What do you currently do?
At PLMR, we represent the interests of a range of clients across education, health and social care, food and agriculture, transport, leisure, finance and charity, championing their causes to press and Governments around the world. As Managing Director, I’m ultimately responsible for delivery of the best possible quality services to our clients, handling the company’s growth and profitability, and am privileged to play my part in developing a great set of colleagues and co-workers.
We’ve come a long way since our inception eight years ago. From my bedroom and then a small office next to a cab firm in Lambeth, we’re now based in the heart of Westminster – less than 400 metres from Parliament and in Edinburgh – again close to the Palace of Holyrood. Our success comes from our 35 staff who have made PLMR a top 100 UK agency, ranked within the top 250 globally, with an annual turnover in excess of £2.9 million. I’m also proud that we’re a London Living Wage employer.
We’ve won every major award in the UK communications industry, including the Cannes Lions, PR Week and Public Affairs News, and have recently launched a global network of like-minded firms from across the globe, spanning fifteen countries and four continents. This network allows PLMR and our partners to work together to deliver a global reach for our clients.
What is your inspiration in business?
I’m inspired by people with ethical values. One person that particularly stands out is Nick Hanauer, an American dotcom billionaire and venture capitalist who believes the wealthiest 1% need to pay more taxes to sustain our national economies. In his industry, those strong principles run against the grain of the status quo, and I like that. I really admire selfless people who make sacrifices to do good for others and have been particularly struck by Lord Sugar, Lord Sainsbury, Dr Chai Patel CBE, Paul Lindley (founder of Ella’s Kitchen), and John Marren (founder of Company Shop). These are all inspirational business people with awesome achievements who really give a damn about the world they live in.
Who do you admire?
I admire my mum and dad – Irish immigrants to London in the 1960’s whose love and sacrifices gave me such a base. I admire teachers. Above all though, I admire the contributions and sacrifices made by our armed forces, emergency services.
At PLMR we look for clients who – whether PLCs, businesses large or small, or third sector – have values we can admire. We’re proud to be working with Cancer Research UK, the ‘Protect’ campaign for children’s privacy and a number of pioneering state schools that are breaking the mould in education. We also represent the veterans’ charity Combat Stress, which does such important work to treat those affected by post-traumatic stress disorder. We also work for businesses we really admire with drive and good values including Company Shop, Bosch, Lyft, and London City Airport.
Looking back would you have done things differently?
No. The way I see it, everything in PLMR’s journey to date has happened for a reason, and one of the reasons for our success is because every year since our inception, we’ve learnt things and adapted our business strategy. You make mistakes and you learn from them. I have been lucky on the way to have found amazing stars of the future such as Elin Twigge.
What defines your way of doing business?
We’re creative, high-tempo, offer the highest standards, and pay acute attention to detail. We constantly re-evaluate our ethical and societal impact, and as part of that we have always given five per cent of PLMR’s profits to charity. This is unique in our sector and we’re proud of it.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Be very prepared for it to take over your life right from the start, and make sure you gather a very good team of people around you. That’s the most important thing, because your people really do make your business! And always keep an eye on the figures. Without that – you’re lost.