Moving as a PR in leisure and hospitality to the financial services and corporate industries might not be the most obvious of choices, but after just a few short weeks and a rolling series of COVID scares and Sydney lockdowns, it is certainly proving to be the right one for me.
Sitting down with Madden agency founder Bruce Madden and his team of consultants over a month ago, I brazenly answered a very simple question. To “what is it that attracts you to the financial services and corporate sector?”, I responded: “stability”. Notably among many other reasons, this is one that held the most truth. Delivered with the same level of honesty and integrity embodied by the Madden team.
Stability is perhaps not the first attribute you think about at the start of your working life. From the aged of 14 working in a local pizza shop, I immersed myself in the hospitality industry throughout my secondary and tertiary education, picking up a contributor role at an online lifestyle publication along the way. Paving my way into the communications profession within the leisure industries, with hospitality at heart and the people that enrich the industry front of mind. People with a passion for bringing joy to others. Welcoming family, friends and those unknown to indulge in their works’ result.
Having held positions both agency and client side in the infancy of my career in an industry ever open to the public eye, the unprecedented turn of events greatly affecting this people-centric industry arrived in early 2020. We were suddenly navigating the challenges of today’s COVID-dominated landscape at an accelerated pace. Working on the ground with family-owned and listed small business and global organisations as they strived tirelessly to overcome the impacts of a devastating COVID-19 virus, all on top of Sydney lock-out laws, changing consumer perceptions, and technological advances. An industry so rich in delivering consumer satisfaction, operating on one of the lowest-recognised profit margins and median wages worldwide, fuelled by full, affable hearts.
Purpose is a guiding light to the Madden business. This is in strong accord with my personal efforts to amplify the fruits of the hard work of passion-driven businesses built on grit and grind for over three years in media, PR, marketing, and communications roles, which filled me with an endless amount of pride and gratification. The honour to champion the work of this soulful industry and drive it forward into an uncertain future was not given up lightly. Nonetheless, faced with an opportunity to expand my horizons and solidify the stability of a career in communications counsel, I have swapped a la carte for the complexities of the Return on Equity. Call me mad, but I took a leap.
Coming to the Madden bench at a time of significant change for markets both locally and globally, I have quickly been exposed to the delicate intricacies that form the stronghold of the financial services and corporate communications industry. Diving into everyday 24/7 news cycle issues including the digital economy, climate change impacts on global financial markets, and the increased demand by government and consumers for greater transparency and accountability of banks and the financial sector broadly, I was fascinated to discover the dual transformative and adaptive nature of the industry, and its innovative and opportunistic response to market conditions.
What do I bring? Aside from the speed developed from more than 10 years in hospitality, I come equipped with a fresh consumer-facing perspective. In these days of post-Hayne Royal Commission and industry disruption, consumers are looking for leaders. Looking to place their money and trust with brands and passionate people who exist to make a long-term positive difference to all of us who face, among other challenges, the ongoing economic fallout of the virus.
I am excited to guide and support the reputation management of Madden’s financial and corporate clients and help purpose-led organisations comprised of like-minded individuals. Having learned already that these are people seeking to deploy their intellectual capital, managed ethically and with innovation. Financial technology companies, investment managers, insurance providers – each working in their own ‘kitchen’ to create enduring impact and customer-centric products and services.
Delivering communications counsel to clients with a particular focus on the growing financial technology sector, more affectionately referred to as fintech, I am eager to tap into the professional consumer-facing experience of my communications career and see it serve as a useful resource as I move forward with Madden.
I am looking forward to applying this school of thought to a financial services and corporate industry movement, motivated by an ever-accelerated increasing demand for transparency with the trajectory to bridge the gap between corporates and consumers, the goal being an empowered consumer realising their cash and portfolio potential in this digital world.
I might even get my head around the ROE of a grand lunch with my colleagues and newfound media friends at one of my favourite destination dining venues, once lockdown ends of course.