Get To Know Your WIM Judges: Milk & Honey PR’s Maggie Gaston: “Leading With Values Can Address Industry Challenges”

Get To Know Your WIM Judges: Milk & Honey PR’s Maggie Gaston: “Leading With Values Can Address Industry Challenges”
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine
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There’s something quite ironical, dare we say ‘sweet’, about a company called ‘Milk & Honey PR’ being B-Corporation certified. Or, perhaps it’s just B&T’s penchant for puns.

During this year’s B&T Women in Media Awards, presented by Bauer Media, we’ll be recognising exceptional people who have achieved success in their professional arenas, celebrating their invaluable contribution to their industry through leadership, innovation and courage.

Based in Sydney, Maggie Gaston is the client director of B-Corporation certified public relations company Milk & Honey PR, a sponsor of this year’s Women in Media Awards and the inaugural Women Leading Tech Awards.

Gaston, who also joins the judging panel of this year’s WIM, became part of the Milk & Honey team—known as ‘the hive’—in March, just two months after it opened in Australia.

Still considered a start-up, the company holds two offices globally: one in the United Kingdom, the other in Sydney, with a tight-knit team headed by founder Kirsty Leighton—a leader Gaston describes as “brilliant in every way”—alongside Australian managing director Caroline Addy.

When asked what attracted her away from Lewis Communications after five years, Gaston says: “For me, I wanted to go somewhere where I felt like values were a top business priority.”

“Milk & Honey’s values—energy, bravery, respect, passion, collaboration and loyalty—really stood out to me, and so did their ethical standards,” she says.

As an accredited B-Corporation company, Milk & Honey is one of only a few communications businesses in the world that can say they truly invest in people, purpose and profit—a fact bolstered by the news that the PR start-up is already working alongside many brands that align with its values.

“Our values remain absolutely consistent as the business continues to grow around us. Would we be willing to resign a client who behaves and operates in contrast to our values? Absolutely,” Gaston says.

“It’s a really important transition for our industry— leading with values—and it has the potential to address some of our industry’s biggest challenges, including burn-out, stress, and diversity in the long-term.

“Being B-Corporation certified is no easy feat. Milk & Honey was one of the first PR agencies in the UK to become accredited, and we’re one of a few globally who have gone through the process.

“There’s just something really special, dare I say fearless, about being one of the first to open ourselves up to the scrutiny that’s involved in becoming certified. And it’s not just a global conversation that takes place at the top.

“Ensuring profit and purpose go hand-in-hand is part of the discussions we, as a team, have on a daily basis—it has to be.”

When asked why Milk & Honey wants to get behind the Women in Media Awards as a sponsor, Gaston says the company aligns itself with events that “reflect us as a business”.

Such events, she explains, should help to “shed a light on underrepresented areas of the industry— for example female leadership in media and in technology—areas where it is important to both address the challenges and celebrate successes”.

“Fearlessness is about having the conviction to commit to your ideas and not being afraid to stand out from the crowd. When I look at our business, I think of Caroline who started up in January this year as a one woman show,” Gaston says.

“At that point, she was stepping into the unknown based on the belief that Milk & Honey’s principles and values would resonate with this market and our experience would be in demand. That’s pretty fearless.

“Looking at Australia we’re fortunate to have a lot of other fearless women who are showing us the way—you’ve got Melanie Perkins at Canva; Catriona Wallace at Ethical AI Advisory … we have this amazing group of women who are demonstrating bravery on a daily basis”.

But what should the leaders who end up on stage at the Women in Media Awards represent? Gaston believes they will demonstrate the “incredible talent, resilience and the creativity we have in this industry”.

“After the last few months, I can’t believe there’s a single individual in this industry who has not experienced fear of the unknown at some point. I hope these awards acknowledge the responsiveness and determination of our industry … celebrating those who have led by example and exhibited resilience,” Gaston says.

“I also hope to see some diversity on the stage. We have a lot of fresh talent entering the industry so I’d like to see a mixture of age, background and experience represented.”

You can buy tickets to the 2020 Women in Media Awards here, which will be held on Wednesday 28 October 2020, at Doltone House (Jones Bay Wharf).

And, if you’d like more information on the event, head to this website.

Shortlist announced: Wednesday 23 September 2020.

Thank you to all of our incredible sponsors for making the event possible! 

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