming tomorrow? And I said, oh, I was about to ask you that question. And then realized that I was supposed to invite the 250 people to that particular event and I'd forgotten to send out the invitations. Oh no. And it was the night before, Speaker 3 00:17:20 <laugh>, what are you doing tomorrow? Speaker 4 00:17:21 Oh my God. Literally, I, you know, you feel the fear rising, don't you? And you, it sort of gets you in the throat. And I thought, and you go through mad scenarios, you think, do I know 250 people that could turn onto to Bristol tomorrow and fill those spaces? We have media coming. I mean, you know, it was a big production and I, I had no choice but to fess up and I turned around to Alison. I said, I've done something absolutely awful. And she said, what have you done? And she was so non-judgmental. She didn't shout at me. She didn't, I didn't lose my my job, which was amazing. Um, and she just said, we are where we are. We need to just sort this out. We need to tell the client, we need to be open and honest about it and we'll just take the hit financially. Speaker 4 00:17:59 And then we, then we worry about, you know, how this happened. And it honestly, it had such an impression on me that, that particular thing, because I really felt the fear. I thought I was gonna lose my job. And she really helped me out of a whole. She, she talked to the client, she smoothed things over. We did take a bit of a financial hit on it, I think. But she really helped me see that actually sometimes just saying I've made a terrible mistake is the best thing that you can do. And I think that's true in, in, in, in corporate situations too. So I've always really remembered that event. Cause it was a very formative event. I was, you know, a very junior and I met her again years later and she didn't even remember it. And I was so up, I was like, this is the biggest thing that happened to me in my junior, junior career. Speaker 4 00:18:42 And she had no recollection of it at all. It was like, how can you not remember? Anyway, so she was a big influence. The other person, another Addison, actually a woman called Alison Clark, who was a big influence on me at Shandwick. She was the, she was leading the consumer division at Weber Shamwick when I moved over into that division and took the travel team over with me. And she was amazing. She still is amazing. She's just an incredible woman. She was so direct and forthright. She was one of these people that just very, very strong woman and just tells you exactly how it is and then you make a decision based on the information you have. And, and she taught me a lot about being very direct in communications, but also being a really, really good leader. But she was very fair, very kind, but really strong woman. Speaker 4 00:19:24 And so she was a big influence on me. And then a couple of others, Richard Howen, who I followed to Kara and then eventually took Kara over from him, um, when we decided to, to go our separate ways. But he's been a huge influence on me as well. I worked with him for, I think I first worked with him in 1996 until about 2010. So it's quite a long time. We're still really great friends. We had a lot of fun working together and he's somebody that I could absolutely rely on to give me a very direct answer, <laugh> if I had a difficult question. So yeah, he's, he's still somebody that I, that I talk to about work things a lot. And then finally, and this is gonna sound really silly, but Tamara has been such, tomorrow's been such a big influence on me and, and I'm going to embarrass you now Tamara, but it's, I think you were the first person really that I'd come across in work who didn't say to me, you need to be more ruthless. Speaker 4 00:20:15 You need to be more aggressive. You need to be more, you know, tough and, and actually showed me that being vulnerable is fine. In fact, not only fine, it's a really strong thing to be, it's a brave thing to be, and it's important in leadership. And I also realized from working with Tamara that you could be successful and do the right thing. And that's been a really, really important influence on me, particularly in, at, at Poeo, that you can ju you can be a good person and a successful person at the same time. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it doesn't, that two things are not mutually exclusive. And that's so important. I think, Speaker 2 00:20:49 Oh, well I'm gonna sit here being em embarrassed and Speaker 4 00:20:52 Move Speaker 2 00:20:53 On very, very quickly. Speaker 4 00:20:55 I know how you left that kinda stuff, Speaker 5 00:20:57 <laugh>, Speaker 2 00:20:58 But I'm, I, it's so interesting also about the first woman, Alison, that you were saying, who was able to just say, right, we're gonna have to be very honest with the client. It, those things matter because actually that's the way that you advise clients when they find themselves in trouble with a sort of major sort of crisis situation or whatever. You know, you have to own it and you have to apologize and you have to sort of make amends. But it's so interesting that that was the situation you were in and, and that kind of learning has stuck with you and, and stayed with you. Speaker 4 00:21:31 It's a really important lesson. It also taught me to, to do checklists. Speaker 2 00:21:35 <laugh>, yes. Speaker 4 00:21:36 <laugh>. But again, that's something that I always tell people, you know, you are gonna forget the most obvious thing if you might have done something millions of times before, but you in a crisis or in a difficult work situation, you need a checklist. You need to just be able to tick something off. Yeah. So that particular experience taught me that as well. <laugh>. Yes. Speaker 2 00:21:52 And also I know that, um, we always check in when we're doing events now, <laugh>, <laugh>, make sure we genuinely have invited people. Speaker 4 00:22:01 I think that's a very nice way tomorrow, I think the last time that I forgot we were doing an event, you just said, I'm never letting you touch this again. It's actually what you said to me, Speaker 5 00:22:09 <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:22:11 I, I don't recognize that. Yes, <laugh> Speaker 4 00:22:14 Events management definitely was not for me. I mean, all of people that do it, but it's definitely not for me. Scarred me that experience Speaker 5 00:22:20 <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:22:21 So going back to the sort of PR and and crisis industry, what's actually exciting you at the moment in the industry? Speaker 4 00:22:30 There's a lot that's exciting at the moment. I think it's really changing and I think maybe the last few years have had a lot to do with that. I think we're becoming more conscious as an industry. Um, we are more focused on doing the right thing. I mean, there are pockets obviously of, of people who are probably not doing that, but we are looking more at things like environmental impact of what our clients do and what we do. We are looking at diversity, although that's an area we really have to focus on in our own industry. I think we are looking at how our work impacts the big social issues. And I think there's more power to the people that work in the agencies at every level now, which I think is really exciting. You know, we are listening to younger people coming up through the industry and what people care about. Speaker 4 00:23:14 I think when I started there was very much a feeling that you are lucky to have a job. You do what we say, you do the bad stuff along with the good stuff and you just have no option but to do that. And that's really, really changed. People really influence now the clients that they will work on and they will call out their companies for, for doing the wrong thing. And I think that's, I think that's incredibly powerful and really, really important. So I think that's very exciting to me. Yeah. And we are certainly seeing that with the kinds of simulations we're getting as well. I think that organizations are coming to us now wanting to look at what happens if they do something wrong on a big social issue because they also really care about this stuff. So yeah, I think, I think that's really, really exciting. Speaker 2 00:23:55 Well it's so important for attracting the talent of the future, the Yeah. You know, the, the values have to be a a match there as well. Speaker 4 00:24:02 Exactly. Right. Exactly. People want to work for organizations whose values match their own. Speaker 2 00:24:06 And as a co-founder of peo what advice would you give someone who was sort of thinking about maybe starting their own company? What, what have you learned? Speaker 4 00:24:17 Well, I definitely think that starting a business is not for everyone, but if you have an idea, you are not gonna get rid of it until you do something about it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So it's just gonna sit in your head and, and you know, nibble away at your brain. And I think, I think if that's happening then you've gotta do it. You've gotta find a way to make it happen. I'm a great believer in, there is a third way for everything. You don't, it's, you don't have to give up everything and start something new. There is a third way, and I think we found this with Poeo, didn't we tomorrow, that that actually, you know, if you don't, if if you want to self fund something or you know, you don't necessarily have massive amount of investment or funding available to you for whatever reason, or you or you don't want to take it, then you can find a third way, which is to run something alongside what you are doing now until the balance shifts and then you can focus full-time on what you want to do. Speaker 4 00:25:07 And I've seen a lot of friends actually do this as well, working really hard, doing a day job and then really hard building something, you know, side hustle. We're seeing loads more people doing this with side hustles, I think mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And there is always a, a third way of getting something done. It's not always a binary decision that you have to make about Leaf one thing start another, you can run two things alongside each other. You can have a portfolio career. We've got so many more options open to us now that, that it's easier to find a way to start your own company than it's ever been. I think Speaker 2 00:25:37 You're, you're absolutely right cuz it's, it shouldn't be a barrier. But the, the truth is, particularly for female founded companies and for a tech company where the journey is, often you do need that funding upfront to, to grow the software and, and you know, build the technology from the first place that, uh, the, the funding available is such a small percentage for, um, female, uh, founded companies. And, and that's, that's something that's got to change. That's just a systemic issue. And I, I don't know the exact stats, but I think it's something like one or 2% or something ridiculous. Speaker 4 00:26:11 It's, it's extraordinary, isn't it? Yeah. I mean, there's something to be said in a way for not getting funding, um, in that you have to find a way to make things work. I think it makes you more creative. It, it's very easy. I, I've worked with a lot of tech startups in my career and it's very easy for even the most brilliant people with the most brilliant idea to just burn through vast amounts of funding before there's a market need. And to an extent, I think we found this with Poeo that we had this brilliant idea and we had some amazing clients early on, but the market need actually actually wasn't as big then as it as it is now. I think we're, you know, the market was kind of catching up with, with us if, if that makes sense. Yeah. So personally I'm really glad we didn't take funding for, for the same reason. I think it yeah, you, you can have a brilliant idea and, and then burn through a lot of cash before the market is is there for you. Speaker 2 00:27:03 Championing the third way Speaker 4 00:27:04 There. Yeah. Always championing the third way. <laugh> <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:27:07 So what are you most proud of, either inside or outside of work? Speaker 4 00:27:12 I'm really proud of peo I'm really, really properly proud of it. It's, it was a massive achievement. I never thought I would end up, although I'd worked with tech companies, I never thought I would end up being part of, not just a a a tech-based company, but a, a concept that didn't really exist. Um, you know, something that was potentially market changing. And I think I'm really, really proud of that, really proud of it and really excites me. I'm so lucky. I love my job every day and yeah, I'm, I'm just super proud of, of having done it. I think I'm probably more of a risk taker than I, than I think I am, if that makes sense. Um, I thought I was quite averse to risk, but it would seem that I'm not <laugh> because I think, think starting a company is quite a risky business and, and I, I just, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm super proud of it. Speaker 2 00:28:00 That's wonderful. And getting a bit deeper now, what's your life mission? Speaker 4 00:28:05 I mean, you like to ask the light questions here, don't you? Speaker 3 00:28:07 <laugh>? Which is going, Speaker 4 00:28:08 That's just huge. Um, I think to treat people well. I love being around people. I get my energy from people. I'm a classic extrovert and I'm interested in people, but I think fairness and justice and treating people the right way is really, really, really important. I'm much more driven by relationships than I am by money, for example. And it matters to me that the people around me are fairly and well treated and are happy. So yeah, I think that's, that's my kind of mission, if that makes sense. Speaker 2 00:28:45 I love that. Wow. Speaker 3 00:28:46 Yes, me too. And if you want some light questions while there's some comment, Kate <laugh>, we're coming, coming onto the, the final section of the podcast now where we do get a bit more personal, a bit lighter. So let's start with your idea of a perfect weekend. Speaker 4 00:29:02 Oh, a long walk by the sea with my wife and then probably home to a small group of lovely friends and some really fabulous wine that is my, ah, that's my perfect weekend. I'm part of a wine club <laugh>, uh, which is basically like a book club but without books. So probably actually like most book clubs to be fair. I Speaker 3 00:29:24 Think so, yeah. But I'm mean one of those, yeah, we call it a book club, but Speaker 4 00:29:28 Yeah. Yeah, it's a wine club, isn't it really <laugh>. Um, and it's a really good excuse for a group of friends to get together and drink nice wine and kind of pretend to talk about it a bit and then just catch up with each other. And we do it every month. We've been doing it for 11 years. Wow. No, it's lasted really well. And so that is, yeah, that's a kind of perfect way for me to, to spend a weekend. I think Speaker 3 00:29:47 That sounds absolutely heavenly. If you could time travel to any point, either in the future or in the past with no consequence so you don't have to worry about messing up timelines and or that sort of thing, where and when would you go? Speaker 4 00:30:02 I would go to Victorian London. I'm a bit obsessed with Victorian London. I think it's fascinating because it's a period where industry was starting to take over from religion, spirituality was, was giving way to science. Um, there was all this tension going on between all these different things as society changed so quickly. Um, it was a time of enormous change for, for women or the beginning of an enormous time for of change for women. London was expanding, you know, so quickly. I just think it'd be really, really interesting to, to go and, and how just look at what was, what was going on and how things were changing. Um, I've also got a novel in the back of my head set, set in Victorian London that I really want to write at some point when I get the time. So I'd love to go and actually research the areas that I want to write about. Speaker 3 00:30:53 That's brilliant. I can't wait to read it. <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:30:56 There's also a link, I can't remember if you remember this, Kate, but, uh, there's a link back to Poeo in Victorian London actually, because I went on a, a walk around London, one of those sort of, you know, going back to Victorian London loo seeing all the, you know, different architecture and just little interesting points. And then the end of the tour we ended up, they just sort of said, we are here at the, um, Churchill War room rooms. And, and they sort of said, you know, you can go in and you want, you can get a discount. And that was, I went in there and I remember coming back to you and saying, we have to hold a poeo event here. Speaker 4 00:31:30 Is that how that came about? I didn't, I don't think I knew that. That's amazing. Cuz that was an incredible event and what a brilliant location for it. I mean, in the Bunker underground, in the switch from where London would've been operated from had the worst happened. Oh, amazing. Yeah. Incredible place. Speaker 2 00:31:48 Yeah. Everything, everything's connected. Speaker 4 00:31:50 Everything's connected. <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:31:53 So I, I feel like I'm doing all the deep ones now. If you could be remembered for just one thing, what would it be? Speaker 4 00:32:00 Possibly once for being on time would be quite nice. Speaker 3 00:32:03 <laugh> <laugh>, Speaker 4 00:32:04 I'm seriously late. Um, I think I would like to be remembered for being a good friend. As I said, I'm much more driven by relationships than I am by, by money or anything else really. So I think I would like to be remembered for being a good friend. Speaker 2 00:32:15 And I know that we're all very passionate about our food. Oh, what's what's your favorite food experience that you remember? Speaker 4 00:32:23 So, uh, when I was young, my mom and dad used to, we used to go on holiday, we used to go camping or to a catto, a caravan in either France or Italy. And my dad would drive and we'd drive through France and Switzerland and across the Alps and into Italy. And my mother, who was a great linguist, said that I could only order food that I could, could, I could only eat food that I could order in Italian. It was her way of getting me to learn Italian slightly backfired because I just said a lot of lemon ice cream <laugh> because I love to lemon ice cream. I had some of the best lemon ice cream I've ever had. And I, I lived on that for two weeks cuz she, my mother was also quite stubborn. She wouldn't have gone back on her words <laugh>. She wasn't, she wasn't gonna open this up. I was like, all I can say is lemon ice cream, you know, you said Speaker 3 00:33:08 <laugh> <laugh>. That's Speaker 4 00:33:10 Great. I absolutely loved it. But then things like, one of the best food experiences I think I've ever had was sitting with my wife Cynthia on the harbor wall at Ho near Dublin and eating fish and chips outta the paper as it got dark listening to the, the sea crashing against the harbor wall. And I will never forget those fish and chips. They were the best ones I've ever had. They were amazing. There's Speaker 3 00:33:31 Just something about eating fish and chips outside, isn't they? Especially if it's a bit chilly. Speaker 4 00:33:34 Yeah, absolutely brilliant. Speaker 3 00:33:36 Yes. Yeah, Speaker 4 00:33:37 Yeah, yeah. The best thing ever. Speaker 3 00:33:39 <laugh> <laugh>. How would your friends describe you? Speaker 4 00:33:43 Uh, well probably late as I <laugh> earlier. Speaker 3 00:33:47 I'm trying to think if I've ever been on a flight with the two of you. I can't help think in the whole airport. Arrival time must be separately. Speaker 2 00:33:53 Yeah, we fly, we fly separately, but we go through security separately. I can't co I'm the opposite because I turn up at an airport about, you know, four hours in advance, something like that. I'm a little bit obsessed like that. So yeah, we, we've come to an agreement that we just meet at the other side. Yeah. Speaker 4 00:34:09 <laugh> sometimes on the plane. Actually tomorrow I'll see you on the, in a slightly, where are you? <laugh>? Speaker 2 00:34:15 Very polite text. Are you here? Speaker 4 00:34:19 I'm getting better though. I think you've been a good influence on me in that way, but yeah, it is quite funny. We do meet on the plane sometimes. Sometimes I'll see you way ahead of me in the queue. <laugh> Speaker 3 00:34:28 Right Speaker 4 00:34:29 For the plane. I hope, I hope my friends would say I was loyal and I hope they'd say I was fair. They'd probably say I've got a bit of a temper. Oh yeah. I keep it quite well in check, I think mostly, but I do, I can flare up. It's, I get the red mys occasionally. It's normally over something that, that I think is unfair. But yeah, it's something that I really try and keep in check. It has got me in trouble more than once. <laugh>, my wife says I'm, I can talk underwater, which I think is quite rude, Speaker 5 00:34:56 <laugh>. Speaker 4 00:34:59 So yeah, I, hopefully, hopefully, uh, they'd say I was loyal. Speaker 2 00:35:03 It's funny actually, the, the whole anger thing. I've been listening to this amazing podcast, best friend therapy with Elizabeth Day and, and her therapist friend whose name has escaped just at this moment. But they, they did this whole thing about anger is actually just something needs to change and you are expressing your emotion that at that point it's just whatever is going on is either not fair or it's not right, or it doesn't make you feel comfortable. So it's almost like reframing it and embracing it that everyone needs that anger, but obviously at a point where you've kind of blown your top, that's, that's gone further on. But it's recognizing that. But I'm, I'm digressing that I like that. It's such an interesting area. Speaker 4 00:35:45 Yeah, I really like that. I might listen to that actually because it is something I've struggled with over the years. Um, as I said, I keep it in check mostly, but I, I have struggled in the past and, and once the red mist is down, it's, it's a really physiological thing. I mean, it, it, I can feel my, my heart rate going off and stuff. It doesn't happen very often, but it's, yeah, it's something I do need to keep in check. Speaker 2 00:36:03 Yeah. But you need to make the change earlier, Speaker 4 00:36:05 So. Yeah, that's a really good point. I Speaker 2 00:36:07 Like that. I'll, I'll share the podcast in. Speaker 4 00:36:09 Yeah, do Speaker 6 00:36:09 Thank you <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:36:11 So, um, next question, I've sort of adapted it for you because I know that you are an amazing pianist. So do you have a karaoke go-to song or what would you perform in a piano bar if you were playing the piano? Speaker 4 00:36:28 So, so car karaoke, I did karaoke once with, with, um, my team at work and uh, at Kara and we went down to Brighton and we sang in a karaoke bar and I thought we were doing an amazing job. We were up on stage about four of us up on stage and we were singing Dancing Queen brilliantly, I thought. And then I looked down and I saw Melini, one of my colleagues dancing with her fingers in her ears underneath the stage. And I thought, this isn't going as well as I thought it was. Speaker 4 00:36:58 So that probably would've been my, my karaoke song before that. If I could sing. Well, I mean, I sing in a choir. I, you know, I can hold a note, but I, I sing in a, a choir, but, um, but I'm, it's a non audition choir, very important. Um, but if I could sing properly, it would probably be kind of Aretha Franklin or Nice, you know, something Motown. I love that kind of period of music. And the piano bar is interesting because I couldn't, I think it would be something classical. It would have to be a, it'd have to be one of those, you know, hotel piano, <laugh> piano bars where he played lovely classical music in the background. Cause I was always much more of a classical pianist than anything else. Speaker 2 00:37:31 Maybe on a cruise ship. Speaker 4 00:37:33 Oh my god. Speaker 6 00:37:35 <laugh> Speaker 4 00:37:36 Bit of Barry Manilo, Speaker 6 00:37:38 <laugh> <laugh>. Speaker 4 00:37:41 I'd probably be playing a bark ing fugue or something. Speaker 6 00:37:45 <laugh> <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:37:46 Kate, it's been such a joy to have you on the podcast. Uh, it's Before we, before we finish though, I think we've covered a lot of ground, but is there anything that we've missed that you wish that we'd asked? Or do you have any closing, closing thoughts? Speaker 4 00:38:01 I don't think there's anything we've missed, but I do really want to stress what we talked about earlier, about agencies changing or the industry changing. It's so important that we start listening to and looking for new talent, more diverse talent. Um, and we start to really think about the big social changes that we can help bring about. Um, good communications and good crisis management really can change behavior. And we need behaviors change if we are going to have any kind of world that is worth living in for, for the, the generations to come after us. And, and we all have a part to play in that Speaker 1 00:38:45 You've been listening to Genuine Humans brought to you by the social element. If you loved what you heard, remember to subscribe or you can find out more at www dot the social element agency.

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