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 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.Next
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
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 experinence working alongside some of London’s brightest creative agencies, and dealing with brands ranging from Winalot 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 several alcoholic drinks – was almost as enviable as the Alpine ski trips and Cornish surfing holidays that now punctuate her freelance work.
Jane’s favourite story is The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. With incredibly beautiful language befitting the most vivid of poems, you can feel Kerala spring up around you.Prev | Next
A decade or so after graduating from Sheffield Hallam, Louise remains a Steel City girl, daily crossing the Yorkshire/Lancashire border all in the name of PR.
It didn’t take long for Louise to find her feet in the public relations game. Diving in at the deep end of public sector work, her role with an NHS Trust quickly gave way to consumer work for agencies in Sheffield and Leeds, during which time she has produced outstanding results for a plethora of high profile clients. Not least Stoves, Belling, Hallmark Cards and Jet2.com, with one campaign even gaining the backing of Ed Miliband and another a CIPR Excellence Award for social media.
Clearly innovative and forward thinking, appearances at universities across the region are indicative of her appreciation for the need to ensure tomorrow’s bright young things can match these high standards.
Louise’s favourite book is The Twits by Roald Dahl. A tale she read and re-read as a young girl, this timeless tale is exemplary of why its creator is one of the greatest scribes of all time, regardless of your age.Prev | Next
Senior Account Manager
Combining tenacity and talent, Lisa brings to the team in-depth industry knowledge and a vast amount of media experience, gleaned from a career full of adventure and glamour that has taken her around the world and back again.
Starting out at one of London’s top entertainment agencies, Lisa quickly became well-versed in organising interviews and spreads with the stars. An impressive first job, it wasn’t long before her strengths were noticed thanks to great results for BBC and Channel 4‘s 4DVD, amongst others.
Achievements in the capital ensured no shortage of opportunities elsewhere, and soon there was an offer from a North West travel specialist. Along with responsibilities as the youngest Account Executive to lead press trips at the firm, notably to Antigua, Barbados, and Moscow- no mean feat by anyone’s standards.
2009 marked another bold move. Relocating to Australia, positions at some of Sydney’s finest consultancies saw her continue in travel and entertainment, work on food and beverage campaigns, and handle tech and FMCG clients such as LG Electronics and Maybelline NY. Moving back to the UK last year, a freelance contract bridges the gap between her return to Britain and arrival at Smoking Gun.
Lisa’s favourite book is Jeffrey Archer’s Prisoner Of Birth. A mystery that retells Alexandre Dumas’ The Count Of Monte Cristo, it’s indicative of why you shouldn’t make judgements based on the cover alone.Prev | Next
Senior Account Executive
Ben’s work in public relations is defined by variety. From commercial agencies to Liverpool University’s press office, the passion with which he approaches creative communication has never faltered.
Moving on from a BA in History Ben soon found himself in a work experience role at an integrated ad agency, and on a career path set to combine his love of writing, creativity and keen inter-personal skills. After working as an assistant on the Manchester Science Festival, a role that saw him perform ‘science busks’ on the street, this drive towards PR was firmly set on the road to Smoking Gun.
Ben’s book of choice is Casino Royale, but not simply because of the guns, girls and exotic locales. Ian Fleming’s mixologist approach to blending exciting stories with product placement is worthy of the drinks in the plot, and cocktail recipe at the end.Prev | Next
Social Media Apprentice
To join the UK’s first ever social media apprenticeship scheme candidates need to be passionate about online, and hungry to develop their professional credentials. As the newest recruit to join Smoking Gun PR, Sam certainly fits the bill.
Bringing with her Media, Combined English, and Philosophy A-Levels, notable experience working for school newspapers, and a fresh, digital-native attitude, Sam’s excellent blog- Samwich Box- is indicative of her already finely honed abilities. Precisely the right addition to our innovative marketing mix.
Now holding a groundbreaking position within this particular public relations team, clearly Sam has dazzlingly bright career prospects that shine well into the future, with her current City & Guilds vocational training the first major rung on that ladder. Needless to say then, we’re honoured to be part of her story in progress.
Sam’s favourite book is The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky; she loves epistolary novels and this one pulls her in time after time.Prev | Next
Developing a love for the industry at college, Kate went on to study Media and Communications at Birmingham City University in 2008. Dabbling in subjects including photography, web design and music promotion, she finally decided to focus on PR as a specialism.
After graduation Kate rapidly gained experience on both consumer and not for profit public relations projects. Working in house and within agencies, her roles ranged from Web Content Editor to Account Executive before joining Smoking Gun.
Indicative of her ability to excel at both digital and traditional campaigns, Kate’s track record with brands and organisations including North Face, Magnet Kitchens, and Deafness Support Network speaks for itself, making her a welcome addition to the team. Not to mention a rising star in the profession.
Kate’s favourite book, for the time being at least, is Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger. And for one simple reason. The line ‘It’s history, it’s poetry’ sums up what writing and reading mean to her.Prev | Next
At each stage of Beth’s career, public relations has played an integral part. Whether that’s in law, sales, event coordination or in-house PR & marketing roles.
Gaining consumer experience in the industry via a work placement here at Smoking Gun, Beth hasn’t looked back since joining the team full time, and brings with her diverse commercial experience, and expertise gleaned from post-graduate studies in law.
Whilst on the course, Beth was fascinated by the influence the media had on legal decisions and this triggered her love of all things related. Beth would often end up elbow deep in the news coverage of cases, rather than statute books, making her current career as inevitable as it is suited to her strengths and interests.
The fact she also loves a good press launch obviously helps too. Always driven to produce the best results for clients, from multi-nationals such as Emirates and Siemens to smaller firms, attention to detail and creative thinking come as standard, as do great communications, exemplified in her strong client relations.
Beth’s favourite book is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. “You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them”. This one line sums up why the author’s only book is such an amazing read, with its central themes still prominent 60 years on, making for a timeless novel that belongs on any list of greats.Prev | Next
An NCTJ, PTC and MA qualified writer with a strong national network of contacts, Martin brings to the team perfectly punctuated web and print copy, leading to efficient press penetration and increased brand recognition.
Prior to his accreditations Martin worked with Marks & Spencer handling supplier accounts. This early corporate experience honed his skill for dealing with clients on a one-to-one basis in environments where strong relationships are key to impressive results.
As well as writing for a host of national and international media titles, Martin has edited various websites and specialises in writing SEO rich copy- from press releases to web content.
Besides perfect prose, Martin has a passion for music and film and can regularly be found backstage at Britain’s biggest industry festivals.
Martin’s most captivating story is The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4. As precious to him today as when he was 14, it features all the things you think about at high school, but are too scared to tell anyone. Hilariously tragic and honest.Prev | Next
If a company is only as good as its organisation, then Jess’ input into Smoking Gun’s fortunes speaks for itself. The youngest member of our full time team, despite her age she plays an integral role by keeping the in house cogs turning.
After graduating from a course in Travel and Tourism at the Manchester College, it didn’t take long for Jess to begin her career in the media. Quickly being taken on as an intern at Music Magpie, here she honed her organisational skills and gained a clear understanding of the wider industry’s workings.
From there she joined Smoking Gun in 2012, taking on duties as the Office Manager, and has consistently proved herself a genuine asset to the firm. And, with a rapidly increasing knowledge of everything from finalising photoshoots to campaign brainstorming sessions, it’s safe to say the future’s more than bright for our front of house pro.
Jess’ favourite book is One Day, by David Nicholls. In her own words: it’s a hilarious and realistic love story, without the fluff.Prev