In our first Talent Talk interview in Singapore we spoke to Jimmy Szczepanek, Managing Director of Porter Novelli, and asked him a few questions about life at Porter Novelli, and what he thinks will be the big PR trends for 2015.
Name: Jimmy Szczepanek
Role: Managing Director
Company: Porter Novelli
Established: Celebrated our 40th anniversary last year
Number of staff: 15
Key clients: HP, P&G, Mercedes-Benz and Habitat for Humanity
What sets your company apart from the crowd?
I joined Porter Novelli more than 18 years ago and it’s an incredibly special place. Without question, it’s our talent that sets us apart from the crowd. I’m incredibly proud of our people – they’re smart, dedicated, creative and funny. We have a singular focus on talent and on keeping our people happy, motivated and constantly challenged.
How would you define the culture at Porter Novelli?
Collaborative – we support one another, learn from our mistakes and push each other to higher standards through our PN mantra: doing well by doing good. Our local culture is constantly evolving, but it’s grounded on a foundation of giving back to our community and through PN rituals that include celebration of PNniversaries, a peer nominated employee recognition program, monthly staff meetings, social outings and Happy Hour every Friday afternoon in the office.
What do you look for in great talent?
At PN, we hire for attitude and train for skills. Having passion, a positive attitude and a sense of humor are as important as knowing how to write a press release.
What do you see as some key emerging trends in the communications industry in 2015 and beyond?
Given the influence and ubiquity of social media, brands who are able to tell great stories will continue to rise to the top. Companies are looking to PR to create compelling stories that can be integrated across paid, earned and owned platforms in a powerful way. This is an exciting and rewarding time to be in PR because the rules are constantly changing and we’re required to adapt quickly (something that you learn early in your PR career for sheer survival purposes!)