Fleet Streeters Sam Wells and Jess Maciazek were recently recognised in The Restaurant Marketer & Innovator (RMI) Rising Star Awards, and we couldn’t be prouder.

These awards recognise talented future leaders in marketing, innovation and strategy roles within hospitality who are under 30 years of age. Judges looked for creativity, confidence, commercial awareness, ability to collaborate, leadership skills and perseverance, along with a clear potential to be an industry leader of the future.

We caught up with Sam and Jess to hear all about their journeys to stardom, top tips for PR, and get some local lunch recommendations…

Tell us about your journey to stardom! What makes you a Rising Star?

Sam: I was absolutely thrilled to be nominated for this award… it’s a real coup. As part of the judging process, we were asked to give an overview of our career highlights to date. It’s a difficult question to answer… not just because it doesn’t come naturally to me to talk about “career highlights” but because everything I have achieved in PR has been as part of a brilliant team.

However, hopefully the judges got a sense of my passion and enthusiasm, the outstanding results I help clients achieve, and the determination I have to really help lead the way when it comes to making a case for PR and marketing for food, drink and hospitality businesses.

Jess: It’s an honour to win this award and I’m really grateful to RMI. Before settling in hospitality PR I gathered a wide range of PR and sector experience including financial, corporate, consumer, trade and social, which gives me a unique perspective when it comes to account management and client work.

I’m also always looking to build on my knowledge and keep up to speed with sector trends, both locally and internationally, allowing me to think creatively when it comes to implementing new ideas or campaigns for clients.

As much as agency work is about supporting clients, it’s also about building strong teams. Being able to share my insights and help other people work on the skills and tools they need to excel in their roles is something I really believe in.

Any previous award wins?

Sam: You mean besides ‘Celeb Spotter of the Year 2023’?! (awarded at Fleet Street’s annual conference)

Jess: I was voted most likely to become a celebrity in school – that has yet to happen (I’m waiting…)

What’s your number one piece of PR advice?

Sam: I’ve always worked agency-side and, for me, the most important thing when it comes to yielding incredible results is demonstrating emotional intelligence internally. Being clear in your communication with others, actively listening to the people around you, and thinking about people’s needs.

I have taken inspiration from some of the fearless leaders I’ve been lucky enough to work with. I always felt like I was my most productive and motivated when I knew that my boss was rooting for me and had my back 100%.

Jess: Don’t be afraid to play devil’s advocate or to voice your opinion. If you have a good campaign idea or have seen some research or trends that could work for a project or client, share them.

Equally, if you think something is a major red flag or could potentially backfire, don’t wait for it to happen, flag it and provide solutions to help avoid or minimise the impact. PR is about thinking 10 steps ahead of everyone else and being collaborative, so don’t let the fear of putting your hand up get in the way.

Favourite local lunch?

Sam: I’m still finding my feet in our new office, discovering a new favourite local lunch every week… but this week, it’s got to be the Chicken Katsu Curry at Kokoro!

Jess: Anywhere with a good ramen – KOI Ramen at Elephant Park is a go-to for a quick takeaway or a chill sit-down meal out of the office.

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