Donald and Harriet set up MckJ in January 2016, combining over 40 years of independent, agency and in-house communications experience.
Donald is an experienced corporate communicator with a record of designing, developing and delivering internal and external communications strategies and campaigns to influence brand, performance and stakeholder outcomes. After graduating from Bournemouth Uni’s BAPR (hons) course, Donald joined technology PR agency Text100 and worked with some of the sector’s biggest brands – including IBM, Xerox, EDS and Compaq. He helped Text100 set up shop in India, returning in 1999 as Deputy MD Text 100 UK. Moving in-house in 2002, Donald became head of EMEA external communications for Insurance sector firm Marsh, before joining National Grid plc in 2009 as Head of Brand Strategy and VI. Later, picking up the remit for corporate responsibility, Donald developed the framework and narrative that resulted in National Grid winning BITC’s Responsible Business of the Year 2014.
Writing, issues management, stakeholder engagement and applying relevant narratives are central to Harriet’s work. On graduating in History from Leicester, Harriet followed her love of books and entered the world of publishing. After a stint in Penguin’s press office she used her writing skills to broaden her PR remit, and moving to agency became a pioneer in the promotion of digital books and published multimedia content. With Microsoft as a client, she was part of the team that turned techy products like Internet Explorer and Windows into consumer must haves, and launched the Financial Times’ digital portfolio to consumer and trade media. Harriet’s consumer experience extended to well-known FMCG brands, including Baileys Irish Crème, Heinz Baked Beans, Kallo and Nairn’s Oatcakes.
Since becoming independent in 2003, she has worked extensively in the not-for-profit and education sectors, and supported the Department for Education’s exams watchdog, QCA during a period of media scrutiny on the government’s national examinations framework. Other issues-based campaigns included a project to raise awareness of Australia’s discovery, an integrated charity programme to promote the value of RE in schools, and most recently helping both a service provider and NGO, the Faith & Belief Forum, keep issues of inclusion and equality on the agenda. She also provides support as a PR Consultant to ticketing and event technology platform, Eventbrite, to help the UK marketing communications team with a particular focus on music, festivals and events.