Max is a Senior Analyst at Milltown Partners, a communications consultancy. In his role Max works with high profile individuals, technology, and corporate clients to shape and manage their reputations. Before joining Milltown Partners in January 2017, Max worked at FleishmanHillard Fishburn, a global public relations firm.
Max is passionate about social mobility and sits on the Local Advisory Board of the Haverstock Career Network, a programme which seeks to increase professional opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. He is also an Ambassador for BAME 2020, an initiative which works to increase ethnic minority representation in the media industry.
Prior to agency life, Max studied Politics at Swansea University.
Describe your background in 5 words?
Nigerian blood, Camden born.
How did you get into PR?
I accidentally discovered PR whilst I was studying Politics at Swansea University. In my third year, a friend and I decided to act on our interest in fitness and launched ‘Mr University’, the UK’s first student bodybuilding competition.
We ran the competition for a successful year, securing sponsorship from Microsoft and coverage in various outlets including the Huffington Post and BBC Three.
I naturally fell into a PR role; my essay writing skills were used to write press releases, and my eye for detail and critical thinking were needed to navigate the various reputational issues namely unfounded claims of steroid use and sexism, we were levelled with.
Mr University offered me clarity on the direction I wished to take post-university, and following graduation I joined FleishmanHillard Fishburn as a Graduate Trainee in the Corporate Communications team.
What do you love about your job?
The challenging nature of the role. I love trying to make sense of a complex reputational or communications issue and working to solve it.
What are you most proud of?
Making progress. I’m young and far from the finished article but getting better every year!
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
Be patient. You won’t know it all straight away and learning is part of the process.
Who are your favourite people in PR?
Since joining the industry I’ve met various mentor figures who’ve taken the time to give me great advice. I value the guidance of every one of them and couldn’t possibly pick!
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the sector?
Proving the business case for communications. In many boardrooms communications is still considered a nice, but not critical, addition. I think proving the importance of reputation management to the unconverted is something we haven’t quite cracked as an industry.
What skill do you think every PR has to nail?
Working under pressure and multitasking.
What is your favourite social network and why?
LinkedIn. It’s a great place to keep in touch with old contacts and meet new ones.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Be coachable. Accept that you don’t know everything and show a genuine willingness to learn.
Finally, on the D’ word… What can the sector do to encourage diversity?
Move past tokenism. It’s not enough to just sprinkle a few BAME faces around the place, the industry needs to recognise the business case for increasing diversity amongst the workforce.
Max is one of 15 mentors for the BME PR Pros/PRWeek Mentoring Scheme. Applications for mentees are now open – click here to find out more. The closing date for applications is Friday 16 February 2018.