Lili Katona

Research Manager - H/Advisors Cicero

What is your proudest professional achievement?

Making it onto the PR Week 30 Under 30 List is my proudest professional achievement‚ especially knowing that my colleagues who nominated me felt I deserved this recognition. It has always been hugely important to me to ensure that my coworkers feel they can trust and rely on me. Something I am really proud of and grateful for is the culture of lifting each other up and celebrating each other's successes in our team‚ it is something I will always prioritise in my career going forward.

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

I believe that greater retention comes from a conscious effort from the employer to give all employees the opportunity to contribute meaningfully and see the impact of their contributions. Motivation and job satisfaction often come from knowing that your work, your creative ideas, your insights benefit clients and the company in a tangible way. Employers must prioritise exposing people, even juniors, to situations where they can demonstrate their value and experience the rewards of their efforts.

How are you using AI in your role at present?

While just 1-2 years ago, I would only use AI to streamline routine tasks such as monitoring or data analysis, I now often use it as a sounding board for creative ideas as well. It is like a brainstorming partner who sometimes misses the mark entirely, but occasionally gives you a concept that you can develop further into something exceptional. AI has the potential to massively reshape the comms industry, but it does not necessarily mean that we lose our jobs‚ just that we need to learn new skills like prompt-writing and redefine what our added value is in this evolving landscape.

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

The most important thing you can do as an agency is to ensure that you are not simply executing the client's instructions. In the short term, clients might be satisfied with high-quality project delivery, but in the long run they are looking for strategic partners who can guide them, challenge their thinking when necessary, and offer new ideas. Especially when aiming to secure contract extensions, it is essential that you demonstrate how you are actively thinking about your client's objectives and have a clear plan for how you will deliver even more added value going forward.

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

The industry needs to recognise that comms professionals do not have to fit a specific profile to be successful. The strides the industry has made in terms of DE&I should extend to diversity of personality and character. Since I started my career, I have already seen that wildly different personalities can equally thrive in communications roles. It requires strategic leadership: agencies that see the value in leveraging the unique talents of team members are already ahead of the curve and will be more successful in the future.