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Across two stints at Emirates Group, Valerie Tan has risen to a leadership role that covers public relations, social media and internal communications for global airline Emirates and air services provider data.
Based in Dubai, Tan leads an in-house team of 30 professionals, overseeing a support network of over 80 communications agencies in the implementation of internal and external communications activity for Emirates and dnata worldwide. Tan has over a decade of experience in communications, and has also held leadership roles at Weber Shandwick in Singapore.
Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
The most vivid moments I remember are linked to crisis response. In one instance, a long-standing investment in media and influencer relationships bore fruit when disaster struck. These expert commentators gave the company benefit of the doubt, and some even became advocates because they've had first person access and insights to the company's inner workings.
What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?
Navigating the increasingly complex landscape of issues – and responding at the speed and level of transparency that stakeholders expect – will be challenging. The flip side of that is the great opportunity for communicators to expand their impact and influence on business decisions.
What have you most admired about this industry over the past year?
The amount of knowledge sharing, thanks to the explosion of virtual events. People are giving generously of their time to inspire and support peers and juniors through a period of massive change for many people at work and in their personal lives.
What has most disappointed you about this industry over the past year?
I'm saddened each time I see reports of companies getting called out for greenwashing.
How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness over the past year?The reverse of social distancing. I'm trying to spend more time with friends just doing things together like shooting VR zombies, checking out new restaurants or playing a round of Mahjong.
Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through the past year or provided inspiration?
Ben Goldacre's book ‘I Think You'll Find It's a Bit More Complicated Than That’. It's a handy reminder that numbers can lie, and to always eye data and 'facts' critically. Some examples of flawed medical reporting in the book made me a tad nostalgic for my healthcare PR days.
If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
An aspirant author.
Sum up 2022 in one word.
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