The Team

Meet the people behind the award winning Manchester PR Agency

Award Winning Manchester PR Agency

Our 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.

 

Your career

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

Rick's Story

Rick's Story

Rick Guttridge

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.

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Vanessa's Story

Vanessa Guttridge

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)

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KERRY's Story

KERRY ALDCROFT

Office Manager

Like any creative, ingenious machine, Smoking Gun PR only performs properly when all the wheels are well oiled, and the cogs turning properly. Thanks to Kerry our systems are constantly in tip top condition, with her keen organisational and administrative skills keeping the ship tight and delivering outstanding client service.

Joining us after a 12 year spell at legal giant Pannone LLP, most recently as Member Liaison Manager offering support to a network of external firms and solicitors, whilst there are plenty of differences between the worlds of public relations and law the two industries do share one thing in common. Namely the need for second-to-none co-ordination and management. The perfect professional to ensure we’re always in full working order, when she’s not keeping us on the straight and narrow Kerry can be found cooking for loved ones at home or pulling pints in her family’s pub – two pastimes everyone here certainly approves of.

Kerry’s favourite book is the light hearted The Time Travellers Wife. A love story but with a twist that pulls you in. As with so many successful novels, it was taken to the big screen but as is often the case it’s never as good at the original.

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Jane's Story

Jane Alcock

Associate Director

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.

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Louise's Story

Louise Woodward

Account Director

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.

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STACEY's Story

STACEY WAUGH

Senior Account Manager

Along with her passion for creativity, travel and culture, Stacey brings to the team extensive knowledge gleaned from a multitude of past PR success stories. As such the word ‘experienced’ would be an understatement.

Over the last six years since graduating in Public Relations, Stacey has clocked up plenty of miles. Time spent working in London and Leeds for stand out clients such as Remy Martin, Piper Heidsieck, Chateaux de Sours and Carte Blanche Greetings Group speaks volumes, not that her talent for marketing and conversation-starting doesn’t go well beyond food, drink and gifts. As previous achievements in sectors ranging from construction to weddings goes to show.

Add to that lessons learned about the wider world whilst passing through South America, Asia and the Pacific, not to mention her current extra-curricular studies in Spanish, and Stacey clearly fits the Smoking Gun bill. That constant hunger for information, the desire for new discoveries and an adventurous, innovative and ingenious mindset all being instant giveaways.

Stacey loves reading books based in far away countries, set in different times or cultures, to accomplish pure escapism. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts is the ultimate example of this but she also carries her love for childhood favourites Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Matilda, because of the wonderful characters who show that being nice pays off!  

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Ben's Story

Ben Ormsby

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.

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Richard's Story

Richard Wilson

Account Manager

A self-confessed grammar obsessive, indicative of a keen eye for minute details, Richard was preaching from the Smoking Gun PR Book of Measurement and Evaluation long before he joined us. A marketing mastermind made to measure for our team, you might say.

Since graduating from Lancaster University, Richard has forged a stellar career in public relations that now spans no less than three agencies and a multitude of industries. More so, he still found the time to explore every country in South East Asia during the process, which is no mean feat in itself.

Extensively experienced when it comes to B2B projects, Richard has always maintained a creative approach to providing client solutions and has garnered an enviable reputation in the industry as a result. A genuinely passionate professional, his desire to deliver high profile, innovative campaigns with genuine value for money is unwavering. So, along with constant drive and a hard working disposition, it should be abundantly clear why we were quick to offer him a place on our team.

Richard’s favourite book is Annapurna, by French climber Maurice Herzog. Herzog’s account of the 1950 French expedition that first climbed a peak over 8000m is a mountaineering epic, filled with determination, exploration, vivid descriptions of Himalayan landscapes and an excruciating march back to civilisation. The book’s final line, “there are other Annapurnas in the lives of men”, is suitably stirring and one that has proved impossible to forget.

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Sam's Story

Sam Hutchinson

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.

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Kate's Story

Kate Williams

Account Executive

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.

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Beth's Story

Beth Livesey

Account Executive

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.

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EDDIE's Story

EDDIE DUNTHORNE

Account Executive

Modern public relations requires lateral thinking, a unique perspective and far reaching skill set. As such having someone with professional knowledge of the press on both sides of the Atlantic is a priceless asset.

Finding a love for the media at a very young age, long before he heard the words ‘public relations’, Smoking Gun Account Executive Eddie Dunthorne was destined to succeed in this business. By the time he graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University he already had experience working in-house PR for a North West law firm and was soon en route to the U.S. after securing an internship with one of the world’s top information agencies, in one of the world’s most exciting cities, namely Thomson Reuters in Times Square, New York.

Indicative of a passion for news, Eddie joins the team fresh from his time in the Big Apple, bringing with him plenty of big ideas. Now tasked with using his expert eye for a good story to help secure stand out client coverage, from brainstorming the next experiential campaign to developing social media marketing concepts, Eddie’s proven track record for utilising diverse media channels to achieve greatness makes him the perfect fit for our ingenious agency. In short then, we’re proud to have him on board.

Eddie’s favourite book is Facebook. Say no more.

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Martin's Story

Martin Hewitt

Copywriter

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.

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