Welcome to 'who's who in internal comms'.

I caught up with Rachel Thornton, just as she was heading off on an incredible adventure...

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Rachel Thornton



Job Title

Director & Founder

Time with company

13 years

Take five

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A journalist... did that!

What's the best advice you've ever been given?

Be your best self. No-one else.

If you have any super power what would you choose?

Flight! Definitely.

What’s the secret to a good life?

Love. Health. Balance. Purpose. Joy.

Who would play you in a movie?

Julia Roberts (hehehe).

Tell us a bit about your role:

I co-founded scarlettabbott (as an IC consultancy) with Jonathan Abbott in 2005. It’s grown organically from two colleagues to around 40 currently. As well as a general management role, leading the strategic direction of the agency overall, I lead the Consultancy team, including team leadership and development, overseeing the quality and originality of responses, and winning new business. Of course, I have my own client base too and do a lot of work in facilitation, coaching and strategic consultancy at an Executive level.

What’s on your internal comms agenda right now?

Wow. So much to go at! It’s a fascinating time to do what we do! Of course, there are the perennial challenges of strategic alignment, outside in, colleague advocacy, content strategy and technology and platform development.... but I’m enjoying exploring the psychology of behavioral change, nudge principles and behavioral science. I’m also working in the leadership and culture change space: there is a huge opportunity to bolster and complement HR in these areas.

What has had the biggest impact on internal comms in your organisation in the past year?

In our own agency, clearly, we’re at the forefront of new tech and trends - but we’re all enjoying and benefitting internally from our adoption of Office365: it’s been transformative for collaboration and time saving tools. Our own experience is helping us advise our clients on the best way to utilize it for communication and to aid adoption.

What’s your proudest achievement or best day in your current role?

I couldn’t name just one. Hitting various business milestones, be they people hires, office moves, client wins, global reach or growth targets have all been proud and hard won moments. But every week one of my team achieves something so fantastic for our clients or each other that I’m reminded - and give a little internal fist pump - why I run my own agency.

How would you advise someone considering a career in internal comms?

Be commercial, be tenacious, be resilient and think like a business person first... Our ideas and outputs are creative but our motives, drivers, insights, arguments and outcomes must be business ones. That mindset is very powerful with senior stakeholders: speak their language. What else? Have fun. Feel privileged every day. It’s the best job in the world!

What do you think the top three trends in internal communication will be in the next year?

1. Organizational psychology of change
2. Purpose driven business
3. Tech that drives outcomes

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