/our-insight/in-the-hot-seat-will-blair-vp-corporate-communications-barclays/

In the hot seat: Will Blair, VP Corporate Communications, Barclays

In the Hot Seat: An Expert Interview with Will Blair, VP Corporate Communications, Barclays

Will Blair Why did you get into communications and PR? My father, early in his career, was a lecturer in communication studies in further and adult education. It reflected his belief in the transformational importance not just of education, but also of effective communication skills, as the means to forge a successful career. So I suppose the fact that I’ve ended up in this line of work isn’t a great surprise. But like most of my successes, it happened by accident. I had a number of jobs: working in tourism and leisure, as a researcher in Parliament, in regulatory policy, and it was only when a contact Facebooked me, tipping me off about an opportunity at a big PR agency that I finally joined the dots and began a career in PR. What personal attribute has most helped you succeed in your career? A sense of humour and perspective. Without both, I’d go mad. In 100 years’ time, none of us will be here, and none of what’s occupying us now will matter. What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career? I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to have had a relatively hassle-free career to date. It won’t last. So perhaps the biggest challenge has been to witness some first rate, genuine and honest people have their careers cut short or interrupted through no fault of their own, whilst witnessing others, whom some might consider less ‘deserving’, be rewarded. Gross injustice haunts all aspects of human existence, and taking it on, calling it out, and overturning it, is perhaps one of the biggest challenges we all face. Who is the most inspiring person you’ve worked with? To date, I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the biggest beasts in the PR jungle – Tim Walker, Jon McLeod, Wilf Weeks, Joe Phelan, Peter Bingle, Stephen Lotinga and Paul Farrow. I’ve been inspired by and learned so much from every one of them, in many ways. What is the best advice you’ve been given? The same advice I always give you younger folk beginning their careers: take ownership of your career and professional development, because no-one is going to do it for you. In ten years, what do you think will be the biggest change in the global PR industry? What I find remarkable is how this industry has, to date, shown itself to be ‘recession-proof’. There is much talk of a second global financial crisis on the horizon – on a much bigger scale than anything we’ve seen before. In my own self-interest, I hope the soothsayers of doom are wrong. If not, will the industry defend its recession-busting title belt? What three words best describe you as a communicator? Creative, charismatic and chillaxed. What is your dream global communications job? This will sound sickeningly sycophantic, but in my current role at Barclays, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been professionally. The combination of learning new communications skills, dealing with different challenges, and working alongside a wickedly fun and wonderfully talented bunch of colleagues really does it for me. The only job offer I couldn’t refuse, however, would be if Rick and Francis from Status Quo called me up, and asked me to manage the communications for their upcoming (and allegedly) final world tour. I’ve already got the t-shirt, stonewashed jeans and denim jacket, so I could start immediately.

Related: 'How I made it' featuring Hamzah Sarwar, Global Insight Lead, RB

As a global insight leader at RB Health and One Young World ambassador, Hamzah is a passionate social intrapreneur using business as a force for good. With 9 years of strategic insight and brand experience gained with agencies and blue-chip FMCG manufacturers such as RB and Mondelez, Hamzah has unearthed opportunities and driven growth in global and regional roles on diverse categories from air pollution to infant nutrition.

Read more

Related: Will SEO save PR? [EVENT]

As PR departments become under greater scrutiny to better prove ROI, many are pivoting to adopt a more SEO led approach when it comes to shaping content campaigns and measuring online impact. This is creating challenges organisationally and culturally as PR and SEO teams work more closely together and also revealing more technical gaps in PR knowledge.

Read more

Related: 'How I made it' featuring Shurjil Husain, Vice President, Head of Communications - ABB, Saudi Arabia

We sat down with Shurjil Husain, VP and Head of Communications for Saudi Arabia at ABB. A senior Marketing and Communications executive with over 15 years of diverse management experience in the Engineering, Information Technology, Consulting and Consumer Goods industries, He has held Marketing and Communications leadership roles in Siemens, IBM, Accenture and Unilever

Read more

Post your comments

Author: Grant Somerville

Since joining Hanson Search, Grant has worked within the communications practice across public affairs, corporate PR, and consumer PR, where he now specialises. Grant prides himself on his relentless work ethic for clients and candidates alike, ensuring the best service for everyone he works with.

View Profile

Speak to a consultant

code

Please keep me updated! I’d love to hear about: