Paulo Henrique Soares | Influence 100
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Paulo Henrique Soares 

Corporate Communication Director 
IBRAM — Instituto Brasileiro de Mineração 
Brazil

 

 

After spending 15 years with Brazilian mining giant Vale, communications leader Paulo Henrique Soares joined the Brazilian Mining Association last year as corporate communication director. The role is a critical one for the Brazilian mining trade association, which has found itself at the forefront of the complex stakeholder challenges that confront the country’s mining industry.

Soares is well prepared for this task. At Vale, he ushered in a considerable rethink of the company’s employee engagement practices, which he believes has helped build a new corporate culture at the company, using many of the learnings to co-author a book on employee engagement in the 21st century.

Specifically, Soares believes that conventional employee engagement models — whether centralised or decentralised — rarely help to unite a company across borders. As Soares points out, Vale’s communication strategy helped the company define its culture. “We needed to find a strategy that was global, and changed the way we operate. Empathy connects people.”

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?During a crisis management situation PR can play an important role in educating executives on how to proper respond. Executives sometimes fear this situation and are more open to listen and take advice. I have seen a great impact on business performance during crises.

What are the comms industry's biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?
Employee communication will be key for all companies in the near future. This area has increased a lot in the past years and the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated its importance and the need for a strong and solid employee communication strategy for all businesses. Our challenge for this moment is to learn how to communicate and engage with employees. There is a new relationship between organizations and employees being stablished during (and after) the pandemic.

What have you most admired about this industry in 2020?
The adaptability of the communication industry has been very interesting to observe. We learn to redo our processes and seek solutions online quickly, with social distance, and also adapt communications to the new needs of organizations, consumers and society.

What has most disappointed you about this industry in 2020?
The industry could play a more important role in the pandemic. The industry could have helped more to manage this dark period of our history.

How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness in lockdown?
Disconnecting from the connected world is always a challenge. I try to focus on "where I am" to avoid impacts on personal and family life. I spend the weekends with the family in a house in the countryside, which has contributed considerably to a focus on personal issues.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through this year or provided inspiration?
Reading has always been my choice. Reading helps me to distance myself from the routine. For this matter, it can be any kind of book.

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
I would have two alternatives: work with tourism or be a professor, a communications professor!

Sum up 2020 in one word.
Disruption.