Ahead of the B&T 30 under 30 Awards, we speak to Weber Shandwick finalist Saynaree Oudomvilay about her PR journey, her achievements and what makes our rising star a future leader.
Tell us about your PR career to date?
I’ve always been intrigued by PR. Partly, because of my obsession with The Hills (thanks, MTV). But mostly, because I didn’t really understand what it was. Was it marketing? Was it advertising? Was it publicity? I had to know more.
My career began at a boutique agency in Sydney where I worked in a small team on lifestyle brands, and worked closely with the MD. I then moved to London, freelancing at various agencies working on consumer and entertainment clients.
One expired visa later, I found my feet again in Sydney at Weber Shandwick. My role here has allowed me to explore new ways of thinking that at times have redefined PR as my colleagues, clients and I traditionally know it. I’ve been able to bring my lifestyle and entertainment experience to the worlds of FMCG, corporate and fin-tech to deliver some of the most exciting campaigns of my career.
What does leadership mean to you?
Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work with a number of fantastic leaders in many different capacities – transcending markets, industries and disciplines. I’ve worked in agencies as small as three to global organisations, and these experiences have provided me with a well-rounded understanding of true leadership.
To me, leadership isn’t about being the most senior person in the room or having the loudest voice. It’s about being passionate, uplifting the people around you, inspiring them to do what they do best and creating a positive environment. As my role has progressed, my own personal career growth has made me become increasingly aware of the impact I have on others. I believe being aware of my own strengths and weaknesses allows me to be the best leader I can be.
What are some of the key successes you’ve had in your career so far?
I believe success represents everything from the small daily victories, to the big change-making wins. It can encapsulate anything from meeting KPIs to getting that piece of coverage to achieving something you never thought you could.
One key win for me was being able to make a mark with influencer activity at Weber Shandwick. I was able to apply some key learnings from the sophisticated influencer market of London, to the local team and clients. This was initially a challenge in an environment where traditional media coverage – particularly from a client perspective – was king.
With a local focus, I’ve been able to develop close relationships with over 10 influencer agencies on behalf of the agency. This has culminated in numerous influencer engagements for clients across the agency and also allowed me to work closely with our digital strategist to formalise Weber Shandwick’s influencer services offering.
What do you see as a key challenge for our industry?
As skills evolve and the landscape changes, the lines between PR, social and advertising continue to blur. There is increased pressure for everyone to be good at everything. I think this creates missed opportunities to cross-pollinate with other talented and creative people who may offer a new perspective or way of thinking.
First-hand, I have seen the value of skills-based communities. We work to this approach at Weber Shandwick and it empowers individuals with a specific skill-set or passion to thrive. While I have worked in traditional PR for 6 years, my time in London allowed me to develop an interest in influencer marketing. The agency has embraced this and allowed me to specialise in this area of the PR ecosystem alongside client experience and media relations