PR firm Cole Lawson bolsters leadership team with two hires

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Platinum award-winning communications and branding agency Cole Lawson has appointed Kyra Shakspeare from Haystac and Kirstin Payne from News Corp to senior leadership positions.

Ms Shakspeare, formerly senior account director with Haystac Brisbane, joins as group general manager, responsible for the firm’s operations, client service, account team and new business.

Ms Payne, who was most recently deputy chief-of-staff at The Gold Coast Bulletin, joins as head of media, communications and content, heading up a team of staff responsible for earned communications including media relations.

Cole Lawson is a full-service, integrated consultancy comprising Cole Lawson Communications and creative agency Ruby6. The group was the most-awarded company of 2020 in the Public Relations Institute of Australia’s (PRIA) Golden Target Awards, winning gold for both IMC and financial communications, bronze for experiential marketing, and the national platinum award for measurement and evaluation.

Cole Lawson managing director Margaret Lawson said the senior appointments built on the firm’s acquisition last year of the Ruby6 business and reinforced the company’s optimistic view of 2021 as a year of growth and opportunity.

“One aim of the Ruby6 acquisition was to use our increased scale to grow and attract exceptional leaders to the team,” she said.

“Our year is off to a very fast start, and Kyra and Kirstin are outstanding professionals whose unrivalled passion and significant experience within their industries will be pivotal in realising our expansion goals.”

New group general manager Kyra Shakspeare said the collaborative nature of the firm brings out the best of the diverse and passionate team. “We have a strong team, diverse specialities and the power of combining public relations, digital media and marketing services, corporate and brand communications under the one, independent agency umbrella,” Ms Shakspeare said.

“We are off to a great start to the year investing in the best talent, standards and processes, yet coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit and the freedom to do things differently.”

For Ms Payne, the transition to agency life builds on her background working in newsrooms, politics and corporate communications. As well as more than a decade in journalism, Ms Payne has been a researcher to state parliamentarians, holds an IAP2 qualification, and has experience in podcasting, corporate communications, investigative reporting, production, data analysis and campaign development.

As a former editor of Big Rigs, Ms Payne is also well positioned to work closely with big business and industry to craft nuanced technical pieces.