Mike Coates | The Innovator 25 2016
Mike CoatesThe Innovator 25:

Michael Coates   

CEO Americas

Hill + Knowlton Strategies 

"We now have permission to do just about anything."


At a time when the PR/marketing industry seems to be paying more attention to gender disparity, Mike Coates is putting real policy muscle behind his words. Last year, H+K Strategies announced what is likely the most progressive parental leave policy in the PR industry — one that rivals paid leave allotments at Google, Facebook and Netflix. "At Hill+Knowlton Strategies in the US, we're hoping to set a precedent for other companies to follow with an industry-leading parental leave program,” Coates said when he announced the new policy.  

Where are you from/hometown?
Nova Scotia, Canada

Where are you based now?
New York, NY

In what area of marketing/PR do you see the most innovation?
Creative storytelling & Content

How would you describe the communications/PR industry's level of innovation?
More innovative then other marketing disciplines. PR is the beneficiary of the blurring of marketing lines. We now have permission to do just about anything.

What is most important for the PR industry to do to foster more innovation?
New hiring practices/criteria

How do you define innovation?
Innovation is a breakthrough that gives a competitive advantage.

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you've seen in the last 12 months?
Always #LikeAGirl

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
H+K's Group SJR

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
Introducing H+K's "people" policies. I did not anticipate how well they would be received and how much they would impact employee retention and recruitment. They have given us a competitive advantage.

Something — not PR/marketing related — that is innovative.
Self driving cars

Please give our readers an idea of something that can inspire innovation — this can be a book/movie/podcast/activity/article.
Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In

Least favorite time of day?

Most innovative place in the world? This could be a city, a venue, a neighborhood, etc.
Silicon Valley

Dock worker 
Teaching assistant 
Political Aide