In this latest installment of our Women Leaders in PR series, we profile Aedhmar Hynes, the CEO of Text 100 for more than a decade. Text 100 is a global firm that focuses on areas including energy, technology, consumer electronics, professional services, and travel and tourism.
Even with an international public relations business to run, Hynes manages a busy family life. She is the proud mom of four children in addition to being head of a big company.
After the jump, Hynes talks with us (in a charming Irish accent) about her professional career path (a term she doesn’t really like), the “agency of the future,” and why being a mother is part of what makes her successful.
Aedhmar Hynes, Text 100
Aedhmar Hynes has been the CEO of Text 100 for 12 of the more than 20 years she’s worked with the firm. Yet, when she looks at the trajectory of her career, she sees lots of twists and turns.
“A ‘career path’ suggests that a path is linear,” she tells PRNewser. “I always have the image that you’re trying to go up a mountain. In many respects, careers aren’t like that.”
One need only to look at our twice weekly Roll Call column to see that many PRs don’t stick with the same company for an incredibly long time. The idea of staying on at a firm for an extended period brings to mind stasis and boredom. Seeking new experiences, client variety, upward mobility, or any number of other career goals, they zip from firm to firm looking for fulfillment.
Hynes, talking about all that she’s done in her career, is a lot more zen.
“It’s almost an experiential journey,” she told us. “It’s being open to see, not just to be focused on the top; being open to change and opportunity as they present themselves along the way.”
Even though Hynes has stayed on with Text 100, she’s been in different locations, performing different tasks. Moreover, she’s worked with a lot of clients, some over the long-term.
“I have worked with about 10 different companies that I got to know and deeply understand,” says Hynes. “Overall, I’ve worked with more than 10, but that gives you a sense of the experience and learning. The exposure from moving from one company to another, you can have that with one organization.”
When Hynes started at Text 100, it was the 1990s and she was in London. After about four years, she branched out to mainland Europe and South Africa, bringing “brand values but making it relevant to each country we were working in.” Then in the late 1990s and early 2000s, she made the transition to the U.S., setting up the company’s regional operations and opening five offices for the company. After that, she became the CEO of what was then a global business.
Along the way, she’s worked with corporations including IBM, Cisco, Xerox, and Yahoo and traveled around the world.
“I’ve worked with some of the most successful businesses and smallest startups,” she says. “It’s been a high-exposure, high-energy career for me. I want to be challenged and be put outside my comfort zone. If you can find an organization that can give you that, you should stick with it.”
Along the way, Hynes became a mom to four children. She says that motherhood is an “important part of my life and success” and it was a “personal ambition” to thrive both at work and at home. There is an easy flow between the two, what Hynes prefers to call “a blend.”
“I think you have to be fundamentally true to yourself,” says Hynes. “Whether I’m with children or in the office environment, it’s not a matter of switching to a different person. Understand who you are and that’s what you lead with. When you keep them separated, you run the risk of people not knowing the real you.”
Hynes has brought her children to the office, has traveled with them on occasion, and she’s even had clients to her home for dinner. She says Text 100 is also mentoring women at the company on this issue, recommending that they not “focus so hard on this concept of balance.”
The most recent changes and, according to Hynes, perhaps the biggest changes of all in communications, are the moves in digital, globalization, and diminishing trust. When she looks to the future, she says conversations and content will play a significant role.
“The future is understanding the customer with a deep level of insight and how to change perceptions,” she says. “At the core certainly for our business is to own relationships with clients at the most senior level in order to have a seat at the table. For communications to be effective, we have to impact business goals.”
That means turning to the right tools and experts, and having sound strategies. But it also means being prepared for whatever gets tossed at you.
“The agency needs to have that element of understanding for today, but anticipation for tomorrow,” says Hynes. “Keeping clients on top will be key to the future.”