Hannah Stennett

Senior Communications Manager - The O2/AEG Europe

What is your proudest professional achievement?

My proudest professional achievement was taking on a year-long maternity cover role for our Communications Director in 2023, going from a manager level role to running the PR & comms department for the world's busiest venue, and taking a seat at the table alongside the venue's senior leadership team. It's the quickest I've ever had to learn and adapt, with new stakeholders to manage, team members to onboard, and multi-million pound projects that needed a comms strategy, but what can I say, I'm a sucker for a challenge. During this time I led on some truly world-leading projects, from unveiling a new 300-person premium members club, and launching the world's first carbon removed arena events, to even flying a flag from the roof of the tent for the Queen of Pop herself (Madonna, of course). It made Madge's Instagram, so I'll take that as confirmation of a job well done!

In your view, how can PR employers better retain talent?

There's a holy trinity that can't be ignored when it comes to PR employers retaining talent, which for me centres around recognition, rewards and a solid roadmap. Gone are the days when a weekly drinks trolley and regular supply of office donuts are enough to keep good people in the building. Pay them well, acknowledge and, better still, champion their successes, and work with them on a progression roadmap so that there's something tangible to aim for.

What's the secret to good client/agency relationships?

For me, the key to a good client and agency relationship is transparency. If a story isn't landing, a budget isn't stretching, or you aren't getting the intel you need to do your job effectively, then please, please tell your client. We're all working towards the same end goals, and ultimately, agency resource is really an extension of the in-house team, so don't be afraid to have frank conversations if it will avoid wasted time and help drive future success.

If you could change any one thing about the comms industry, what would it be?

If I could change one thing about the comms industry it would be the misconceptions around PR. "Why don't we just get it on BBC News?", if only people knew what a true skill and achievement this actually is. When executed correctly, PR can play an invaluable role in supporting and advancing wider business objectives, and even have a positive impact on commercial success. It's a critical strategic function, and if it's viewed as any less than that and instead as a 'nice to have' then really, it's not being utilised to its full potential.

What is the motto you live by?

The motto I live by is 'Fake it till you make it'. It works wonders for imposter syndrome, and I genuinely believe that a combination of your gut instinct and professional experience will always steer you in the right direction. What's the worst that can happen, eh?