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Introducing Integral’s New Marketing Group Chair

Introducing Sue O’Connor, Head of Branding and Communications at Medair, who is the new Integral Marketing Group (IMG) Chair. The IMG is made up of the Directors of Fundraising /Marketing / Communications from our 21 Members. The IMG share learning and best practice, as well oversee the communication aspect of our joint work in disasters …

Photo: © Medair, Sue in the field with Medair in Iraq

What is your name and job title? 
Sue O’Connor, Head of Branding and Communications, Medair.

How long have you been in that role?   
Since April 2020.

What did you do before?             
I have worked in the field with Medair since 2016 – in Afghanistan, Iraq, and South Sudan.

You have been part of the IMG for a few years now. What would you say is the main benefit to you of being part of that group of fellow marketing, communications and fundraising professionals?   
I always appreciate the open discussion during IMG meetings, and the relationships that are built through the Alliance. There’s a feeling of shared mission – connecting people with the work that is being done and the communities that are being helped. During an emergency response there’s no hesitation in sharing information and resources and a real sense of solidarity.

What would you say is the main added value of your organisation being part of Integral?  
We have partnerships with our Integral peers throughout Medair – there’s strength in our shared values and an acknowledgement that we’re stronger together. Thanks to the Integral Secretariat we have the opportunity to explore broad issues like dignity in humanitarian communications and localisation, as well as operational partnerships.

Do you have a most treasured ‘Integral’ memory?      
When the context in Afghanistan was changing rapidly, the names of Integral Members were being mentioned in conversations about security, funding, operations, and communications. Organisations were generously sharing information as well as referring donors who wanted to support the situation. It was reassuring to know that donors were trusting Integral Members to respond in such a complex crisis.

What is your vision for Integral going forward?   
As part of the IMG working group we had a working group which developed a Storyteller’s Field Guide together for communicating with dignity. This was a wonderful project, and in the short term I’d like to see us roll it out well. We have an opportunity to align our organisations and continuously improve this valuable resource. I’d like to see us, as Christian organisations, really lead this initiative together.

Tell us one thing about yourself we may not know!       
I trained as a journalist but spent most of my career in marketing and public relations. Going to the field with Medair gave me the chance to return to that passion for storytelling, but I never dreamed that I would work internationally. I became a Christian at the age of 40, and it’s so obvious that God’s plans for us are bigger than we can ever plan for ourselves!

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