Sarah Black has 30 years of experience in communications having worked in consultancy for major brands, small businesses, and non-profits across the UK, Ireland and the United States, and in-house for non-profit organisations in Northern Ireland and Texas. She is a former director of a multi-award-winning global PR & content agency where her achievements included leading campaigns addressing racism and sectarianism and promoting reconciliation and community building. She is an expert in crossing and adapting to cultures – ask her about learning enough Norwegian to write a press release for a local non-profit!
Tell us a bit more about your business. How long have you been a consultant?
I founded Athru Communications five years ago while living in Texas, so I’ve made it through lockdown and moving countries twice since then. I focus on communications, culture and change from a global perspective. Overall, I’ve worked in consulting and in-house roles for more than thirty years – clearly I was VERY young when I started! Fun fact: I’m originally from Belfast and Athru is the Irish word for change.
What attracted you to work with CommsRebel?
I was so impressed with last year’s Inner Rebel event! It was obvious after only a brief conversation that Advita and I have a shared passion for inclusive communications and workplaces and driving change.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just finished a major project on inclusive communications. And there might be a podcast coming later this year…
What’s your favourite season?
Spring – such a hopeful, optimistic time in nature.
What was the last thing you Googled?
Reviews of changing robes for swimming.
What book do you recommend every comms professional should read?
So hard to choose as I’m an avid reader but You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy is excellent. We don’t tend to focus enough on listening.
What sparks your curiosity?
I want to know ‘why’ all the time – what’s the motivation or the cause of behaviour?
Who embodies a rebel to you?
There are so many women in the history of peacebuilding and reconciliation in Northern Ireland who defied incredible pressure and intimidation to work for change. Check out the Peace by Piece podcast for just some of them.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
I’m competing in the Scottish Winter Swimming Championships for the first time and I am equally terrified and incredibly excited. And coming to Manchester for Inner Rebel of course!
What’s your hidden talent?
I’m not sure it’s a talent but I’ve been cold water swimming for almost two years now so nothing makes me happier than a dip in an icy lake. And that’s with no wetsuit!