Meet Laura Woolfenden, Associate Director at OMD UK

Last week we hosted an epic EU debate during our inaugural Print Week. Laura Woolfenden was pivotal to making this happen so we sat down with her to hear about what she does and how she pulled together such a stellar lineup for the event.

Thanks for speaking to us today! Please could you give us some insight into your role here and how you ended up doing what you do?

I’m Associate Director on the very wondrous account- Google. I look after Google’s reputation side of the business. What does that entail, I hear you ask. Where do I begin and end?

I plan and implement campaigns and guide social content creation that remind and inform people of the magic behind Google search and their products (from Google Maps, to Google Earth and Space to The Cultural Institute).

I feel privileged to work on Google and, yup, it’s clear to say I love the brand.

How did I get here? After interning at a couple of PR agencies, I took a side-step into media. My media career and journey began on the crescent at PHD. I worked for three years on the fast-paced and intrinsic British supermarket brand Sainsbury’s. Between then and now, I’ve worked on P&G and Shell and studied an MA in Political Journalism at City University.

You recently organised a live EU debate during OMD UK Print Week. What made you choose to do this and how did you help to recruit such an illustrious panel?

So I suppose you don’t help organise a debate on Brexit or study an MA in Political Journalism unless you are a big politico-head. I grew up with two parents who are massive political news junkies. Sunday lunch conversations were dominated by current affairs and political chat. I decided at a young age that if I didn’t get interested in the news and politics, I would spend a life-time bored at the dinner table with my family.

Aside from my own personal interest in politics, it was a no-brainer that OMD UK host a debate on Brexit because we OMD-ers are passionate about understanding what shapes and defines UK culture. And well let’s face it, Brexit is only one of the biggest cultural and political questions of our time with an outcome that could redefine Britain, our economy and our society.

Working with Sarah Jenkins, in our Investment team, and tapping up/door-stepping/pleading to a load of old journo contacts (I have no shame), we were fortunate enough to secure an impressive panel & chair. There were an array of journalists from the national dailies and as chair, Peter Kellner (former Newsnight correspondent and Ex-President of YouGov). No debate or discussion is good without a chair who is knowledgeable, charismatic and has rapport with the panellists. How else do you explain David Dimbleby’s longstanding position on Question Time?

What were the key take-outs from the session?

The big outtake for me came at the end of the debate, when the journalists got off the fence and lay their cards on the table. To leave the European Union comes with greater risks than to remain in. Risks associated with great economic uncertainty, less influence in Europe and potentially the world. And the most terrifying question, will our departure potentially be the catalyst for the European Union dissolving?

So… the big question…are you “in” or “out”?

On 23rd June 2016, I will be voting to remain in. The European Union is looking like a house of cards, remove one card and the house could collapse.

This is our time to have our say. Don’t hold your vote with contempt, GO AND VOTE!


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