Thrive appoints Lee McLean to newly created General Manager role in Queensland


August 2021: I Thrive PR + Communications has upped its investment in the Queensland market with the appointment of Lee McLean, former National Senior Counsel and Brisbane General Manager of WPP owned agency PPR, to the newly created General Manager, Thrive Queensland role.


Lee’s appointment follows the relocation of two key national resources to Brisbane - Thrive’s Head of Integration, Digital and Content, Georgia Bainbridge, and Group Account Director of Sport, Pete Fairbairn, as well as Amanda Gormley who returns to Thrive to a newly created Client Experience Manager role. Further cementing its long-term commitment to the local market, the agency has also moved into new larger premises, close to the Howard Smith Wharves precinct.


Lee has spent three decades as a communications specialist working in the local Queensland market across corporate, government, and PR consultancies. Her sector expertise is expansive including mining, retail, manufacturing, construction, and pharmaceutical, working with local, national, and global clients.


“I am joining Thrive at a time of growth and innovation. For me, working for an independent agency that has the clout of the globals in terms of the calibre of clients and talent, yet with the added advantage of agility that independence brings, is exactly where I want to be. I have watched with interest the rise of Thrive over the years and am thrilled to be part of this incredible team,” Lee said.


“Throughout my career, working with clients such as ExxonMobil, Herron Pharmaceuticals, and numerous government agencies and departments, my commitment to communication with purpose has been a driving force. I am keen to work with the team to devise strategy-driven communication that drives change, awareness, understanding, and genuine outcomes for our clients.”


Thrive Founder and Managing Director, Leilani Abels said: “Our Brisbane and Gold Coast operations allow us to deliver a communications service that is localised, but with the support of the AUNZ agency network to drive business opportunities for clients nationally and throughout the region.


“Lee is a smart and empathetic leader. Her appointment marks a milestone for our agency, giving us senior leadership and management experience in Queensland at a new level. It’s an incredible opportunity for our team on the ground to learn and grow, and for our local clients to benefit even more greatly from our investment in the best talent in the country. Thrive’s Queensland team and client portfolio has never been so strong, with the likes of Poolwerx, Allianz Partners and Tourism and Events Queensland, part of our ever-growing local client portfolio.”


More about Lee McLean, General Manager, Thrive Queensland


A native Queenslander and QUT graduate, Lee has been working in the communications industry for over 30 years in a range of roles throughout consultancies, corporations, and Government.


First-hand experience advising clients through a range of issues and crisis situations led Lee to develop media training packages for all levels of spokespersons and stakeholder liaison employees. She has trained hundreds of spokespersons over the past 10 years.


Committed to giving back to the communications industry, Lee is a former Councillor of the Queensland Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), a regular judge of national and international industry awards, and has served on Boards for both non-for-profit and education institutions. She was awarded Fellowship of the PRIA in 2001, is accredited by the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2), and has received over 30 industry awards for campaigns she has led or supported.


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