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We Interview Georgiana Brunner, Head of Communications at Man Group

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Posted: Mar 2021

Georgiana Brunner heads up global external and internal communications at Man Group a major-league global investment manager. Her extensive experience as a corporate communications advisor includes Greenbrook Communications, Apax Partners and Citigate Dewe Rogerson. An expert in reputation management for alternative investment firms, Georgiana began her career as a translator and then b2b journalist in France.

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

Calmness, integrity and strong writing skills

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career so far?

Juggling a career that is far from a 9-5 with having 3 young boys. There have been times when it has felt overwhelming but that’s where having a supportive employer and an excellent team around you is really important – plus inevitably a good deal of support at home. I’ve also learned the importance of self-care and balance.

What is your most memorable work moment?

I have done a fair amount of issues management over the course of my career and a few of those are highly memorable for being intense and challenging but also often rewarding and exhilarating.

Running around heavily pregnant at a relative’s 90th birthday party in Cornwall with all the family present, trying to find phone or WiFi reception to deal with the leak of a sensitive deal is high up there though. I’m not sure the family thought I’d found my balance then!

How have you kept yourself and your team motivated whilst working from home?

We communicate with each other a lot, with daily team calls plus regular one-to-ones. We work across so many different areas of communications as a team and have taken on a lot of new challenges in the past year. That variety has helped keep us motivated and engaged and has brought a great sense of accomplishment with it. Giving people praise when they deserve it also helps.

It’s been important to recognise that no one can keep going at full speed all the time though, particularly in the current environment. Managing a team during WFH has meant being aware of much more than just work performance but also mental and physical wellbeing and what each individual’s home life is like, particularly given the global nature of our roles with touch points across the whole organisation and the potential to be always ‘on’.

I have learned the importance of really listening and reading between the lines to try to tell whether someone is having a tough time behind the brave face. I believe we have a strong sense of team spirit and try to support each other accordingly, giving everyone the help and flexibility to get their work done in whatever way fits with their current home life.

What is your most important lesson you have learned in life so far?

To find the positives out of the negatives, whether it be in your work or personal life. Sometimes things don’t go your way or are tough but if you don’t let it beat you down such moments can provide the impetus or strength to come back stronger and potentially explore a new and better path than the one you were on.

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

One of my early bosses at Citigate told me to stop worrying about when I would get found out and just get on with the job. Now I know that he was calling out impostor syndrome, which I think is very common to experience in communications because so much is based on judgment calls rather than having a black and white answer. It’s particularly true when you’re on the agency side, if you work on lots of different types of accounts and therefore have limited expertise in the subject matter. If you have good PR / communications skills they really are applicable across almost any industry though.

What or who inspires you, and why?

There’s no one person who inspires me but I am inspired by people who are brave in their decisions, who stand up for what is right and rise to the top of whatever they are doing whilst remaining kind and respectful towards those around them. That is a sign of true talent.

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

Well, I first tried translation and then journalism so you could say this is my plan B or C. But it had always been in the back of mind as a potential career since leaving university and once I started it just felt like the right fit for my personality and skills. In my dreams I would be a professional sports player, but genetics didn’t work out that way!

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m a bit of a jack of all sports and master of none but have been clay pigeon shooting a few times and am a surprisingly good shot (much to the dismay of many of the men around me, including my husband!)

Thank you, Georgiana.

The Works Search 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 sarah@the-works.co.uk

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