Spotlight On... Bruce Wilson, Ashbury Communications

Spotlight On... Bruce Wilson, Ashbury Communications

Welcome to the Telum Spotlight, an ongoing series showcasing people working in the PR and Communications space, freelancers and those launching their own boutique agencies. Today we shine the Spotlight on Bruce Wilson, Director, Head of Singapore at Ashbury Communications.

By way of Introduction:
I started my career as a management consultant in the US.  In 2001, I started hopping around the world in various roles.  Before moving to Singapore in 2021, I was in Hong Kong for almost nine years mostly with Brunswick Group and ultimately with Ashbury Communications. I have just opened Ashbury’s Singapore office.

First job:
Lifeguard at the city pool.  If memory serves, I earned $3.15 an hour which didn’t last long, but the memories and friendships have lasted decades.

One thing you would change about communications industry:
I would outlaw procurement professionals from involvement in selection of communications advisors.

Most admired person in comms: 
Peter Necarsulmer, Founder of PBN Company and Tim Payne, Senior Partner, Head of Asia for Brunswick Group had profound impact on me primarily because of how they championed their clients with unwavering integrity in addition to consummate skill.

Most admired journalist:
Malcolm Gladwell.  Having almost given up finding voices that are ruthlessly neutral and balanced, I like how he consistently alters my perception of the topics he explores.

Advice to anyone starting out in comms:
Find a place where you will be asked, from day one, to contribute your view, make decisions you’ve not faced before, have others depend on you and learn from failure. You will learn more, faster and better by asserting your ideas and collaborating with your colleagues than by focusing on doing what you’re told to do. 

Essential daily reading:
Something, anything from a source or perspective I’ve not read before.

Favourite book: 
A Soldier of the Great War.  Beautifully written, epic, vivid portrayal of absurd situations made believable, I recommend it all the time.

Favourite film:  
Dune! Again, a classic from before my time, finally portrayed properly, stunningly.

Social media app you can’t live without:
None. They have their uses, but thankfully none has become and maintained a vital status in my life, and I hope it stays that way.

Your proudest achievement: 
Personally, I have two wonderful children that I know will make our world better.  Professionally, I’m fond of bragging that a fantastic woman Inna An (nee Lebedeva) whom I hired as an intern, later succeeded me as MD of Hill+Knowlton Strategies in Kazakhstan and has led that business ever since.

Quotable you (what’s your most often used saying or quote?):
I hate to be so dark, but these last couple of years have been very trying for many folks.  I’ve found myself revisiting two: ‘Everyone you meet has troubles you know nothing about, so be kind always’ and at the worst of times ‘When going through hell, keep going’. It seems we’re finally approaching a dawn!

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