Meet the people behind the award winning Manchester PR Agency
Award Winning Manchester PR AgencyOur staff
An agency is only as strong as its people, and we have some very strong PR professors aboard. With decades of experience between us, ranging from consumer and B2B public relations to marketing and journalism, expect inquisitive minds, original thinkers, first rate multi-media experts, and fearlessly intrepid industry orchestrators . Not to mention stand out results.
At Smoking Gun PR we’re always interested in meeting potential colleagues and welcome applications from novices and veterans alike. That is providing they can think laterally, and come up with inventive and ingenious ideas on a daily basis. Oh, and they need to be jolly nice too; after all, we’re a friendly old bunch. Please visit our PR jobs page for any current vacancies
Managing Director and Co-Owner
Rick previously enjoyed spells in full-service agencies, was MD at major consumer specialist PR outfit and has led accounts on many major international brands. He is committed to continuous professional development and enjoys helping staff grow as much as seeing clients in the media.
Rick grew up with the media in his blood thanks to his Uncle Peter, an acclaimed writer. The obsession was confirmed whilst a paperboy, reading the sports section of every national between deliveries each weekend. This was the same time he showed his first entrepreneurial spark, taking on paper rounds for the Wigan Reporter, Leader and Observer papers covering his entire village, before sub-contracting school friends to work for him.
Later, Rick’s customer centric approach and business understanding was formed when working for major companies Whitbread, Georgia Pacific and Royal Mail.
After breaking into media by launching and editing JJ’s magazine for Wigan Athletic Rick faced a career crossroads when he was offered an agency PR role and a position as a football correspondent with the Wigan Evening Post. He chose PR and has never looked back.
His all time favourite story is Lord Of The Rings which he feels remains as captivating for him now as it was when he was a child.
Director and Co-Owner
It was clear from a very early age that a vivid imagination and a love of people and company were central to Vanessa’s personality. Over the years these skills became turned into a flair for story telling, becoming the obvious basis for a future in communication.
Vanessa has worked at a variety of PR, event and integrated marketing agencies in addition to in-house marketing and PR roles after studying media production.
Whether dressing Coronation Street stars on the catwalk, running private parties at the homes of England’s international footballers or securing full-page features in national press, Vanessa’s friendly demeanor always comes to the fore.
Vanessa showed glimpses of her future career choice when taking on the task of organising her university leavers ball with her friend, in the process booking up and coming comic Peter Kay to headline the event for the princely sum of £250 with a rider consisting of several hotel mini bars worth of booze!
Vanessa’s chosen story is Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (it does not pay to be mean, however everyone deserves a second chance)Prev | Next
As one of our most senior team members, you might expect Sarah Twyman to be a seasoned public relations veteran with a passion for seeing big ideas brought to life, and a desire to thrust brands into the spotlight, irrespective of their size or budget. But all that would really be an understatement.
With more than 12 years in the industry behind her, Sarah has had time to specialise, carving out a niche for herself in the fashion and beauty sectors, whilst also developing her skills across the playing field. The end product being an enviably knowledgable professional who places creativity and insights at the centre of her work, crafting innovative campaigns for companies before providing them with the results to prove exactly what she has achieved on their behalf.
Hence her being such a good match for Smoking Gun.
Originally hailing from Kent, but having spent seven years working in London after graduating from UCLan with a degree in Journalism and Fashion Promotion, Sarah boasts an intimidating list of household brand names, all of who she has assisted in garnering attention from the public and press alike. From major supermarket chains to some of the most recognisable firms in the FMCG marketplace, she brings to our office a strategic mind full of unique concepts- exactly the kind of tour de force our clients deserve.
Sarah’s favourite book is 1000 Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini for many reasons, not leas the fact it’s one of the only stories to ever make her cry.Prev | Next
In every successful agency you need a mix of experience and fresh ideas. With more than eleven years behind her in Manchester’s communications industry then, during which time she has honed impressive skills and developing forward thinking concepts, Hayley represents both those requirements, personified.
Beginning her career at the age of just 17, just over a decade later and Hayley has racked up the kind of resume that would make many more mature professionals green with envy. A specialist in travel, hospitality, mother and baby, food, and retail public relations, her CV name-checks some of the biggest brands in those businesses, from Aldi and Warburtons to Holiday Inn, All Saints and Eurocamp. That’s before we come to mention the British Army.
With a keen understanding of what constitutes successful strategic planning, and a love for the same insight-driven approach that lies at the heart of the Smoking Gun PR, her love of data, reports and intelligence-focused campaign work means it took no time at all for Hayley to become a core member of the family here on Bridge Street. Forsaking fluff for hard work based on real insights and knowledge garnered from a big agency background, to say we value her input would be the understatement of the century.
Hayley’s favourite book is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which transfixed her as a teenager because of its moral hero and the moving nature of the story told through the eyes of a little girl, making it the first book she ever felt emotional about.Prev | Next
A fresh face on Manchester’s PR scene, with a refreshingly fearless approach to match, Jane’s experience speaks volumes. She brings over a decade of experience working alongside some of London’s brightest creative agencies, and dealing with brands ranging from Kenwood to Mumm Champagne, she leaves an impressive trail of campaigns in her wake.
Jane’s interest in the media developed while studying the subject with Psychology at university. A month after her move to the capital she played a part in organising Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit party and a brand building role for FMCG soon followed. As did a journalist in a pumpkin, a pub for dogs and a Bond girl dressed in carrier bags.
More recently Jane has adopted an epicurean attitude towards her career with work for Phipps PR. Her job – promoting Green & Black’s, Kettle Chips and Tio Pepe – was almost as enviable as the following career break spent in the Alps and Cornwall.
Jane is currently trying to read the Game of Thrones books and struggling to work out whether to read book three or watch series four.Prev | Next
A love of writing and storytelling led Rose into the world of PR, and her wizardry with words has made her a valuable addition to the industry, not to mention our agency. Beginning her career at a celebrity and entertainment media agency in London, she spent much of those early years chasing down the capital’s elite, running from one exceptionally well orchestrated red carpet event to another.
Skipping forward to today, Rose now has over seven year’s experience in the public relations game, and during this time has honed her notable skills to focus on several distinct specialisms; travel, arts, culture and interiors. Enviable by anyone’s standards, career highlights include heading up major PR campaigns for clients ranging from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to Silentnight.
Despite such high flying achievements, Rose does ‘Northern Grit’ very well indeed, not that this is too surprising given she calls the Derbyshire Peaks home. Hence an Instagram account full of the stunning scenery surrounding said house. Working with real determination and dedication to any project, she’s happiest when brainstorming creative plans with her teams and developing strategies for high impact brand undertakings,
Rose’s favourite book is The Colour Purple, by Alice Walker, because it reminds her that anything is possible. Oh, and she’s also obsessed with sausage dogs.Prev | Next
Gio de Cosmo
Digital Account Director
“I don’t just love words, but the data that lies behind them in the online world.” Introducing our head of all things digital, Gio di Cosmo, a man who puts things better than we ever could.
With a career history that began in Leicester, touched on London, before heading north to our own home of Manchester, breadth of experience is one way to describe Gio’s past. Under his own admission, he’s less a PR person than webbie- indicative of our desire to draw in talent from across the media playing field- he started out on the ladder at MyVoucherCodes.co.uk as site manager, beginning a long-lasting involvement in both affiliate marketing and PPC campaigns.
Gio’s passion for languages- their technical and historic development- extends well beyond the coded, too, and can be traced back to studying English and French Literature at the University of Warwick. A truly multi-faceted asset to our company, in the time between then and now he has covered everything from SEO to social media and content creation, meaning there really is no better man for the job at hand.
Although he studied an array of seductive and saucy Gallic novels ‘purely to pass my degree’, Gio’s all-time top story is Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying Lot of 49, thanks to its breathtaking fusion of chaos and communication, the play-within-a-play format, and the yarn’s ability to leave you guessing as to the scribe’s real motivations. An unforgettable read.Prev | Next
Publicist / Junior Account Manager
As advocates of a new approach to PR- one that takes in talent from a wide range of sectors to create a truly multi-disciplinary, multi-skilled and creative task force- it makes sense that one of our desks provides a home to someone whose career spans everything from the UK charts to public relations.
Introducing our Publicist and Junior Account Manager, Emma Beard. Joining us from a decidedly varied, not to mention somewhat star-studded background, she brings to the team a wide range of communicative experience, proven agency success, and a desire to achieve the best possible results for brands and personalities alike, via unique and innovative approaches to starting conversations.
Having a clear understanding of the way in which publicity works, on both ends of the camera, positions Emma as a truly rare asset, with her time spent as a recording artist signed to one of the world’s biggest record labels affording an understanding as to exactly what clients expect, want and require when engaging with any media representatives.
Moving herself out of the limelight, and into the fast-paced world of public relations, where she specialised in fashion, the result is more than a decade spent honing her knowledge and expertise, making this particular member of our in-house family a genuine one-of-a-kind. Outside the office, Emma likes to busy herself in the open countryside- in her own, typically tongue-in-cheek words: ‘imagine a Nike advert, that’s me, on the weekend’.
Emma’s favourite book is Harry Potter, simply because she would have loved to study at Howarts, and not least because of the adventures, mystery, mischief and friendships that prevail the fantasy seat of academe. Oh, and the magic, of course.Prev | Next
Community and Social Media Manager
If social prowess is all about personality, then Terri Lowe was made for her role at Smoking Gun PR. A natural self-starter, she arrived with a wealth of experience, but in the spirit of good storytelling let’s start somewhere near the beginning.
A graduate in 3D Design: Crafts from Staffordshire University, she bagged her first break when an app development agency spotted her work, providing the first opening in a career that has now spanned the best part of a decade, giving her the exceptional multi-channel marketing skills she now uses to promote our clients.
With a portfolio ranging from cosmetics and make up giants to entertainment brands, her achievements include putting the Chinese State Circus on Channel 4 staple, Sunday Brunch, and HQhair’s 16th Birthday in London, where the great and greater of good looking descended on a top hotel in the capital.
Combining brains with a passion for beauty, Terri also runs her own well respected blog, which takes in everything from appearance to music, culture to food and lifestyle, meaning she is ideally informed on all we hold dear to our hearts. Not least considering she also owns two cats. A regular at festivals when not burning the midnight oil in our office or online, her passion and dedication are exemplary, making her an ideal fit for our team.
Terri’s favourite book is The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks’ first novel about a teenage psychopath, simply because she’s drawn towards non-linear tales with a twist.Prev | Next
Senior Account Executive
When you need a keen eye for unique news angles, tireless determination, excellent communication skills and top trend awareness, you’ll struggle to find many people more suited to the task than a journalist. Introducing Rachel, then, a face we count ourselves lucky to have on board for that very reason.
Winding the clock almost all the way back, Rachel’s professional experience began straight after her Professional Broadcasting course at Salford University, when she bagged a spot as Editorial Assistant at the Lancashire Evening Post. Working her way up the ranks to journalist, she quickly became the go-to scribe for weird and wonderful features- whether that was dressing up as a zombie for Farmageddon, shearing sheep on North West hillsides, or interviewing Brian Blessed about electronic cat collars in the middle of Preston Flag Market.
Such variety of experiences will only ever stand someone in good stead for a career in public relations, meaning Rachel could quickly settle into her next role at the agency KRPR, working clients ranging from food giant Wall’s Pastry to web designers Fat Media. Which is where we found and approached this rapidly rising professional star. Thankfully, between her continued hunt for the world’s finest gins, and ongoing work on her first home, she found the time to take us up on the offer.
Rachel’s favourite book is also the first book she remembers being read, Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree, simply because it reminds her of how each day can be an adventure, if the right people are around you.Prev | Next
Senior Account Executive
Martha represents the new generation of public relations and marketing experts- those whose knowledge of the game has been gleaned from involvement in both sides of the industry. The result being another asset for our highly acclaimed team.
A former broadcast journalist, Martha’s journey to Bridge Street takes in high profile news organisations ranging from BBC Radio Manchester to ITV, where she was a production journalist covering the Channel Islands. Both positions followed undergraduate and post graduate courses in English Literature and History, and Broadcast Journalism respectively.
After establishing herself with the press she decided it was time for a new challenge, making the leap across to the other side of the phone line, taking up a post at a Guernsey PR agency, where those finely honed skills in live programming, writing, story sourcing, interviewing and news gathering did not go to waste. Now firmly settled back in Manchester, with the city’s finest communication innovators (us), despite missing the sea dearly Martha is building on our capacity to fulfill a broad range of client requirements, whilst also bolstering our niche skillset no end.
Martha’s favourite story is Bram Stoker’s gothic masterpiece Dracula, because of the way it gives such an insight into Victorian society, and no matter how many times you read the tale it remains as terrifying as ever.Prev | Next
Junior Digital Account Executive
A testament to Smoking Gun PR’s focus on investing not just in the future of our own agency, but the future of the industry as a whole, Meabh Crehan is proof that hard work, insight and the desire to achieve both academically and professionally count for much in this game.
Joining the team initially for a placement year amid a Marketing Management course at Manchester Metropolitan University, her keen eye for quality writing and clear understanding of what’s needed to take control- be that of a campaign or pitch- marked her out as the best candidate for the role. Meanwhile, time spent volunteering in Mumbai, where she taught English, Arts & Crafts, confirms she’s more than willing to roll up her sleeves and get involved for the good of worthy causes. Now, Meabh joins the Digital team working part-time whilst completing her final year at university.
Meabh is Greater Manchester born and bred, and as such already has the core skills needed to succeed in this northern powerhouse. Namely determination and creative flair. After working in and amongst a digital marketing agency during her second year of studies, she quickly realised the fast-paced, varied and challenging agency lifestyle was for her. A wonderful addition to our team who displays talents far beyond her experience, to say her endeavours thus far have impressed would be an understatement.
Meabh’s favourite book is One Day, by David Nicholls, as it reinforces the idea you should live in the moment and grasp any and all opportunities that come your way.Prev | Next
Junior Account Executive
They say good things come to those who wait. Here on Bridge Street we prefer to think great things come to those who work, with our current placement student, Rhianna Tudor, providing the Smoking Gun evidence of just how true that is.
Originally hailing from North Yorkshire, Rhianna has since moved south to find herself in England’s friendliest city, Sheffield, where she is currently in the midst of a BA Honours in Public Relations at the city’s acclaimed Hallam University. One of the best places in the country to study media courses, it’s no surprise she managed to bag a 12 month role here at Manchester’s most ingenious PR firm.
A founding member of her university Cocktail Society, Rhianna is already a dab hand at liaising with business owners, planning and running events. Hence her experience at the intimate but highly regarded Y Not Festival in Derbyshire, where she took on the role of artist liaison and stage hand, betraying a love for performing on stage herself- from the Tour de France Celebratory Gala Dinner in Leeds, to Handel’s Messiah with the Parliamentary Choir at York Minster. Like we said, hard work, we’re keen to make sure her efforts do not go unrewarded as she hones skills with our talented team, and most likely teaches us a little something in the process too.
Rhianna’s favourite book is currently Gone Girl, because it shows that there are two sides to every story.Prev | Next
Office Manager and PA to Directors
We all know the attributes every good manager needs. An eye for detail, a regimented approach to timekeeping and military precision when it comes to organisational skills. Consider all three points well and truly checked by Natalie.
The head in charge of office operations has plenty of experience taming the untamable, making her the perfect fit for the frantic pace of public relations. Her career history spans a distinguished spell in the armed forces, during which time she clocked up thousands of globetrotting miles, had to be easy adaptable, not to mention meticulously coordinated.
From here she was promoted to mother, leaving the old ranks behind to begin training her own little squad up from the ground. Time then spent working as a PA to the GM and Directors of Kerry Foods only provides further evidence to show that these are the ideal shoulders for Smoking Gun PR to place its trust upon. That’s when she’s not out exploring the Great British Countryside, or knee deep in a rugby scrum alongside her beloved family.
Natalie’s favourite book is actually a series, Harry Potter, but for good reasons. First of all, the stories recall her own time at boarding school, learning to be a good team member. Then the classic good v evil bit is always a winner. And, finally, some have said she has hair a little like Hermione, and her work is true magic.Prev | Next