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Tori Cowley’s background as a chartered accountant not only makes her more numerate than most communications folk, but it also serves as the ideal grounding for her role as chief communications officer of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which she took on in 2018 after seven years in a similar role with London’s Stock Exchange.
Cowley’s position with HKEX has seen her transform the communications function to notable effect, giving the low-profile entity a more visible positioning as a key driver of Hong Kong’s reputation. And while the latter has seen its share of challenges in recent times, the city’s Stock Exchange remains one of its crown jewels, giving Cowley a unique platform for global storytelling.
Cowley previously served as EMEA head of communications at Thomson Reuters, after deciding to make a career shift. It’s probably safe to say that the accountancy world’s loss is the communications sector’s gain.
Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
Every day I see the value of getting the message right, in creating an emotional connection with our audience, from visual brand assets to well explained education material, to swiftly managing issues with the media, to executive messaging. Every day!
What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?
Tech and digital continue to shape the communications industry – all communicators need to adapt to a changing landscape and become digitally literate.
What have you most admired about the communications industry over the past year, and what has disappointed you?
I have admired its constant ability to flex, its resilience and its graft. From corporate news stories, to product launches, from geopolitics to wars and disasters, communicators are now valued for their adaptability, courage and their hard work – shaping the way we see the world around us. They now increasingly have a seat at the top table. I am disappointed to see communicators still relegated in some organizations to just writing copy or being expected to be magicians, with no insight or knowledge.
What work from your team are you most proud of over the past year?
Supporting the business agenda, in a very complex and dynamic macro environment, working as a team to deliver quality across all areas of our work brand, media relations, strategic communications, events, employee engagement etc.
How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness over the past year?
I have taken up pottery!
Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through the past year or provided inspiration?
If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
Gardening, painting, working in politics, running a factory… So many things!
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