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 chat with Jillian Janaczek, who has been named CEO of Porter Novelli after roughly 25 years with BCW.

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

Navigating misinformation, managing online reputation amid evolving algorithms, and addressing societal concerns about privacy and ethics in data-driven PR campaigns will be key challenges. However, these challenges also offer opportunities for us to innovate in transparency, authentic communication, and responsible use of technology for more effective stakeholder engagement.

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

One notable recent campaign for me is Spotify’s “2022 Wrapped.” The campaign personalized the user experience by showcasing the listener’s unique music listening habits, creating a sense of nostalgia, and connection. This data-driven approach not only engaged users but also highlighted Spotify’s role in people’s lives, fostering brand loyalty.

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

Porter Novelli’s work with Insulet and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) to normalize diabetes technology is a favorite. We leveraged the Nintendo game Animal Crossing: New Horizons and created a diabetes-themed island including outfits that feature insulin pumps within the game. We proudly increased the diabetes conversation in pop-culture. 

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

I’ve embraced a proactive approach to personal growth and learned that no one is in charge of my happiness, except me. I also learned not to compare my life to others (and not to judge them), as I have no idea what their journey is all about.

How do you switch off and maintain wellness?

I always wear my WHOOP wristband that reminds me to GET MOVING and motivates me to get more sleep which helps improve my focus and energy. My Bernedoodle Lucy (who doesn’t leave my side) also forces me in a good way to maintain balance when I am at home.

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

Along with hundreds of thousands of others, the Barbie movie has sparked my creativity with its diverse storytelling and imaginative worlds. Created by women, for women, about women, it motivates me to challenge conventional ideas in my own work and life. And I love the resurgence of the Indigo Girls!

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

If I wasn’t working in PR, I would likely be a psychologist. I am fascinated by the human mind and behavior and am drawn to helping individuals navigate their challenges. Or an FBI profiler who analyzes the world’s most twisted criminal minds. The interplay between psychology and criminology intrigues me.