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In Conversation with Claire Gosnell: How to Keep Ahead

Claire Gosnell
Posted: May 2020

Claire Gosnell is the Global Head of Brand, Communications and Marketing at Clifford Chance, one of the best law firms in the world. She manages a global team spanning PR, internal comms, campaign, branding, alumni and digital marketing. She built a solid foundation of PR skills in agencies including Text 100 and MS&L before heading up the PR and corporate communications for companies such as P&O and Regus.

Claire is hugely pragmatic, has a positive disposition and is a ‘master of many’. We asked her to share her thoughts on the everchanging comms industry, advice on getting ahead and what makes a happy team. Read on to find out more

1.      What would you say are your three key attributes that have contributed to your career success?

I would say I’m a good all-rounder – I think the value of that is often under-estimated.  High levels of integrity combined with pragmatism.  Commercial.

2.      What is your most memorable work moment?

Looking into the empty hold of a massive container ship with a journalist from Bloomberg: an absolutely visceral thrill.  We were like over-excited children.

3.      How are you managing working from home?

I’m fortunate to have a great set-up, so have found the transition pretty easy.  I miss my team in the UK but, as I have a global role, I’m used to spending most of my day on calls.  I do frequently reflect though on how different this experience would have been for me at other stages in my life when I was living in flat shares or on my own, or even when my partner and I had a completely open-plan home (including the bedrooms).  I fear that would not have ended well!

4.      Comms is everchanging, how have you helped the business stay ahead?

There’s so much happening in comms, you cannot stay totally on top of all of it yourself.  It’s important to make sure the team feels like they can bring you ideas and feel empowered to take those ideas forward. For the business, you have to keep taking everyone on the journey; you can’t just download change overnight and then expect people to buy-in.

5.      What is the most important lesson you have learned with managing people?

Never stop listening. Never stop learning. 

6.      What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given along the way, and by whom?

One particular appraisal when I was agency-side was critical.  My line manager at the time, Claire Spencer, effectively told me that I needed to pull my socks up if I really wanted to progress.  It was a tough conversation at the time and I remember being a bit low afterwards. But it made a huge amount of difference and really demonstrated the value of straight feedback.

7.      What or who inspires you, and why?

My friend Emma – she is fiercely intelligent, massively capable and has had a really varied career, including as CEO of a company she successfully grew and then sold on.  She questions what I’m doing all the time: not just about how I might handle things at work but also how I’m making decisions about life, and always from a place of love.  I learn from her example, her knowledge and from how she helps me to know myself better.  Everyone needs an Emma in their life.

8.      If you hadn’t ended up working in comms, what was your plan B?

My Plan B was always to develop a Plan B. So far, I’ve completely failed!

9.      Do you have any hidden talents?

None at all. What you see is what you get.

Thank you, Claire



The Works Search is a search consultancy specialising in corporate and financial communications. We have unrivalled matching abilities, partner exclusively with the highest performers in the industry and are expert guides when it comes salaries. For more advice, market insights, do get in touch with us on 020 7903 9291 or email sarah@the-works.co.uk

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