PR powerhouse Ella Minty is sharp, smart and savvy, and she’s the one you’d want on your team if things go pear-shaped.
Ella has almost 20 years experience in various public relations roles and currently works as a management consultant, specialising in risk and reputation management.
If you’re starting out in public relations, Ella is exactly the sort of practitioner you should be following. She’s engaging on social media and regularly blogs about relevant and interesting topics.
Reading her comments and advice on PR issues will give you valuable insight into the industry. It will also give you a good steer on how to deal with certain situations you’re likely to come across in your career.
In this interview for The #StartingOut Series find out why Ella won’t let gender be a challenge to her in PR and why she’s all about admiration not inspiration.
When you’re hiring someone new to PR what would you like to see on their CV? And equally what would you not like to see?
I’d like to see evidence of formal studies – this would tell me that they understand the importance and rigour of research, and the role of qualitative and quantitative data. If the newcomer doesn’t have any formal studies, I’d like to see some form of PR or Comms courses/qualifications. If those don’t exist either, then I would like to know what they do in their spare time – this is where voluntary activities play a very important role. For instance, if someone wants to forge a career in public relations or strategic communication (public affairs, international relations, stakeholder management etc.), they would need to demonstrate that they are passionate about that. And if the financial circumstances did not allow him/her to study, then volunteering for the right roles/causes becomes paramount.
What’s the best piece of PR advice you’ve read recently?
I’m at a point in my career when PR advice is not that relevant to me, so I don’t particularly read much on this topic. However, the membership organisations such as CIPR and PRCA have a variety of guides and information on these, and so do the Taylor Bennett Foundation and Career Ready. Each candidate is different, just like any role is different – it comes down to individual choice, skill set and cultural fit.
Who in the PR industry really inspires you and why?
“Inspiration” is a strong word since it implies following in one’s footsteps and aiming to emulate that individual. We are all different and have complimentary skills and behaviours which, if we tap into the right ones, we can aim to become better. There are, however, many practitioners I admire:
- Sarah Hall, for her unwavering commitment to elevating the strategic role of Public Relations
- Eva Maclaine, for her strong views on ethics in Public Relations
- Kevin Taylor, for his uncanny ability to separate noise from substance
- Emma Leech, for her incredible resilience and commitment to quality
- Dr Anne Gregory, for her empirical contributions to the body and practice of Public Relations
- Stephen Waddington, for his lifelong commitment to professionalise Public Relations
- Francis Ingham, for the incredible development PRCA has seen under his leadership
- Amanda Coleman, for her calm and composed manner when faced with incredible events
- Laura Sutherland, for building an entire concept from scratch (The PRFest) and making it a resounding success
- Paddy Blewer, for having one of the most inquisitive and pragmatic PR minds I’ve ever met
- Pat Gaudin, for her passion and belief in iProvision
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome being a woman in the PR industry?
None. I’ve never allowed my gender to define who I am and what I do, and I haven’t allowed others to do that. I’ve worked in Islamic countries where – apart from having to respect the local traditions – I’ve never faced any issues related to my gender. If you open your mouth at the right time and say the right thing, gender often becomes irrelevant – I’m paid to provide a high value service, take full responsibility for my advice and, often, make it happen. At that point in time, being a woman can actually work in your favour.
What advice would you give to younger Ella when she was starting out in the PR industry?
Naivety is your biggest enemy and believing that everyone you meet has the same values as you do is a fantasy. Pragmatism is your best friend. For everything, always have at least a Plan B.
A big thank you to Ella for being the third person to be interviewed for The #StartingOut Series.
I really admire Ella and find her posts a way to challenge my own thought process. I have found these posts of hers particularly helpful and I think that people #StartingOut in PR will also find them useful:
- DOS AND DON’TS FOR LAUNCHING A SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
- TRUST, CREDIBILITY AND PLAYING THE GAME
- ACTIVE LISTENING – GETTING THE MOST FROM COMMUNICATIONS
- MAKING THE CASE FOR REAL PR VALUE
Read more about Ella’s career and experience in her biography below.
Ella Minty is a Founding Chartered PR Practitioner, CIPR Board Director, UK Government Communication Services and Institute of Directors mentor, published author and university lecturer.
Ella has almost 20 years of high level government and international organisations experience in corporate reputation, leadership and crisis management, across business disciplines and governments, including investment markets, lender organisations, national and international media, NGOs and affected communities.
She is a 2014 Service Award Winner of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Assessor of CIPR’s Chartered Scheme, an elected member of the CIPR Council (2017-2019), and a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management.
Ella has handled some of the most prominent international crisis of recent times, developed the Leadership Development Programme for MENA young engineers and she has also been an adviser to several governments on their national branding strategies.
She holds various undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in PR and business and is also an alumna of Cornell University and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.
Her list of clients includes McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, Total, British Petroleum, Shell, Centrica, Averda, US Energy Freedom, Private Investment Development Group, the European Commission, the House of Commons, the Renaissance Foundation and many others.
She is also a member of McKinsey&Company Executive Panel and the Co-Chair of the Energy Leadership Platform, the first PR and Strategic Communication cross-sectoral Energy think tank in the world aimed at demonstrating the value of PR as a strategic management discipline.
I told you she is a PR powerhouse! I hope this now gives you some context into why it’s really worthwhile following Ella and reading her insights over at EllaMinty.com.
You can follow Ella on:
Feedback and comments are welcome and you can get me on Twitter @r_henders. If you’re a PR professional who would like to be involved get in touch via the Contact Me section on Bright Lights Big City.
The #StartingOut Series aims to help new PR practitioners with useful blog posts and interviews with key industry practitioners. Click here to read more about The #StartingOut Series and why I started it.