Dynamic Duos: Pure Public Relations’ Phoebe Netto and Penelope Holloway

In this week's Dynamic Duos, Pure Public Relations founder and managing director Phoebe Netto and head of strategy Penelope Holloway share their story of meeting via zoom pre-pandemic, to becoming firm friends and business partners.

Phoebe Netto:

Penelope and I were introduced to each other at what I believe was the perfect moment in time. I was on the hunt for someone incredible to join Pure Public Relations as the head of strategy, and Penelope was in the midst of a sea change and looking for a role she could do remotely.

It sounds incredibly cheesy, but from my very first meeting with Pen I thought, “I need to work with this woman!” She instantly struck me as such an insightful, intuitive, and emotionally intelligent person. Pen has this incredible ability to connect with people, whether it’s on a professional or personal level, and can very quickly recognise what a business needs and how she can use her expertise to help them.

One thing I’ve always admired about Pen is her complete lack of ego. I’ll be honest and say that when I first learned she was interested in joining me at Pure, I needed to pinch myself. Working with someone of her calibre can often come with ego, but Pen operates from a place completely devoid of entitlement or self-importance. She’s equal parts confident and curious, so not only is she always happy to share her knowledge and skills with others but she is always open to learning, too.

As my right-hand woman, Pen has taught me so much about business and life over the years. She has such a brilliant strategic mind and has shown me how much you can achieve when you tap into other people’s knowledge, strengths, and ideas. Just as important as her expertise is her energy; she brings tremendous thoughtfulness and kindness to the business. To have someone so wonderfully well-rounded and intuitive work alongside me has been a huge turning point for Pure’s growth as a business.

At the end of the day, it really is such a privilege to work with someone who I can call a business partner and friend. As a woman, no one really tells you that you can be great at your job, have a rich personal life, and take care of yourself in the process. Pen is proof that you can be phenomenal in all areas of your life.

Penelope Holloway:

As I am based in Northern NSW, all my initial communication with Phoebe was over the phone – this was even before we became reliant on Zoom, but I knew instantly we would be firm colleagues and friends.

I remember saying, “I am always very transparent”, her response, “me too.” And, “I will have to, from time to time, prioritise my kids,” Phoebe, “yes, of course, I would expect that.”

Four years later, and I still feel grateful that Phoebe and I found each other.

From the moment I met Phoebe, I admired her ability to lead with vulnerability and openness. Throughout my career, I’ve always spoken to people about how hard it can be to find a leader who is willing to be vulnerable and ask for help, but that is exactly who Phoebe is and what makes her such an incredible person to work with.

She has the most phenomenal entrepreneurial brain and an unparalleled amount of industry knowledge, but she will always make space for others to lead alongside her and ask for help. It’s why I feel empowered to lead, feel challenged but also supported on a daily basis.

One of the reasons we work so well together is that we often approach challenges or opportunities from completely different angles. More often than not, we’ll start a discussion from different perspectives, but end up meeting in the middle. That ability to have open conversations and healthy debate is another reason why I love my job and keeps me feeling inspired after almost four years of working together.

The authenticity Phoebe brings to her job can be seen in every facet of the business she’s built. She brings her whole self to work and she encourages her team to do the same. When we come to work each day, we aren’t just PR professionals, but we are also people with families and unique responsibilities. In some of my previous roles, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable mentioning my kids to my clients, for instance, but Phoebe encourages her team to bring their whole selves to work. She encourages us all to find and set our own unique boundaries, and ask for help when it’s needed.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve messaged her late at night, ranting about the costume I need to make for one of my kids last minute, or compared notes on healthy lunch options. That’s something I feel really lucky to have with Phoebe; a relationship where we can be partners who drive the business forward together but also connect on a more personal level.

Phoebe on Penelope:

Most memorable moment: After a ‘what’s possible’ workshop for one of our pro bono clients, yFoundations, I had a moment of deep gratitude for the work we do, and the incredible clients we’re able to help along the way. Penelope headed up the workshop and made it look easy (it’s not).

Describe Penelope in one word: Remarkable.

Penelope’s most annoying habit or endearing behaviour: She is a mind reader and incredibly intuitive – she knows what I am thinking and feeling before I have a chance to articulate it and with no hope of me hiding it! Equally, that insight and emotional intelligence are standout qualities of hers.

Penelope on Phoebe: 

Most memorable moment: Pitching our first client together over Zoom. It was a huge moment because it cemented just how well we worked together and funnily enough, one of the first times I had actually seen Phoebe’s face!

Describe Phoebe in one word: Passionate.

Phoebe’s most annoying habit or endearing behaviour: Phoebe takes being a morning person to the next level, which means my Slack chat messages usually start as early as 4.30am.


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