Spotlight on Oliver & York

Spotlight on Oliver & York

As the naming rights sponsor of Move in May, we wanted to shine a spotlight on some of the small businesses working hard to deliver this event. This week we meet Oliver & York Public Affairs. We spoke to Suzanne Tonks, Director at Oliver & York Public Affairs about starting her own business.

Why did you start your own business?

"Delivering strong and successful marketing, public relations and digital content campaigns for big brands and SME's has long been a core focus of mine, working across both Agency and big brand in house roles. In recent years, while working in house and delivering fast paced campaigns with both consumer and philanthropic agendas, it was clear that there was a widening gap in the market for the introduction of an Agency that understands the inner workings of business and the role individual campaigns play in the overall objective of a company - big or small. It was at that point that I partnered with an exceptionally talented and driven Chartered Accountant and business strategist to launch Oliver & York Public Affairs, an agency which today delivers highly impactful campaigns, projects and initiatives to the market everyday that work. Thanks to great team members, clients, partnerships and suppliers, the concept is working."

What is your greatest success so far?

"Although we have worked with some of Australia's biggest brands and household names, which for many acts as a strong indicator of success in our industry, I gauge our success on our ability to ensure that we not only deliver on the core function of our business, but work towards a positive contribution to the industry. The Oliver & York Career Collective Series has been a great success to this end, working with industry leaders, professionals, business owners and students through the activation of an ongoing series of events that work to educate, motivate and empower individuals in the industry across both the consumer and philanthropic landscape."

What do you find most challenging about running your own business?

"Initially, it was about finding suppliers and partners that we believe would act in the best interest of our business so that we could provide the level of service and support we require for our clients and team members. This was a challenging but rewarding process, resulting in a strong foundation for the business. Our ongoing mission and challenge is to ensure we deliver on our commitment to our team, which is to ensure we provide the best possible environment, resources and support to foster creativity, business savvy and a positive approach our campaigns, programs and initiatives. To do this, we think outside the box. If a team member is unwell and can't work for a few consecutive days, we invest in wellness options for them so that they can enjoy some mindful yoga or meditation to help them feel optimum wellness again. We look for this same level of care and understanding from our partners. And yes, we do use CGU for our insurance needs."

What advice would you give to others starting out?

"Ensuring you surround yourself with great people with their own set of unique qualities, then providing them with the right technology, support and attitude so that they can be the best they can be. Look for persistence, tenacity, creativity and an open mind to possibility. When it comes to partners and clients, be selective and ensure you are working with brands that you business aligns with. Look for authenticity, innovation and great people. Be hands on. Sample their product, offering or service and make sure it is good. If it doesn't weigh up, rethink your involvement. Sometimes this decision is the hardest part of running a business."

Why are you involved in Move in May?

"The cause is important and the time to address this issue in society is now. When we met the people behind Stand Up Events and CGU's Move In May, and the associated partners, we knew that there was important message to be communicated and we wanted to help bring the story to life. We wanted to apply our marketing, public relations and digital content expertise to draw attention to the cause and amplify the positive message. Together with Stand Up Events, key supporters and CGU's Move In May's celebrity and sport Ambassadors, we wanted to tell the story of equality today and help take positive steps towards building a stronger, healthier society. We also believe that building a good business is about more than just lining your pockets. It is about fostering an environment where your team members can thrive and add to their ongoing story, by saying "I did that and I am proud of it." That is why Oliver & York is involved in CGU's Move In May.