Insights from Vivienne Hsu, Chief Business Officer at Cognito

Vivenne Hsu Grey
Posted: Nov 2018

Vivienne Hsu built her reputation on big brand advertising campaigns and is now Chief Business Officer at Cognito, a successful specialist communications and marketing consultancy. She is hugely positive, rather tenacious and swears by regular Bikram yoga classes.

She shares her thoughts on her biggest challenges, tips on getting ahead and what makes a happy team. Read on to find out more

1. Can you give me a brief overview of your background and experience?

I started my career in advertising, in account service and brand strategy. I worked for some of the largest network agencies in WPP and Omnicom and learned from some of the best in the industry and cut my teeth on big brand campaigns and strategies working on large blue chip organisations. I moved into a more specialist digital and social media consulting role at WPP which led me to join Cognito to start the digital and social media practice six years ago.

It’s been a wonderful journey expanding my knowledge in the Financial Services industry and learning new skills and disciplines. Now as Managing Director at Cognito I’m more involved in operations, business planning, HR as well as client services and new business.

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

  • • Positivity
  • • Kindness
  • • Tenacity
  • • “Always take the high road and be the bigger person, anything less isn’t worth it” – My Dad – Eugene Hsu
  • • Also – “remember darling it’s PR not ER” – Camilla Greene

3. You have done a great job at Cognito, what would you say is the one thing that makes for a successful and happy team?

I would say the one thing that makes for a successful and happy team is to put them first, always have their back and help them to understand why they are doing what they are doing and why it’s important.

4. What is your biggest challenge in your role right now?

The biggest challenge in my role is being prepared for the unforeseen and making time for it. Things happen all the time which you can’t predict and so much of what we do on a daily basis is trying juggle all things you need to do but not let the occasion hand grenade derail you from the key business goals and what’s important to your team and clients.

5. What is the most important lesson you have learned in life so far?

You will make mistakes and you are not perfect but always choose to be kind to people, good karma definitely comes back to you in spades.

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

7. What’s your favourite regular read?

Harvard business review – I always learn something new.

8. In one sentence, what is your definition of a great PR?

Great PR has the power to influence and change minds for good.

9. You are incredibly busy in your professional life, what do you do outside of work to de-stress?

I do bikram yoga, spend time with friends and family, love the theatre and galleries.

10. What should the industry do to improve employee wellbeing

Provide more opportunities for staff to have people to talk to, flexible working, and fitness in the workplace.

Thank you Vivienne for taking the time to answer our questions.

The Works Search is a search consultancy specialising in PR and corporate communications. We have unrivalled matching abilities and known for finding the top 5% performers in the industry - the ones who deliver and make your reputation great. For more advice or market insights, do get in touch with us on 0207 903 9291 or email

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