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Organizations invest in training mainly to develop the skills of their staff and ensure better productivity and profitability.

But as far as communications training is concerned, the advantages go beyond development and productivity. This kind of training equips the organization with the necessary tools to build and manage its reputation.

By simply reading a newspaper every morning or watching television or surfing the internet, people develop perceptions on certain organizations. Whether it is a business announcement, an interview or a response to some issue, this piece of publicity tells a story about the organization, in fact.

What your employees tell their families, friends, colleagues and the wider communities about the organization also contributes to its overall perception.

Your ‘story tellers’ are the communicators, spokespeople and staff. Understanding why to communicate, what to communicate, and how to communicate improves the quality of content communicated to the different audience group.

Equipping the ‘story tellers’ with the knowledge and experience is important and if ‘practice makes perfect’, then training for sure is the starting point!

– Tania Atallah, Account Director, H+K Strategies Dubai

H+K Strategies offer a range of training courses for executives and management involved in communications – from media relations to crisis management; executive spokesperson training to delivering presentations with impact.

Visit H+K Strategies Dubai on LinkedIn for more information on specific courses.

Last week H+K Middle East lost a leader, a great man who – in seven short years – took Hill + Knowlton’s regional business to new heights. He inspired many of us to strive beyond our expectations of ourselves, challenged our clients to new ideas and created opportunities for the organisation through his dedication and commitment to the world of communications and the region as a whole.

H+K worldwide is collecting memories and tributes to ‘the big man’, compiling the thoughts of colleagues, friends, H+K alumni, clients, partners and media into a book to share with his family and friends. If you would like to contribute, please see LinkedIn for details, and send your tribute by Tuesday 2nd October.

In the meantime, we leave you with the thoughts so eloquently expressed by our friends at The National this weekend.

http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/industry-insights/media/tragic-loss-leaves-a-very-big-hole-at-hill-knowlton

The past two years has been a turning point for our generation as market prospects changed and economies deteriorated. The vicious cycle of the global economy diminished employment prospects to an all-time low in many countries which has also become increasing prevalent across the region.

Over the last year we have witnessed the rise of the “Arab Spring” and seen the youth call for improved economic conditions and better employment opportunities. This revolutionary period has also seen individuals calling for a better future for generations to come by placing governments under pressure to find solutions and fast. They want answers to their questions; will I find a job after graduation? How can my public and private sector help my employment prospects? What other avenues are available to me?

The answer is to build up entrepreneurial capacity amongst today’s youth.

By working together, governments and the private sector in the MENA region have the ability to build the skills of the future generation so that entrepreneurship becomes a viable career option as starting a new business provides an economic advantage to a community.

Over the next 10 years, the average annual growth rate in the labour force in the MENA region is an estimated two per cent per year; youth need to take matters into their own hands by taking the initiative in creating jobs for themselves and others.

Hill + Knowlton Strategies has a long standing partnership with INJAZ Al-Arab to help foster entrepreneurship across the region. INJAZ Al-Arab focuses on working with the private sector and government to educate students and provide them with the necessary skills and qualifications needed to succeed as entrepreneurs.

Recently named one of the top NGO’s in the world by Global Journal, INJAZ Al-Arab operates in 15 countries across the MENA region and is a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide. INJAZ Al-Arab programs provide middle school students with entrepreneurial mentorships; a great example of how the private sector can support and benefit the next generation of business leaders. INJAZ Al-Arab gives the Arab youth an opportunity to tackle entrepreneurship head on with no fear. Once they believe in their potential and live their dreams, they will become a key factor in benefiting the local economy and a driver of the community.

To-date, INJAZ-Al Arab has reached out to over 1 million youth and the organisation hopes to reach many more.

– Noor Ghazzi – Junior Account Executive at Hill+Knowlton Strategies Dubai

“Welcome to H+K Strategies.”

These were the first words I heard as soon as I walked through the embossed glass doors. The receptionist was smiling at me, and all I could do was nervously smile back. Inside, I was terrified. This was my first real interview, and my chances of an internship with my first-choice PR agency depended on it. I sat down gingerly on the plush sofa and ran through likely scenarios in my head for what seemed like the millionth time.

In hindsight, I needn’t have worried so much. Five minutes into the interview, when I was discussing The Big Bang Theory with the internship coordinator, I was confident that they would offer me the internship. Even better, I knew that I would fit right into the corporate culture.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies was my first choice for a number of reasons. My professors recommended it to me, past graduates gushed about it, and most importantly, students who interned there assured me that H+K takes the trouble to teach interns the ropes of the industry. I’m happy to report that they were all absolutely right – I’ve learned more at H+K in two months than I did in three-and-a-half years of university.

The work has been fantastic, and I was lucky to have been given real work from day one. This was no “get me a coffee” type internship. Throughout the past two months, I have done benchmarking analysis for a regional non-profit, updated media lists, written innumerable bios for a major news channel launch, researched food and beverage trends for a hospitality client, played around on LinkedIn for a major tech company, and written website content for a pharmaceutical. All this and I haven’t even mentioned my daily assignments or the urgent requests that fall onto my lap that are usually due in a few hours (believe me, I’m not complaining).

As I tried to wrap my head around my rapidly changing schedule, people at the office were always willing to help out with a bit of advice. I was assigned a buddy (who coincidentally happened to be a friend of a friend), and my internship coordinator went out of her way to make sure I wasn’t overburdened. Everyone treated me like a part of the family, and not once did I ever feel like I was the lowly intern. In fact, at H+K, there is no such thing as a lowly intern.

As my internship draws to a close, I cannot help but look back at these two months with genuine fondness. I know many people who have been discouraged from PR after their internship, and I was keen to not become one such casualty. I am fortunate that H+K has instilled a deeper love for PR in me, and given me confidence in my ability to produce good work. For these and other things, my time at H+K has been an internship to remember.

– Madhavi Ravi, Intern at Hill+Knowlton Strategies

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