Leilani is founder and MD of Thrive. She started the company at 25 and has built it to be one of the most successful independent PR agencies in Australia with established offices in Melbourne and Sydney and most recently Brisbane and Auckland. She has represented some of the world’s biggest brands and has devised strategic communications plans that have delivered great success to emerging companies. With an enviable network of influencers and in-depth local knowledge, her expertise lies in media communication and strategic planning.
General Manager, Melbourne
A driven public relations professional with over seventeen years experience, Kelly is a vital asset to Thrive. Throughout her career she has directed some of Thrive’s most prestigious accounts, devised and delivered stand-out client strategies and nurtured relationships between consulting teams and clients. With her ‘glass half full attitude’, Kelly’s creative approach ensures her clients receive the most effective strategy and tactics for their campaigns. A long-serving senior team member, Kelly has played a critical role in shaping Thrive and helping it become the success it is today. She took over the reigns as General Manager of the Melbourne office in July 2015 and sits on the the company’s national Executive Team.
Associate Director, 2IC Sydney & Auckland
A curious and passionate PR consultant, Frances Wills has an impressive history in the PR industry having worked for the past decade across health, tech and FMCG clients in Australia and New Zealand. Frances’ refined PR skills and never-fail attitude, delivers strong leadership to the Sydney team. She brings enthusiasm, unwavering commitment, and dedication to every job at hand. She has a reputation with Thrive clients for her ability to inspire the team to deliver superior results. Frances has received numerous awards for her client campaign work and was recognised as the PR Institute of New Zealand’s, ‘Young Practitioner of the Year’ in 2012. She currently works closely with Thrive management as Associate Director in the Sydney office.
National Business Director
Michelle kicked off her PR career over 17 years ago, working in PR and communication agencies that have been mostly focused on creating two-way conversations between brands and consumers. Michelle is passionate about creating and delivering big, brave and effective ideas with earned media and social currency at the heart. She is ideas led and encourages integrated thinking and enjoys working on holistic strategies and campaigns. With expertise in brand strategy and consumer engagement, Michelle has worked with large global consumer brands and has delivered award-winning work for clients such as NIVEA, Nintendo, PlayStation, Vodafone, Gillette, Oral-B, Metamucil, Vicks, Pampers, BMW, Toyota and Nestlé. As a leader and coach Michelle has senior management experience and loves mentoring and helping teams grow, develop and achieve career and client success. She is also passionate about the operations of a business and an agency, which equips her well in her role as National Business Director.
Lucinda Kennedy is a public relations and media expert with specialised experience in New Zealand and abroad. In both Auckland and New York City, Lucinda has led public relations campaigns for a host of world-renowned clients. She has also worked as a journalist at both ACP Media and Bauer Media Group and consequently has a deep network of contacts as well as an insider’s understanding of how the ever-changing media industry works. Lucinda is passionate about finding a voice for each of her clients in the media, both from a traditional and digital perspective, and she is known for her strategic capabilities on campaigns. She has an unwavering commitment to consistently delivering impactful results for her clients.
Based in Brisbane, Kristi McDonough is a PR force to be reckoned with. With a career spanning nearly 20 years in both Australia and US markets, Kristi’s breadth of experience and execution in PR, Marketing, Events and Brand Strategy is a collective strength Thrive is thrilled to have on board. In early life, an accomplished sporting background (including state representation for Rowing, Hockey and Snowboarding) gave Kristi the critical foundations for teamwork and leadership as her PR career began. Kristi has worked on a multitude of local and global brands. She gained invaluable experience in the sport and lifestyle sector through a seven year association, both in-house and later through her own PR agency, with high performance eyewear and apparel brand, Oakley. This work was Kristi’s launchpad to operate on a global scale. Recently returning to home soil after three years of Agency time split between California and NYC, Kristi brings a rock solid performance history to the agency and is ecstatic to be leading Thrive Brisbane.
Associate Director, 2IC Melbourne
With in-house and agency experience, Associate Director, Lucy Allen has over a decade of industry expertise to contribute to the team. Not only bringing her skills in Public Relations but a background in Journalism and Marketing, Lucy brings an understanding of both sides of the coin. The opportunity to meet new people, the challenge of ‘the sell’ and the freedom to think creatively and push boundaries is what keeps Lucy in love with PR and why we love having her on the Thrive team.
Senior Account Director
With decades of experience in the industry, Senior Account Director, Leanne Baker knows the Australian media landscape inside out. She has garnered diverse knowledge of traditional and new public relations methods during her time working in agencies. This is demonstrated in her ability to retain clients year after year, while consistently delivering the best results. Leanne’s expertise is in gaining a deep understanding of her client’s commercial goals and building long lasting relationships with clients and their stakeholders. She has a passion for food and hospitality and enjoys the unpredictability of every day in PR. Leanne is an integral part of Thrive and is a dynamic mentor to our junior team members.
Senior Account Director
Bitten by the media bug while at University, Senior Account Director, Anri McHugh has embraced the diversity of a career in PR and never looked back. Bringing international experience to the table, Anri thrives when given a challenge and never fails to nail top coverage for his clients. Always looking for the opportunity to learn, Anri has continued to evolve as a communications specialist and brings a creative and results driven approach to the Thrive team.
Senior Account Director
With a reputation for delivering high impact PR campaigns for global consumer and corporate clients in both the UK and Australia, Kat has over a decade of industry experience. A lover of food, lifestyle, and technology, Kat consistently maintains a holistic market and product awareness and thrives in working to challenging deadlines in high-pressure environments. Kat has built strong relationships with both clients and the media through her management of diverse, integrated PR and marketing campaigns.
Senior Account Director
Amanda is a PR & Communications specialist with over 11 years experience. In this time, she has worked in the UK and Australia on numerous campaigns for some of the world’s most famous brands. Her experience spans retail, food, drink, beauty, and luxury sectors. With a proven ability to lead campaigns on a global and local level; Amanda also specialises in event management and Influencer relations. In today’s fast moving consumer landscape, Amanda believes integration is key in successfully telling brand stories. She is a strategic and creative thinker who is well-practised at turning brand stories into powerful news generation and consumer engagement initiatives.
Suzy is affectionately recognised for her wild Scottish accent at Thrive – we love it! She brings almost a decade of PR experience to Thrive having worked in agencies in both Australia and in the UK. For the past few years at Thrive, she’s been a key senior part of our Sydney team, working on clients including gaming global powerhouse, Ubisoft, and design favourite Temple & Webster. Her experience previous to Thrive is diverse, from auto clients like Harley Davidson to tech giants Google and YouTube. Suzy’s love for media relations and expertise on product launches are key assets to her clients.
Having studied a Multi-Media Journalism degree at a top UK university, Caroline joined Thrive after spending years working with some of the best PRs in London. She’s a serial all-rounder with a passion for media and digital, putting her skills to the test for her clients each day working on multi-faceted comms campaigns for some of Thrive’s powerhouse clients including Optus. Caroline is no stranger to big brands and tech giants – she’s worked on a wide range of global brands, including Nikon and Amazon’s LOVEFiLM. Although Caroline is a born and bred Pommie, she has earnt her Aussie stripes having also worked on Aussie favourites including iconic Aussie Mangoes!