Sue Primmer

Sue Primmer

Sue has spent the past fifteen years in financial services, supporting private-equity backed firms through accelerated growth, mergers and acquisitions and leading complex integration and transformation programmes. She is one of 100 women awarded the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of a century of women’s suffrage, and is currently serving her second term as an official UK Export Champion.

Sue’s career spans private and public services and both large and small organisations. She was previously Assistant Chief Executive, Communications & Consultation for Hackney Council, dealing with complex local issues as well as with the impact of national policy and working as part of the Olympic Host Boroughs to secure a meaningful local legacy from the Games in the run up to London 2012. This followed six years as Director of Communications for the University of Birmingham, one of the UK’s leading research-led universities with an international student base. 

During this period, Sue also acted as media and public affairs lead for the Russell Group over the introduction of tuition fees; founded the Midlands’ Media Centre training academics, diplomats and business leaders in media skills and; struck a strategic alliance between the University and the BBC, securing a BBC Drama Village on campus. 

Before this, Sue was founding Editor of birminghampages.com, an early dotcom start-up owned by Chrysalis media. This followed five years as Director of Communications for one of the UK’s most senior Church of England Bishops, who was also a member of the House of Lords and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Envoy to the Vatican State. 

Sue began her marketing career helping Luton College of Higher Education to become a ‘challenger brand’ in higher education and achieve University status following earlier posts in scientific publishing. Sue is an English graduate from Cambridge University and has a second degree in the construction of gender in Shakespeare from the University of Durham. Sue is married and lives in East London with her family.

Sue’s career spans private and public services and both large and small organisations. She was previously Assistant Chief Executive, Communications & Consultation for Hackney Council, dealing with local issues as well as with the impact of national policy and working as part of the Olympic Host Boroughs to secure a meaningful local legacy from the Games in the run up to London 2012. This followed six years as Director of Communications for the University of Birmingham.

During this period, Sue also: acted as media and public affairs lead for the Russell Group over the introduction of tuition fees; founded the Midlands’ Media Centre training several hundred leading research academics, diplomats and business leaders in media skills and; struck a strategic alliance between the University and the BBC, securing a BBC Drama Village on campus.

Before this, Sue was founding Editor of birminghampages.com, an early dotcom start-up owned by Chrysalis media. This followed five years as Director of Communications for one of the UK’s most senior Church of England Bishops, who was also a member of the House of Lords and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Envoy to the Vatican State.

Sue began her marketing career helping Luton College of Higher Education to become a ‘challenger brand’ in higher education and achieve University status following earlier posts in medical and veterinary publishing. Sue is an English graduate from Cambridge University and has a second degree in the construction of gender in Shakespeare from the University of Durham. Sue is married and lives in East London with her family.

Stuart Baird

Stuart Baird

Associate Director

Stuart is an award-winning communicator who has worked within the industry for 24 years, including in the Strategic Communications Unit at No 10 Downing Street, and specialises in digital and social media and engagement. Based in the Midlands, Stuart has delivered strategies and campaigns from Think! to Change4Life and Apprenticeships nationally, and run national and international media events for the Royal Family and government ministers, including the Prime Minister. He has also worked within the NHS as Head of Communications, Marketing and Engagement, delivering internal, external, digital, fundraising and stakeholder strategies.

In his current capacity he has worked with a range of clients from UK Trade & Investment, working with businesses to promote export, to the Home Office, partnering with local government and the police on community safety, to the Department of Communities and Local Government, focussing on development and house building.

He was named Independent Practitioner of the Year 2016 for the Midlands by the CIPR and won a Gold CIPR Pride Awards public engagement and youth engagement campaign, as well as being highly commended by PR Week for crisis management.

Helen Desmond

Helen Desmond

Director of Client Services

Helen is a senior communicator, who delivers strategy development and stakeholder engagement, including media relations, campaign direction and content. Clients can also benefit from Helen’s experience of change management and capability building within central and local government, as well as the private sector.

Helen’s work with the Open Data Institute (and more widely, the ‘open data’ agenda) and The Open University while at Allegory has built on an earlier part of her career in technology PR. Her specialist areas include strategic counsel, hyper-local media, partner relations and capability building.

Emma Thwaites

Emma Thwaites

Founder and Executive Chair

Emma is Allegory’s Founder and Executive Chair.

She is a strategic communications practitioner with more than 25 years’ experience and has worked at the highest level of government and corporate organisations. She is a hands-on agency leader who recently led the delivery of projects for high-profile organisations including the Open Data Institute, The Open University, and the Web Foundation.

Emma spent ten years at the heart of UK Government where she headed up the Cabinet Office’s strategic communications team.

Emma’s approach is characterised by intellectual rigour and exceptional standards of quality and value that she demands equally of her team. Her networks include industry innovators, media, and policy makers.