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COC welcomes communications leaders

Updated: Mar 20


The Company of Communicators has welcomed 15 new communications leaders and business professionals as members.


They were admitted as Company Freemen at a virtual Freedom Ceremony on February 25 overseen by Master Communicator Deborah Oliver.


The new members are:


Chris Evans, Creative Director, Sherry Design


At Sherry Design, a brand and digital agency with offices in London and Sydney, Chris’s clients include Sony Music, Syngenta, British Transport Police, Nike, Nordoff Robbins, Music Industry Trust Awards and the Premier League. In previous roles he helped design Qatar’s successful campaign to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and has worked for key clients such as Vodafone, Casio and Oracle. He points out: “while I’m not ‘that’ Chris Evans, my brother-in-law was his producer at Radio 2 for many years – cue much confusion.”



Will White, Global Director of Marketing & Communications at Baker McKenzie


Will White is a board level strategic senior communications adviser with more than 20 years of experience in media relations, corporate communications, crisis communications, digital and internal communications. Previously the global head of media relations at EY where he spent 13 years, he has since 2014 been an adviser on all aspects of Baker McKenzie's marketing and communications strategy to senior global leadership including Global Chair, Chief Operating Officer, Regional Managing Partners and other board members. He has a background in politics and trade associations.


Melissa Lawrence, Chief Executive at Taylor Bennett Foundation


The Taylor Bennett Foundation is a charity focussing on improving ethnic diversity in PR and Communications, through training, internship and mentoring programmes. Melissa has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 20 years and is a passionate advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion. Prior to joining the Foundation, Melissa worked for a City-based social mobility charity, working with businesses in the financial, professional and related services sector to help them develop their corporate social responsibility, diversity and talent pipeline initiatives. She is an established leader with a creative entrepreneurial spirit with the ability to engage with a wide range of stakeholders. Melissa also features in the PRWeek UK Power Book 2020.



Robbie Sommerville, Managing Director of Corporate Affairs at Macquarie Group.


Robbie Sommerville has spent more than 15 years in corporate communications and is currently Managing Director of Corporate Affairs at Macquarie Group, most recently leading the Commodities and Global Markets communication team. He previously led the EMEA region during the privatisation and of the Green Investment Bank from HM Government, and has since helped build its reputation as a major investor in assets and infrastructure supporting the green energy transition. Before Macquarie, Robbie worked in senior communication roles with Royal Bank of Canada, HSBC, Rio Tinto, Fortis and the Royal Bank of Scotland.



Pamela Kingsland executive coach


Pamela Kingsland is an HCPC Registered Psychologist and an accredited Master Executive Coach. For the past 23 years she has coached senior business leaders from CEO downwards, and their teams, across the globe. She has her own coaching practice, Illume Coaching Limited, as well as working with organisations such as LHH and Orgshakers. She has clients in both private and public sectors and across a wide range of industries including financial, media, pharmaceuticals, and professional services. She is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Founding Member of the Association for Coaching.



Andrew McConnell, Head of Media at UK Civil Aviation Authority


Andrew McConnell has worked in the transport and travel industry for 28 years. He has specialised in communications since 2007. He has previously worked for Heathrow Express, easyJet, Virgin Trains, and the Department for Transport.


Tijs Broeke, Government Relations Lead at HP


Tijs is a communications and government relations advisor to global brands and U.K. based organisations. He currently leads government relations for HP Inc in U.K., Ireland and Northern Europe. In addition, Tijs is a Common Councillor in the City of London, he serves on the boards of the Museum of London, the Barbican Centre and chairs the City of London Academies Trust supporting 10 schools across London.



John Gill, Account Manager at Thoburns Communications

John Gill has a background in political communications. He has advised professional services companies, including large multinational law firms, and as well as firms in emerging and frontier markets, particularly on their media outreach and engagement. John started his career in an in-house communications role at National Savings & Investments – the state-owned UK savings bank and he has also worked as a press officer for a political party.



Nick Dolezal, public relations and communications consultant


Nick Dolezal is an experienced manager in the public relations and communications industry, skilled in sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, government, urban planning, and event management. Nick has spent 20 years as a London Borough of Southwark councillor.



Samantha Chapman, Strategic Communications Lead, Royal Navy


Samantha Chapman has worked in the communications industry for 20 years. After a career in journalism, she became communications manager for international charity Plan before joining the Ministry of Defence in 2009. She has worked mainly for the Royal Navy, spearheading high profile international campaigns such as the D-Day 75 celebrations in Portsmouth last year, the arrival of the nation’s aircraft carriers and has deployed globally – for which she also received a Commander Joint Operations commendation in the Operational Honours and Awards List. Sam’s civil service career has also encompassed a two-year secondment to the Foreign Office where she was a founding member of Global Britain and had specialist project stints at the Cabinet Office and Home Office.



John Slaughter, Director of External Affairs for the Home Builders Federation

John has a general representational role at HBF and is also responsible for a wide range of policy issues at both national and regional level. His responsibilities include political liaison for HBF and representations on major legislation and regulatory change and helps provide HBF’s media comment. He has particular policy responsibility for skills, urban design and sustainability and innovation issues and also leads HBF’s work on the supply of housing for older people. He is a member of the leadership board of the Home Building Skills Partnership, a Commissioner for the Affordable Housing Commission and is currently a member of the Construction Leadership Council’s Covid-19 task force. John formerly worked in the oil and gas industry and as a civil servant at the Department for Trade and Industry.



John Dickinson-Lilley, Director of Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London


John is an experienced communications professional with a depth and breadth of experience including media, public affairs, marketing and campaigns having worked extensively in third and public sectors. John began his career as a national Vice-President for NUS playing a leading role in the campaign against top-up fees. Following a stint in local government he campaigned on a range of voluntary sector issues winning concessions on key legislation such as the Equality Act. In 2010 John joined the Hacked Off team on behalf of people like the Dowlers and Hillsborough families. At Sport England he was involved in the development of the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign. John has also worked within the civil service at the Parliamentary Ombudsman and CITB. In 2017 John retired as Great Britain’s No.1 men’s visually impaired skier with titles of double British Champion and European Cup slalom champion in 2016 and placed in the world top ten. You’ll also often see John accompanied by his guide dog, Brett.



Lorraine Donald, Communications Consultant


Lorraine is a senior business and corporate communications professional, a trained journalist, writer and editor. She advises and supports businesses with strategic communications management and delivery, across multiple channels. She specialises in internal communications, with wide experience of external and media relations. Her career began in local newspaper reporting, followed by senior in-house corporate communications roles. Lorraine has been a successful freelance consultant for more than 25 years, working with UK-based and international organisations. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Internal Communications (IOiC), serving judge/evaluator for UK and international communications awards competitions, including the International Association of Business Communications (IABC) Gold Quill Awards.



Peter Dunphy, Director at Company Sales Plus


Peter Dunphy is a corporate investment, M&A and sale specialist. He was previously Private Equity Investment Director, divisional CEO, Hamilton Bradshaw Private Equity/Ngage Recruitment Group and Founder, CEO & Chair of global staffing business Darwin Rhodes Group. Peter is an elected member of the City of London Corporation and Deputy of Cornhill Ward. He sits on the City's Licensing and Planning & Transportation Committees and is lead trustee of the 'Honourable Irish Society'. An experienced film producer he has acted as lead Executive Producer on 12 features including 'Mad to be Normal' (David Tennant, Elisabeth Moss), 'Funny Cow' (Maxine Peake, Stephen Graham) and 'The Quiet One' (Bill Wyman/Rolling Stones feature doc). A former parliamentary candidate, he is also Lib Dem party treasurer and was a co-founder of the cross party Unite to Remain campaign. He is a serial entrepreneur and investment adviser in company sales, tech start-ups and recruitment as well as in film & TV.


Richard Lambert, Chief Executive, National Hair & Beauty Federation


Richard Lambert is Chief Executive of the National Hair and Beauty Federation. He was previously Chief Executive of the National Landlords Association, and before that, of the British Woodworking Federation. He began his career as a Clerk in the House of Commons, where over 10 years he worked on Select Committees, various aspects of the legislative process and interparliamentary affairs. Following a brief spell in commercial lobbying, he moved into trade associations, spending five years as the Policy Director covering residential issues at the British Property Federation. In 2019, Richard received the Trade Association Forum’s Best Practice Award for Outstanding Contribution and the Association Excellence Silver Award for Best Leadership. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Association Leadership and the Royal Society of Arts and a former Chairman of the National Training Organisation, Housing Potential.