Meet the Expert: Karen Boud, Senior Tech PR

It’s never too late to follow your curiosity, and Senior Tech PR Karen leads by example. She shares how her passion for sustainability led her to a radical career change, why she finds work in the clean tech industry so rewarding, and what each of us can do to make a world a greener place. 

How has your PR and marketing journey grown?

You might be surprised to know, but I actually started out as an archaeologist! In the early 2000s, I decided to ‘retire’ and start a new career in PR.

I am very proud to have been one of a handful of PR professionals working in the wind farm sector as it began to bloom. My early role was primarily public consultation, and I was lucky enough to work on some ground-breaking projects, including numerous onshore wind farms in the UK, some in the USA, and the UK’s first offshore wind farm.

Over the years, communications and engagement in the renewables sector have become increasingly crucial. The role grew arms and legs as the renewable energy profile grew. More and more people needed to be informed or wanted to know more – politicians, the media, academics, environmental organisations, investors, supply chain companies and, of course, more local communities.

In 2014, I took the leap and set up my own consultancy, which was great fun and very rewarding. But, by 2018 I can honestly say I had got lonely working for myself – which is when I joined the fabulous team at Resonates!

Suddenly, many lovely new clients in a range of clean tech sectors and an enthusiastic and knowledgeable team working alongside me to bounce ideas off and offer support. What could be better – clean tech and a brilliant team!

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

My favourite part of the job is working with talented, enthusiastic clients committed to helping solve the climate change problem through innovation and technology.

The passion is contagious, and the work is crucial if we are to save the planet. So, simply put, helping to save the world – that’s pretty rewarding!

What’s your favourite brand and why?

Patagonia – they make quality products that are fit for purpose and that last. The company is very aware of the impact of its manufacturing processes and advocates reusing and fixing kit rather than buying new.

But what I really like is that it recognises Planet Earth as its only shareholder. It donates its profits to a non-profit collective dedicated to addressing the environmental crisis and protecting nature.

If more brands adopted a similar attitude, the world would be a much better place.

What content are you enjoying consuming right now?

I have just bought a book called ‘Brother. do. you. love. me?‘ by two brothers, Manni and Reuben Coe, after hearing it discussed on Radio 4. I have no doubt it will be emotional, beautiful and inspiring (and much easier to read than my previous book, ‘Game of Thrones!).

And for travel time, there is a good series on the BBC World Service called ‘The Compass‘. Over the summer, they dedicated several episodes to ‘Green Energy: Some Inconvenient Truths‘ – worth a listen.

The future workplace is evolving – what do you think businesses need to focus on in the next few months?

The world has been turned on its head post-covid, but it has taught us that for many professions, staff don’t always have to work in a dedicated office. Teams can and do function extremely well from locations across the country or even internationally.

Where you live is no longer a constraint on where you work. This opens up a huge pool of potential staff – and a massive pool of competition looking to recruit staff.

To attract and retain the required talent, businesses need to offer good salaries and benefits packages but also accept that remote working (and good IT) and flexible hours are a must.

What are the major challenges to tackling Net Zero and how do you overcome them?

Tackling Net Zero is hard – and time is now short to make huge changes to how we live.

The endless talking needs to be over. Governments need to be bold and decisive. They should act now to eliminate onerous planning processes and excess ‘red tape’ to fast-track proven technologies that help reduce reliance on fossil fuel.

This is not without risk, and we need to accept there may be some mistakes but continuing to fiddle with the detail while we hurtle towards the ‘tipping point’ is a much, much bigger risk.

What green products/services do you use/like/would recommend?

I subscribe to a green energy tariff with my electricity supplier. I know the electrons entering my house come from all sorts of generation, but if consumer demand for green electricity grows, then it sends the right message to generators, suppliers and ultimately, the government to hasten the switch to renewables.

I also recommend buying second-hand clothing. Why buy everything new when so much good quality clothing is already in circulation?

If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

I would definitely be with friends and my kids, undertaking some form of challenge. Maybe a multi-day hike in the Alps, a long canoe trip in Sweden or sailing a tall ship somewhere stunning.