Name: Gay Collins
Job title: Founding Partner
Did you go to university?
Yes, Reading University.
What was your first job in PR?
Hill Murray, as an account manager. I joined there having worked at Merrill Lynch and Deane Witter before being made redundant after they sent me out to New York and the crash of 87 occurred.
I joined Hugh Morrison and Nick Miles at Montfort last year.
How did you get from there to your current role?
I was invited to invest in the management buy out of the PR business of Hill Murray to set up Ludgate Communications, which we later sold to Interpublic. Then 4 of us left to set up Penrose Financial which we sold to Interpublic, and it became MHP. I joined Hugh Morrison and Nick Miles at Montfort last year. This is my last PR incarnation for definite!
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
Look after clients in the financial services sector, spend rather too much time doing PR for the 30% Club on a pro bono basis, and squeeze in my role as a NED of JP Morgan overseas PLC and on a Cancer Research Women of Influence Board when I can.
after 26 years I still love it!
What do you like most about working in PR?
Access to smart, senior people in financial services, never a dull moment, team work, thinking on my feet. It’s a great career and after 26 years I still love it!
What’s the hardest thing about working in PR?
Being on call 24 hours, keeping staff motivated and performing, delighting the client in an increasingly competitive world
Who is your PR inspiration?
Helena Morrissey and Alan Brown. The two best spokespeople I’ve ever been fortunate enough to work with.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given? Who gave it to you?
“You can achieve anything if you give it your best, aim high and are prepared to take on a bit of risk.” My inner self
Which PR blogs, news sites and websites do you read?
Be a specialist rather than a generalist
What are your tips for aspiring PRs?
Make sure you speak at meetings, once you’ve said something it’s easy from there on. Be a specialist rather than a generalist, and build knowledge and a network in that arena. As you get more senior, mentor talent and employ people when you find great talent rather than waiting to fill a gap.