Why I’m starting my communications consultancy

Laura AndersonBy Laura AndersonSeptember 14, 20206 Minutes

2020 has been quite the year. A global pandemic. Economic and education disruption. Social unrest. Record temperatures. Widespread natural disasters. It’s no surprise that no one is confident predicting what the next month or quarter will be like, yet alone the next year.

I don’t mean to sound cavalier, but I will look back fondly on 2020 — despite this pervasive uncertainty. I will remember 2020 as the year I reset my life.

One of the many things I appreciated and absorbed during my 20-year career at Intel Corporation was the belief that times of crisis and uncertainty are opportunities, not only to build back, but to build better. It was inevitable that I reflected on my life, career, and purpose while I was “sheltering in place” alone in the Bay Area this spring.

So, what were my epiphanies? And how and why did I reset my life?

First, like many others I decided that I wanted to be near my extended family and my closest friends – and not a plane ride away. So, I bought a great house in Phoenix – where I grew up and spent 14 years of my career at Intel – and moved in July. It’s the best decision I’ve made in a long time. Despite the blisteringly hot summer temperatures, it’s great to be “back home”, spending time with the people who mean the most to me.

Second, I concluded that I learned a lifetime of lessons while providing advice and communications services at Intel, Silver Lake (a tech-focused private equity firm), and Ketchum. During my two stints at Intel, I gradually progressed from intern to be the company’s most senior communications leader. I learned from my mistakes and the many more successes earned by my team and I during Intel’s many highs and lows. I also realized that I’m fueled by a conviction in the power and impact of purposeful communications; and by a desire to apply my learnings to something meaningful. So, I’m starting my own eponymous corporate communications consultancy.

Today, CCOs and their teams are being tested like never before. The external uncertainties and challenges and pace of change happening within industries, institutions, and businesses are unprecedented. Existential questions are being posed. As a result, communicators are under pressure to deliver more, quicker, and (much of the time) for less. For many, it’s a constant tightrope act, balancing the tyranny of the urgent while maintaining focus and work on intentional, proactive positioning and programs around major moments and important initiatives. And on top of this, keeping their own team members and agency partners connected, motivated, and rowing in the same direction.

When I led communications at Intel, I had an amazing in-house team and top-tier agency partners. In addition, during my first few months in the role I had access to a recently retired CCO peer from a high-profile Fortune 50 company. His unbiased and actionable advice and the projects he completed were invaluable during this crucial time and bolstered my confidence in my vision and strategic plan. In retrospect, there were several other moments and projects where I could have benefitted from this type of partner. Someone who deeply understood the CCO job and priorities, as well as the role’s internal and external challenges and pressures. Someone who could both work independently and collaborate seamlessly with the in-house team and other partners to ensure the sum was greater than the parts. And most important, someone who had the time, skills, and experience to think big, dive deep, and see around corners. This is why I’m starting my consultancy.

I’m excited to apply my business, communications, and leadership experience to help CCOs and other C-suite leaders embrace their opportunities, challenges, and uncertainties to stay one step ahead. Laura Anderson Communications’ services are in areas where clients can benefit most from my expertise: strategic communications (including corporate communications strategy and positioning; executive communications, employee engagement, and financial communications; crisis preparedness) and communications leadership expertise.

I look forward to working with all sizes and types of organizations to communicate with purpose, shape and protect what they are known for, and drive support and desired outcomes for their business and reputation priorities. If you’re interested in learning more, much more detail is available at www.landersoncommunications.com and you can also find me at laura@landersoncomms.com.

Resetting my life and taking this leap to go out on my own in 2020 is downright scary. But nothing worthwhile is ever easy or risk-free. While this is just the beginning, I am confident that this is a journey worth taking.