Telum Spotlight On... Tim Williamson, Founder and Managing Director, Leon 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 Tim Williamson, Founder and Managing Director of Leon Communications in Singapore.
By way of Introduction:
I was a journalist for ten years with BBC and Bloomberg before making the leap into PR. Since then, I've had the privilege of working with some of the most recognised financial services organisations and some of the most exciting fintechs in the UK, Australia and Asia. I've also scaled and managed PR businesses in Asia Pacific at various PR agencies. This year, I launched my new consultancy, Leon Communications that specialises in working with financial services companies and fintechs.
I delivered newspapers every morning before school from the age of 14. I guess that’s when I got the news bug!
One thing you would change about communications industry:
There’s still too much commoditised, “by-the-numbers”, comms - churning out press releases and content without enough understanding of the strategy and the bigger picture. Good communicators, whether they are in-house or agency, know their clients and businesses inside out, understand the strategy and objectives and know what media and other stakeholders are interested in. As a result, they can be much more effective and proactive in building and protecting their organisation’s reputation, which is after all one of its most valuable assets. That’s what Leon has been set up to do.
Most admired person in comms:
I wouldn’t want to single any individual out, not least because I interviewed so many brilliant communicators when I was at Telum! I’d flip the question and say I really admire leaders and founders - Steve Jobs would be the obvious example (but there are many more) - who understand how powerful communications can be in setting direction and building brand, reputation and goodwill with stakeholders and society. If you find one of them, you’ll usually find a great communicator in the wings, never getting between them and the limelight.
Most admired journalist:
After a decade as a journalist, it’s still in my DNA. I love the craft of journalism, I love reading the news, and I get a thrill going into newsrooms and studios. Again I won’t pick out one person, but I was lucky enough to work on the news programme I admired the most growing up, the BBC Radio’s Today programme, when I was in the BBC Business Unit. It was a career highlight to work with the brilliant team there.
Advice to anyone starting out in comms:
Be curious. Ask questions. Listen. Learn. Read the news. Have fun. Speak up!
Essential daily reading:
I start every morning with the Business Times, Straits Times, South China Morning Post and Bloomberg, and I get every newsletter I can get my hands on relating to my clients and their businesses.
My guilty secret is that I’m a tragic Lord of the Rings fan. Although I hadn’t read it for years, I’m now reading it to my kids and rediscovering why I loved it so much. I recently read “Dead in the Water: A True Story of Hijacking, Murder, and a Global Maritime Conspiracy” by Bloomberg Businessweek Asia Editor, Matthew Campbell and Kit Chellel. It’s a fantastic piece of journalism. I couldn’t put it down.
Not the Lord of the Rings movies (sorry, I’m a purist). I enjoyed Dune recently and King Richard was brilliant (as a dad to two girls myself).
Social media app you can’t live without:
Your proudest achievement:
Taking the plunge and setting up Leon Communications! I’m having so much fun already.