By Susie Hughes
When I first joined Allison (formerly Allison+Partners) in 2007 from another agency, my key motivation was to find out if I was unhappy in public relations, or if the working environment I had come from didn’t suit me. Turns out it was the latter.
No one who knows me well is surprised I’ve made a career in PR, given how much I love a chit-chat and spinning a good yarn. I just needed to find the right place to thrive, and Allison’s collaborative, supportive environment was it.
On my third day, I found myself in the office kitchen, sharing a drink (a shot, if I’m honest) and a cake with a fellow employee who was also having a birthday that week and I knew I’d found my people.
When I joined, Allison was about 80 people across seven U.S. offices, and it was clear collaboration was at the core of the company’s success. After about three years in the San Francisco office, I decided to embark on a big personal adventure: an extended trip around the world. With the support of CEO Scott Allison and the leadership team, I left Allison in 2010 to travel from Europe to Asia to Australia and beyond!
In 2011, I reconnected with Scott, who revealed Allison was ready to expand overseas, and I jumped at the chance to open Allison’s first international office. I was born and raised in London and am lucky to hold dual U.S. and U.K. citizenship. I started the London office in April 2011 from a couch in a small apartment with just a pen, paper and an iPhone. After building new business and media relationships, I grew the London team over five years. It was hard work, but the team back in the U.S. rooted for me. And though some days at the beginning were lonely, I knew I wasn’t alone.
For my next adventure, I headed to Singapore to help grow Allison’s technology practice both in Singapore and throughout APAC. I was with Allison for three years before I took an opportunity to go in-house, then later fulfilled another personal dream of launching my own PR consultancy – all of this with much cheerleading from my friends and mentors at Allison, to whom I turned for guidance and knowledge even after leaving the company.
After six years in Singapore, my husband, daughter and I relocated to the U.K., where we live now. In my first months back, once I’d settled my baby into our new (and colder!) life, I began to think about what I might do next. I was lucky to have several connections to call on to explore job opportunities. But in the end, Allison was the only company – thanks to my long track record – willing to work with me to create a role that would both allow me to do the work I’m most passionate about and meet the needs of the agency. Scott Allison, Global Partner Matthew Della Croce, and U.K. Partner and MD Jim Selman created a role focused on business development, media relations and general agency connectivity, and I’m thrilled to do it.
If you’ve kept track, taking on this most recent role in London is my third time joining A+P. To answer the question “What’s kept me at Allison?”, as well as “What’s kept me coming back?”, I believe Allison has stayed true to its core value of collaboration. Even when things have been challenging (building the London office was no easy feat!), I have always felt supported and known I can get the help I need.
On a personal level, the company has offered many exciting opportunities in exchange for what I’ve delivered over the years, and I really appreciate how we’ve worked together, both for my personal career development and for the good of the company.
Susie is an executive vice president. Her focus is on uncovering new business opportunities and nurturing and expanding top-tier media relationships. She has more than 16 years of experience helping growing organizations shape their narratives and has worked in the U.S., Europe and Asia.