Brunswick Group is delighted to announce that, following an extensive and thorough process, six Directors have been invited to join the Partnership this year.
Louise Charlton, Co-Founder of Brunswick Group and Chair of the Partner Promotion Committee, said: “It is a pleasure to welcome these six colleagues into the Partnership this year. This group of individuals represent an extensive range of geographies and expertise that reflect the depth of talent we have across the firm. Our clients are facing more complex issues than ever before and it is exciting to have individuals of this calibre around the world supporting them.”
Wajih Halawa, Dubai
Wajih advises clients across the Middle East region in corporate reputation, thought leadership, crisis communications, financial situations, and geopolitical issues. His sector expertise spans real estate, aviation, technology, telecommunications, energy and financial services. He also coaches senior leaders in English and Arabic on media skills, presentation delivery, and public speaking.
Before joining Brunswick in 2010, Wajih worked for Fleishman-Hillard and the Sahara Group in the UAE. He also spent several years as a journalist and commentator in the Middle East and the US, including as Features Editor at Jordan Business magazine and Editor-at-Large at Living Well magazine, where he was nominated for the British Inquirer Award in 2006 for his investigative reporting on healthcare in Jordan. Prior to that, Wajih had a decade-long career in Information Technology, including roles at the Principal Financial Group® and global logistics leader Aramex.
Wajih holds a B.Sc. cum laude in Business Administration from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Iris Sibanda, Johannesburg
Iris advises clients on a range of communication matters including transactions, corporate reputation, investor engagement and crisis work across sectors. She has a particular focus on pan-African mandates.
Prior to joining Brunswick in 2009, Iris was a credit rating analyst at a niche rating agency that focused on the pan-African markets. During this time she gained experience in working in the East and West African markets where she predominantly did insurance ratings work and some corporate ratings.
She has worked on most facets of Brunswick’s offerings and has been involved in landmark projects ranging from Ab InBev’s acquisition of SABMiller as well as Absa’s acquisition of Barclays Africa assets in eight countries. In Nigeria, she assisted clients to navigate crises and worked on integration mandates during the consolidation of the Nigerian banking sector. She also advised clients on anti-trust issues in the construction sector in South Africa amongst other mandates.
Phil Drew, London
Phil is part of Brunswick’s global Business & Society team, working on corporate leadership strategy, narrative development and issues-led campaigns for a range of multi-national clients, including BP, Exelon, Novo Nordisk, Rolls Royce, Sainsbury’s, Standard Chartered, and We Mean Business.
Phil joined Brunswick from the Omnicom-owned corporate communications consultancy, Fishburn Hedges, where he was a Board Director and Head of Sustainable Business Leadership. In his time there, Phil acted for global clients including Nestle, Shell, SABMiller, Britvic, BT and Novartis, creating C-suite leadership platforms on business-critical societal agendas, developing corporate narratives, and designing flagship reputation programmes. He advised on numerous strategic communications campaigns, helping companies to win positive recognition for their contribution to society from media, government and civil society, often in the wake of activist attacks.
Prior to this, Phil directed communications for Climate Week, a multi stakeholder campaign backed by Al Gore, Kofi Annan, big business, leading thinkers, A-List celebrities, and major NGOs. In addition to coordinating the British Government's role in the campaign, he brokered a multi-platform content collaboration with the BBC and News Corp. He began his career as a consultant for a specialist London consultancy, working on issues-led public engagement campaigns for Virgin and Orange (now EE), as well as major NGOs including WWF, Friends of the Earth, and Cancer Research UK.
Simon Maine, London
Simon advises clients on media, public affairs and campaign strategy. He combines consultant and in-house experience running public policy campaigns and advising both established and fast-growth companies.
Simon’s primary focus is on power, renewables and smart energy. Drawing on his deep experience in the sector he has advised the likes of Lightsource, ContourGlobal, Infinis and GF Biochemicals in raising their profile in new markets, as well as more established energy companies such as Centrica, BP, National Grid and Drax.
Beyond energy, Simon has advised several large consumer brands on a variety of strategic communications issues and advised on major transactions and IPOs. He recently completed an 8-month secondment to BT where he ran the company’s campaign response to Ofcom’s Digital Communications Review.
Prior to Brunswick, Simon worked for Riverstone, one of the world’s largest energy-focused private equity firms, where he worked on deals across the full spectrum of energy sectors including renewables, midstream and shale gas. He began his career as speechwriter and research assistant to Lord Browne, former BP CEO and government adviser.
Simon is a trustee of the Taylor Bennett Foundation – an award-winning training and mentoring programme to encourage black, Asian and ethnic minority graduates to enter the PR industry.
Blake Sonnenshein, New York
Blake advises clients on a broad range of critical communications issues that arise during periods of significant change, risk and transformation. Blake helps lead Brunswick’s US Consumer Industries practice and also has a specialty focus in private equity.
At Brunswick, Blake has developed and executed communications strategies for M&A transactions and integrations; leadership changes and executive profile raising; corporate reputation campaigns and employee engagement. Clients have included PepsiCo, Mars, Kind Snacks, Restaurant Brands International, lululemon, Kate Spade & Company, Farfetch, Johnson & Johnson and TowerBrook Capital Partners.
Before joining Brunswick, Blake worked at the Glover Park Group’s New York office, where she led public affairs campaigns across the financial services sector. She started her career at Kekst & Company where she provided financial communications counsel to clients in the luxury goods space. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History and Communications from University of Pennsylvania (Magna Cum Laude) and a Master of Public Administration in Public Policy Analysis from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.
Siobhan Gorman, Washington
Siobhan Gorman is a Director in the Washington DC office, where she concentrates on the Cybersecurity & Privacy practice. She specializes in breach preparedness, breach crisis response, and thought leadership initiatives in the cybersecurity arena. Siobhan has also led a range of crisis, public affairs, and corporate reputation projects in the financial, defense, and technology sectors.
Siobhan is a member of the Senior Advisory Group for the Defending Digital Democracy Project at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She is also member of the Advisory Committee for Brown University's Executive Master in Cybersecurity.
Prior to joining Brunswick, she had a 17-year career as a reporter, most recently at The Wall Street Journal. At The Journal, she covered a range of national security topics, including cybersecurity, privacy, counterterrorism, and intelligence. Prior to joining The Journal in 2007, Siobhan was a Washington correspondent for The Baltimore Sun and a staff correspondent for National Journal covering similar issues.
Siobhan won the 2006 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Washington Correspondence for her coverage of the National Security Agency. She has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize and is a graduate of Dartmouth College.
About Brunswick Group
Brunswick Group LLP is an advisory firm specializing in critical issues and corporate relations. Founded in 1987, Brunswick is an organically grown, private partnership with over 1,000 people across 24 offices around the world.
Gill Ackers, Partner