Name: Fred Banning
Firm: Pinsent Masons
Role: Head of corporate communications
What’s your most vivid memory from being a grad trainee?
Well, not as a trainee but as a junior PR account executive at Kysen PR, I remember being dispatched to Wells Street to collect some back copies of The Lawyer so we could send cuttings to clients – in the time before online publishing!
This was also in the days of the Tulkinghorn column, and I was genuinely terrified that I would bump into the enigmatic and all-powerful Cat Griffiths, do something stupid and end up being ‘Tulked’. I’m in a cold sweat just thinking about it even now.
What is the wisest thing anyone ever said to you (and who said it)?
Two things stand out. First was a colleague who took me aside and said ‘don’t do the late nights and early starts for the sake of it. There will be times when you have to do them – save your energy for them and enjoy the times you don’t.’
Conversely, the other quote that has always stuck with me was from the golf pro Gary Player (although I’m not a massive golf fan). After winning a major he was accused of ‘getting lucky’. His response was ‘the harder I work, the luckier I get’. Words to live by.
Who (for better or worse) has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
There are so many people from whom I’ve learned so much. Clare Rodway at Kysen for PR and client management skills. Chris Hinze and Karen Snell at Hogan Lovells for a wider marketing perspective. Richard Masters, Andy Peat and the late, great Kirk Murdoch at McGrigors for being living proof that you don’t have to be a b**tard to succeed – quite the opposite; treating people well, trusting them and investing in relationships is the key to professional success and longevity.
Richard Foley and Alastair Morrison at Pinsents are much the same, and great role models in terms of encouraging those around them to truly be themselves and not be afraid to speak up.
Countless partners who have put up with my latest bright idea… I have probably just offended many, many people whom I should have mentioned. My apologies!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
I’m in the category of lucky people who love their jobs. I’d say treat people well and invest in your relationships, but not to the detriment of your family.
Get into digital marketing: it’s the present and the future.
I also learned late: if I were to start again, I’d do four days a week at the firm and one day a week doing a comms role at a charity pro bono. It’s good for your professional expertise, contacts and soul.
What’s your best friend from uni doing now?
He’s a MET police officer who spends his days busting drug gangs. So, you know, pretty similar levels of glamour and intrigue really.