Paulo Henrique Soares | Influence 100
Charting the future of public relations
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Paulo Henrique Soares

Director, corporate communications
IBRAM — Instituto Brasileiro de Mineração
Brazil , LatAm

 

After spending 15 years with Brazilian mining giant Vale, communications leader Paulo Henrique Soares joined the Brazilian Mining Association earlier this year as corporate communication director. The role is a critical one for the Brazilian mining trade association, which has found itself at the forefront of the complex stakeholder challenges that confront the country’s mining industry.

Soares is well prepared for this task. At Vale, he ushered in a considerable rethink of the company’s employee engagement practices, which he believes has helped build a new corporate culture at the company, using many of the learnings to co-author a book on employee engagement in the 21st century.

Specifically, Soares believes that conventional employee engagement models — whether centralised or decentralised — rarely help to unite a company across borders. As Soares points out, Vale’s communication strategy helped the company define its culture. "We needed to find a strategy that was global, and changed the way we operate. Empathy connects people."

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
I had the chance to manage a global crisis and not only noticed but felt the impact of a "wrong decision". During a crisis the whole company should be involved in taking the right decisions and supporting the CEO. That is when we will make a difference.

What do you love about this industry?
I love the unique opportunity to manage different issues on a daily basis. It is great to talk and relate to so many different stakeholders all the time.

What most frustrates you about this industry?
When our executives don´t understand our job and that a wrong call can impact the reputation of our companies.

What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities?
Get our members involved in all issues and to be a part of the decision making. The companies should understand the power of the associations and how they can influence their work and results.

How do you relax or change pace when you're not at work?
I love to be with my family – my wife and three kids. Traveling is by far my favorite activity outside work.

Can you share a book/movie/TV show/podcast that teaches a valuable lesson about PR?
“Scandal” is a great TV program and shows, somehow, the power of the right decisions during a crisis.

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
A teacher.