Six of the best

The Company of Communicators continues to grow, welcoming six new communications leaders as well as a returning member, making it a magnificent seven.

The Company’s ties to the Armed Forces are strongly evident among the new ranks, which include two top defence communications experts. They were admitted as Company Freemen at a virtual Freedom Ceremony on April 27 overseen by Master Communicator Deborah Oliver.

The new members are:

Ann-Marie Blake, Chartered PR Practitioner

Ann-Marie has over 20 years’ experience as a business communicator. She has spent the majority of her career working in large global firms across a number of disciplines including PR, marketing, corporate affairs, media relations, change and internal communications. A keen mentor and executive coach she is passionate about helping others build their confidence so they can reach their full potential. Ann-Marie holds Chartered PR Practitioner status. She is a founder board member of PRCA REEB and sits on the IABC International Executive Board.

Simon Bucknall, Public Speaking Expert

Simon helps leaders achieve greater impact through the spoken word as an award-winning speaker, coach and facilitator. In 2017, Simon placed 2nd out of 30,000+ competing speakers in the Final of the World Championship of Public Speaking in Vancouver, Canada.

Clients include FTSE 100 C-suite executives, entrepreneurs, leading business schools, politicians, academics and leaders in the not-for-profit sector. Simon’s career spans executive headhunting, corporate brand strategy consulting plus a stint working in the House of Commons as Head of Office for a senior Parliamentarian. He is an Adjunct Faculty member at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government and a Visiting Fellow in Professional Skills at Cambridge University.

In 2018, Simon was the opening speaker for TEDxLondon on the need for public speaking to be taught in the school curriculum. He is an Ambassador for the children’s charity I CAN.

Mark Laity Director at The StratCom Academy

Mark is a widely respected expert on Strategic Communications and security and one of the leaders in its development within NATO where his nickname was ‘Mr StratCom’. He has been involved with the media, information & Strategic Communication for more than four decades, both as a journalist, mostly with the BBC, where he was the Defence Correspondent, & then in a variety of senior posts in NATO. He has had a long association with the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, notably their Afghanistan tour of 2006, for which he received NATO’s Meritorious Service Medal.

Tracey Paul, Chief Strategy and Communications Officer

Tracey is currently based in the city of London working in a senior strategy and communications role with the government-backed terrorism reinsurer Pool Re.

Prior to this Tracey was Chief of Staff to Dame Louise Casey and worked closely with Louise on her Independent review into Opportunity and Integration in the UK which examined the challenges faced by our most marginalized communities.

Tracey has also worked for a number of public sector organisation’s including the National Citizen Service and the British Heart Foundation, and for almost two decades held senior organisational and communication roles in the Labour Party.

Tracey is currently studying to become a City of London Tour Guide and spends her weekends learning northern soul dancing.

John Rowland, Managing Director at Cicero/AMO

John is a Managing Director in the UK Public Affairs team at Cicero/AMO. He is head of the financial service practice and also leads Cicero's political risk analysis, writing and speaking regularly on the intersection of politics and markets. He joined Cicero as a graduate in 2006. He was posted to Washington D.C. from 2010-2013. After returning, John joined the Cicero board and was part of the management team that took Cicero from boutique agency to the U.K's top ranked team by revenue (PR Week) and then to successful sale to global giant Havas in 2020. He holds a BSc in Government from LSE and an MSc from the UCL School of Public Policy.

Alexandra Schillemore, Head of Digital and Content at British Army

Alexandra is a digital communications specialist with more than a decade of experience in international and domestic communications across a number of UK government departments and 10 Downing Street. She has advised on some of the government’s most high-profile news, events and marketing campaigns. Passionate about using digital tools for both communications and engagement she was instrumental in the development of digital diplomacy at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, delivering training to diplomats around the globe. Alex has worked in UK Defence Communications for seven years, in both the Royal Navy as Head of Digital, and the British Army where she is currently the Head of Digital and Creative Content.

Una Riley CEO at International Professional Security Association

Una is a returning member and a Past Master of the Company of Communicators (CoPRP) and Past Master Emeritus and ‘First Lady of the Company’ of the WCoSP (Worshipful Company of Security Professionals). She has worked in press media for many years: local newspapers, magazines, and national press. Her last media role was working for ANG in Fleet Street. In 1985 she was burgled and decided to start a Systems Security Company. For the first two years of the business, she was also Marketing Director on the Daily Mail Guide to Home Security and have written for Professional Security Magazine for over twenty years. She is Patron and creator of the WiS Awards (Women in Security Awards) and currently the CE of IPSA (International Professional Security Association). She is registered blind… a disability that now defines her but does not stop her.

“I am delighted to welcome yet another group of new Freemen to our Company in our twentieth year,” says Master Communicator Deborah Oliver. “Despite the pandemic, the Company continues to attract a high calibre of new members as we head towards being a Worshipful Company. We are all looking forward to meeting all our new members face-to-face when our events resume in the City of London this summer.”


Notes for Editors:

The Company of Communicators is part of the ‘Livery’ - the City of London’s trades associations and Guilds. The Company is a modern Livery Company, promoting the communications profession and contributing to society through volunteering and raising funds for the Charitable Trust. It has 169 Freemen (members) and is seeking to raise funds for its Charitable Trust as part of the communications industry’s drive to equal other ancient and modern trades and professions in the City of London, by gaining full Livery Company status.