Speaker interviews

Speaker interviews

Speaker 1

Steve Hayes

Steve Hayes has worked in housing since 2014. He recently led communications for the Chartered Institute of Housing, where he devised and delivered Make a Stand – a campaign which encourages housing organisations to support people affected by domestic abuse.


 

What will you be speaking about at Inside Housing’s Communications Conference?

 

I will speak about the power of content, and how the key to a successful communications function revolves entirely around this. In communications, we have a propensity to deal in absolutes – marketing, internal and external communications and corporate communications.
It’s very important to have people with the right expertise in your teams; but what matters most is content. I’ll be discussing the theory and practice behind this with the aim of giving people some very practical lessons to take back to the office; delegates can gather the very best content and tell a great story about their organisation’s work.


In your opinion what are the three key takeaways that delegates will gain from your session?

 

  1. That sourcing regular, engaging content is central to telling a great story about your organisation, to all of your audiences, along with some practical examples of how to do this
  2. How to gather content and adapt it to use it across all of your communication channels – internal and external
  3. How to make sure your team is geared up to achieve this

What do you think is the biggest challenge for comms professionals and what can they do to meet this challenge (other than go to the conference, of course)?

 

One of the biggest challenges we face in housing is having the willingness to challenge the way that we communicate. There are a lot of long-held assumptions in our sector that we need to drop. The idea that because we are housing associations we are somehow different and get a pass from our customers because of it, is nonsense. We have to meet the level of expectation they would receive from any organisation. We have to be willing to ask ourselves very challenging questions and develop communications strategies that are based on evidence; and reflect what people in our communities want to receive and how they want to receive it. It really is that simple.


Why do you think its important for comms professionals to attend the Communications Conference?

 

The event is really important because it strikes the balance between theory and practice. You come away with your horizons broadened and really practical advice that you can implement in your own organisation. For me that’s what events like this should be all about.

 

Join Steve Hayes at Inside Housing Communication Conference for his breakout session: ‘Engaging tenants, staff and stakeholders – telling great stories in housing’ this coming 18 November.

View the agenda or book tickets here.

 

Speaker 2

Mario Ambrosi

Mario Ambrosi is director of communications and marketing at England’s largest provider of older people’s housing and care, Anchor Hanover. As an ex-journalist, Mario is excited by stories’ power to persuade. He’s focussed on “sweating his assets” – ensuring the great things happening in Anchor Hanover’s housing and care are seen and talked about by the people that really matter; current and potential customers and colleagues.


 

What will you be speaking about at Inside Housing’s Communications Conference?

 

We’ve navigated our way through one of the biggest mergers in our sector. What we learnt in the process is relevant for any organisation facing significant change – and in today’s world there’s very few that aren’t changing.

 

I’ll be talking about how to engage a diverse and dispersed workforce and customer group, develop and launch a new brand and launch a new business plan – and how to do it all at pace!


In your opinion what are the three key takeaways that delegates will gain from your session?

 

I’ll cover how, during times of significant change, to:

 

 

1. Ensure comms has the influence we need to really add value
2. Know when and how to engage with stakeholders
3. Create channel strategies that maximise your impact


What do you think is the biggest challenge for comms professionals and what can they do to meet this challenge (other than go to the conference, of course)?

 

I think the biggest challenge is the need to deliver measurable impact in a world where you’re awash with data and the goalposts are constantly moving. It’s really the eternal comms challenge; measurement and evaluation to demonstrate your impact on the bottom-line.


Why do you think its important for comms professionals to attend the Communications Conference?

 

To understand that you’re not alone! We’re an extremely diverse sector but the challenges we all face as communicators are remarkably similar – and we can learn a great deal from each other.

 

Join Mario Ambrosi at Inside Housing Communications Conference for his breakout session on mergers this coming 18 November.

View the agenda or book tickets here.

 

Speaker 3

Matt Locke

Matt Locke has worked in digital media for over 20 years, starting with experimenting with digital art in the 90s, then joining the BBC as Head of Innovation in 2001.
After seven years, he then joined Channel 4’s Education team to lead a new strategy commissioning digital content for 14-19 year olds, and then became Acting Head of Multiplatform at Channel 4. In 2011, Matt left to start Storythings, where he works across different sectors helping clients tell beautiful human stories about complex issues.


 

What will you be speaking about at Inside Housing’s Communications Conference?

 

In the last 15 years, audience behaviour has changed beyond recognition as digital platforms have grown and dominated the media and comms sectors. It sometimes seems that telling your story has never been harder, as there is so much competition for attention. I’m going to share some insights into how we think about this problem at Storythings, and how we use human stories to cut through the noise and create stories that people really want to share.


In your opinion what are the three key takeaways that delegates will gain from your session?

 

1. How to understand how audience attention patterns have changed in the last 15 years
2. How to now worry too much about individual platforms, but to focus on audience behaviours
3. How to use human stories to give audiences a way to understand complex issues


What do you think is the biggest challenge for comms professionals and what can they do to meet this challenge (other than go to the conference, of course)?

 

By far, it is the competition for attention and the dominance of the major digital platforms. It can feel that we’re all running to catch up all the time as the landscape of devices, platforms and services changes so rapidly. I’m going to give you a way of thinking about these changes that will help you step back from the noise of the tech industry, re-focus on what your audiences are actually doing, and think about storytelling as something that is about humans, not platforms.


Why do you think its important for comms professionals to attend the Communications Conference?

 

At Storythings, we really love diving into the craft of storytelling. We really believe it’s important to share stories about *how* we tell stories, especially from people outside your sector. The Communications Conference will be a great to chance to hear these stories and go home with really practical insights and tips that can make your comms more effective.

 

Join Matt Locke at Inside Housing Communications Conference for his session on 'Integrated Storytelling - creating and delivering content that connects'.

View the agenda or book tickets here.

 

Speaker 4

Jo Marsh

Jo Marsh is a strategic brand consultant, providing brands with clarity and momentum by asserting what they stand for. In the competitive world we live in, she feels organisations need a clear and compelling articulation of the difference they make in order to stand out, reach audiences, raise revenue and attract talent. She specialises in the culture, creative and charity sectors.


 

What will you be speaking about at Inside Housing’s Communications Conference?

 

I’m going to be talking about why brand matters and how to harness the power of brand inside your organisation. I will be exploring how you can strategically position your organisation and how you can involve the whole team in this process.


In your opinion what are the three key takeaways that delegates will gain from your session?

 

1. Why brand matters: a deeper understanding of what brand is and why it matters
2. Practical tools: some tools they can take back to their own organisations
3. Energy and ideas: shared insights from the wider group


What do you think is the biggest challenge for comms professionals and what can they do to meet this challenge (other than go to the conference, of course)?

 

One of the biggest challenges I regularly encounter is that the function of communications is not positioned or approached strategically at the senior management level. I believe brand and communications should be represented at this level as it’s integral to the strategic direction and success of any organisation. One way this can be overcome is to directly link the work of the comms department to the overall mission and strategy of the organisation.


Why do you think its important for comms professionals to attend the Communications Conference?

 

The conference setting is a vital opportunity for individuals and teams to step away from the day to day. It’s like letting in some fresh air – by hearing different perspectives, case studies, what worked and crucially what didn't! It’s also a chance to discuss some of the big picture, contextual shifts and challenges happening in the sector. And when people come together to listen, talk and learn - new ideas can emerge. It’s a chance to re-energise, change the conversation and grow a network of peers.

 

Join Jo Marsh at Inside Housing Communications Conference for her interactive workshop - 'Living a brand from the inside out - what branding really means'.

View the agenda or book tickets here.

 

Speaker 5

David Holdstock

David Holdstock is Director of Communications at Local Government Association, the national voice of local government, representing more than 350 councils in England and Wales. Working across all the main communications disciplines, David has led teams in councils and has significant experience of crisis communications, working for the Metropolitan Police Service. He was previously chairman of LGcommunications, the organisation representing council communicators.


 

What will you be speaking about at Inside Housing’s Communications Conference?

 

I will be covering the importance of measurement and evaluation and its importance to delivering effective, strategic communications.


In your opinion what are the three key takeaways that delegates will gain from your session?

  1. The importance of putting measurement and evaluation on your radar
  2. Using evaluation as an improvement tool
  3. And how evaluation can demonstrate added value to your organisation

What do you think is the biggest challenge for comms professionals and what can they do to meet this challenge (other than go to the conference, of course)?

 

The current biggest challenge is how to ensure we can demonstrate the value we add to the business. Effective measurement and evaluation can help.


Why do you think its important for comms professionals to attend the Communications Conference?

 

All events and conferences are not only a chance to learn from others and develop your own skills but are also great networking opportunities.

 

Join David Holdstock at Inside Housing Communications Conference for his session on 'The measurement mindset and why this is key to strategic communications success'.

View the agenda or book tickets here.

 

Angie Scott

Angie Scott

Angie Scott is Head of Strategy, Communications and External Relations for Plymouth Community Homes, where she’s worked for almost 5 years. Prior to this, Angie held various comms positions in large and private organisations including Plymouth City Council and Orange, in a career which spans around 18 years.

 

What will you be speaking about at Inside Housing’s Communication Conference?

 

In the aftermath of Grenfell, PCH was one of the first HAs to discover we had ACM cladding completely covering our three most prominent tower blocks in Plymouth. I’ll be sharing our experiences of managing the communications in this scenario under the spotlight of national media interest and growing resident concern.

 

In your opinion what are the three key takeaways that delegates will gain from your session?

 

I’m planning on sharing our actual experience of crisis communications management, not the text book or rose-tinted version of events, but what we really did and what I’d do differently with the benefit of hindsight. As I suspect the vast majority of attendees will have some crisis comms experience, my hope is that people can relate and take comfort from our story. If they learn something new, that will be a bonus.

 

What do you think is the biggest challenge for comms professionals and what can they do to meet this challenge (other than go to the conference of course)?

 

For me, it’s vital for a comms team to build relationships with senior managers so we’re involved in tactical and strategic conversations that influence business decisions. Without wanting to sound smug (but doing it anyway!) the projects that go pear-shaped usually don’t have a comms pro in sight! We’re so often the voices of our customers, the predictors of public opinion and the spotters of pitfalls...but only when we’re involved in the conversations.

 

Why do you think it’s important for comms professionals to attend the Communications Conference?

 

Comms is a hectic profession – it’s probably what most of us love about it but it also means we get very little time to think without interruption. Taking the time to go to the Comms Conference is an investment in you and your team, and a chance to drink tea with lovely, knowledgeable people and hopefully learn something new.

 

Join Angie Scott at Inside Housing Communications Conference for her session on 'Crisis communications: managing fire safety comms in a febrile environment'.

View the agenda or book tickets here.

 

SPONSORED BY

TESTIMONIALS

EVENT INFORMATION

  • Monday 18 November 2019
  • County Hall
  • London
  • SE1 7PB
© INSIDEHOUSING - OCEAN MEDIA GROUP LIMITED, 3RD FLOOR, 4 HARBOUR EXCHANGE SQUARE, ISLE OF DOGS, LONDON E14 9GE TEL: 020 7772 8300 | FAX: 020 77728599