How and why did you decide to go into communications?
I’m interested in where economics, finance, politics and media overlap – and that’s here at JPES Partners!
Originally I studied science before briefly working as a civil servant, so I’ve always been interested in the facts ‘behind’ the news. After that I found myself more interested in where the real decisions often seemed to take place, which is a matter of media and debate and communications in some form.
In my current role as Head of Data and Insights, I can pursue both my research specialism, and then alongside my colleagues, apply those insights to campaigns.
How have you found the return to the office over the last few months?
First of all, it’s been great to meet some new colleagues in person for the first time!
It’s also wonderful to have a chance to discuss, teach and learn about other specialisms in the relaxed and friendly environment of our offices. I still don’t always like the return to commuting – but as soon as I’m back through our familiar front door (and properly caffeinated) the company of the JPES family can overcome the stress of that rail journey in a minute, which probably says a lot about how much I love our team.
What areas or trends interest you the most at this time?
Climate should still be at the top of everyone’s agenda. I hope to draw my state pension on time in 2058 and I hope there’s an economy and an atmosphere worth living in by then. In the words of one client expert, “you can’t persuade water not to melt at zero degrees”, but we can persuade people to care about it and we must.
Complexity is another side to this, made all the more relevant by the recent outbreak of war in Europe. When do free markets end, when actual freedom ends? Are weapons sustainable? Are your clothes made by slave labour? Our job as good consultants is to ask clients for answers to these kinds of difficult questions – and help to explain the connection between your pension and a company, commodity, government or ecosystem. That’s difficult but if done well you’re on the right side.
Division is the third big trend I keep puzzling over. I’m just about old enough to remember when we could almost describe a unified national or international ‘news agenda’. But now the economy, internet and society are so much more fragmented. Division makes communication far more complicated – and far more important.
What do you do in your spare time?
I have two cats, one wife and about ten thousand constituents in my other role as a local Borough Councillor. So my evenings and weekends are usually spent either in the Council chamber or out and about at various local events.
If I ever get some real free time, I have been known to bake (see JPES Instagram for the occasional cake creation) or more realistically crash in front of the TV. There’s also about a hundred half-read books around the house, usually non-fiction but I have recently finished Hilary Mantel’s epic Thomas Cromwell series which is only ‘mostly’ fact-based and a masterpiece.
Tell us about the last book you read or the last podcast you listened to?
I’ve also recently got into Kleptopia by Tom Burgis and it’s a real page-turner about the true story of unexplained wealth in London, America, Russia and beyond. Any book that a month ago might have been considered controversial, but is now scarily universal… is probably worth you reading too!
Name one goal, professional or personal, you have set yourself for the rest of the year
I want to spend more money on clothes and more time with friends and family. The lockdowns of past two years have been difficult, but hopefully this summer can be a good opportunity to catch-up with loved ones and make up for lost time.