With over 25 years experience in public relations (PR) and a Bachelor’s qualification in Communications (PR and Journalism), Kieran Moore is the CEO of the largest PR Company in Australia: Ogilvy Public Relations, and one of Australia’s top 2012 women to watch in the media. Leaders in Heels recently caught up with Kieran to find out how she made it to the top. We chatted about her experiences in working in the PR industry and what advice she would give to women wanting to follow a similar career path.
Leaders in Heels: Can you share your journey on how you made it to the top?
Kieran Moore: Not sure I have made it to the top, but I do know like everyone who has succeeded in their chosen career, I have worked very hard. It’s amazing really, the harder I work, the luckier I get. Who would have thought!
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I started working at the NSW Society for Crippled Children as an intern when I finished University. I ended up joining the communications staff, staying three years and learning an extraordinary amount about people and their motivations. I also began to learn the importance of storytelling – not spin – which to this day remains a fundamental part of what good PR people do. I also did everything that was asked of me, regardless of whether it was in my job description or not. That included collecting dry cleaning and feeding the boss’s cat!
It’s amazing really – the harder I work, the luckier I get. Who would have thought! – Kieran Moore
I worked in London for thirteen years, setting me up on a good career trajectory. It’s probably the epicentre of PR and creativity so if you can make it in London in my mind, you can make it anywhere. It’s tough, it’s competitive and you have to be good to succeed. I also got my first taste of senior management there and found that I was able to inspire people to work hard while they still remained happy.
Coming back to Australia around a decade ago, I was appointed joint Managing Director of Howorth, Australia’s top business and technology agency and part of the wider Ogilvy group. I was appointed CEO of Ogilvy PR two years ago.
In a tough business period we are expanding having just opened an office in Adelaide. We are particularly pleased that the two practice areas that we established in Australia; a sustainability practice OgilvyEarth and internal communications practice, Ogilvy Impact, have now been adopted as international brands by Ogilvy worldwide.
The important thing is that I still find it challenging, exciting and fulfilling.
LiH: What challenges are there for women working in the PR industry?
KM: I don’t think there are any. Certainly here at Ogilvy people rise or fall on merit.
The important thing is that I still find it challenging, exciting and fulfilling.A quick note from LH Agenda…
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The biggest challenge for the PR industry is not gender-based; it is in its inability to clearly articulate what it does, from a business perspective and to explain why people like me should be proud to work in it.
Communications is in a period of extraordinary change, with the skills we offer going from a nice-to-have to a must-have for companies and organisations seeking to prosper in a digital age. The profession is changing from one relying almost totally on the written word, to using many and varied communication channels to deliver our clients’ stories. This has vastly broadened our scope, our ambition and our expertise.
My biggest personal challenge is finding enough time to do everything, from running the business to looking after my family which includes my beautiful five year old daughter Grace. But in the modern world, those challenges are the same challenges everyone faces, male or female.
LiH: What advice would you give to women starting their career?
Only listen to the people you respect and indulge the rest.
KM: Never give up. Only listen to the people you respect and indulge the rest. Never think that you won’t do something if it’s outside your job specifications. People like people who try new things, push themselves and don’t complain. Turn up both mentally and physically. Get excited. Be bold. But at the same time, keep the job in perspective. We do important work; Julia Gillard does vital work: understand the difference. Have fun!