My work

What gives you the right to ramble on about public relations, the media and communications?

Good question.

I’ve worked in communications and public relations for 20 years at some good agencies with some excellent people.

There’s examples of my work on the Campaign Collective website, but for those who just want a potted biography, here’s a starter for ten:

  • 1977: Royal Leamington Spa, birthplace of Simon Francis. Now a republican.
  • 1987: Coventry City win the FA Cup. Acquire a taste for success. Realise I will never become a professional footballer.
  • 1994-1996: Worked in hotels as a (sometimes spotty), long-haired A-Level student. Learned how smoking equals more tea breaks (took me ten years to quit).
  • 1997-1999: Features editor, then President, at Edinburgh Student. Like to think my article cost Malcolm Rifkind his seat in Parliament. Very doubtful. Five Live decided I was an expert on Scottish politics and put me as a panellist on their election night show.
  • 1999-2000: Became Equal Opportunities Adviser at Edinburgh University Students’ Association. Took on Brian Souter and the forces of bigotry, result was the repeal of Section 2A (the Scottish equivalent of Section 28). Also came out of university knowing how to change a beer keg, a 2:1 in history.
  • 2000-2004: First proper PR jobs at Johnson King (learned how to drink Guinness professionally on a press trip with Enterprise Ireland) and Geronimo – now Kindred. Got used to the Friday afternoon crisis call as Young People Now took another pot shot at youth advice service Connexions.
  • 2004-2011: Climbed the greasy PR pole at Band & Brown (now Citizen). Got as high as Managing Partner, won plenty of pitches (lost a few too), discovered social media. Got quoted in PR Week a lot and even won an award.
  • 2011: Ran the largest temporary media centre in London, co-ordinated a fair few VIP visits and worked with a great team to generate loads of coverage for WorldSkills London 2011. Went on to work with the National Apprenticeship Service as a communications consultant.
  • 2012-2015: Helped run Claremont Communications as a Director. Became the country’s fastest growing PR agency (PR Week) and specialist agency of the year.
  • 2016 to date: Founder Member of social enterprise Campaign Collective, which in September 2018 launched The Rooftop reporting on news worth shouting about. In 2020 I am Chair of the Public Relations and Communications Council.

You can read my Rooftop articles or search by topic:

Charity News

Public Sector News

Social Enterprise News

Trade Union News

Universities & Colleges News

All views expressed on this blog remain entirely personal.

8 Responses “My work” →

  1. John Francis


    Nice photo, was it thanks to Helen?

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