In our Headliners series of conversations, we get under the skin of PR and communications leaders around the world who have made PRovoke Media headlines recently, uncovering what they see as the greatest challenges and opportunities for the industry, where they find inspiration (and how they switch off), what they’ve learned about themselves, as well as the creative campaigns they love and the work they are most proud of.

In this week's Q&A, we speak to Angela Scaffidi, managing partner of SenateSHJ, who recently took over as global chair of PROI

What are the greatest challenges and opportunities for the PR and communications industry over the next 12 months?

Our industry has an important job to do when it comes to social cohesion. Wars, geopolitical tensions and wealth disparity are creating breeding grounds for division. We need to be on the front foot, countering misinformation and promoting the value of a cohesive society.  

What’s the best PR campaign you’ve seen recently and why?

fischerAppelt presented a fantastic campaign at our recent PROI summit in Rio. It was for their fintech client growney. They created a fake real estate company called The Rise and encouraged people to profit from rising sea levels. They created quite a storm until the revealed their surprise – the campaign was a fake but climate change was not. 

What work from your team are you most proud of over the past year?

Our work for The Missed Foundation continues to make me proud. It’s the only Australian charity that supports the families of missing persons. It’s an important cause and innovative communication is critical. My team loves supporting Missed. SenateSHJ also released two interesting research reports – the Crisis Value Erosion Index and the Togetherness Index. 

What have you learned about yourself over the past couple of years?

I’ve always known it but I think I’ve been more aware since Covid how much I crave community. I am an extrovert and I get so much energy from being around great people. Being part of my SenateSHJ team and the PROI partnership have brought me lots of joy. I’ve also discovered that I love Japan. I’ve been twice in a year. My passion for stationery knows no limits. And discovering Japanese stationery has been sheer happiness. 

How do you switch off and maintain wellness?

My father has dementia and lives in an aged care home. I spend most Saturdays sitting with him, the other residents and the beautiful people who care for them. It’s a really calming experience and there’s always lots of love and laughter and only the occasional outburst. It keeps me in the moment and away from my mobile phone. Otherwise I love walking, cheering on the Australian soccer teams, and watching Nordic and UK noir.

What cultural source (eg book/podcast/movie/TV show/music artist) has provided creative inspiration for you lately?

I do a lot of work in leadership and change and I’m re-reading a brilliant book called Immunity to Change. It’s inspiring me to challenge my assumptions about what it really takes for individuals and organisations to change, especially when they’re under pressure. This American Life and the Moth Radio Hour remain old favourites. Who doesn’t love a good story?  

If I wasn’t working in PR/comms I would be…

A match maker. I love helping people find great new jobs but I most love introducing people to prospective partners.