We interview Dorine Johnson, Deputy Head, Corporate Comms, Global, at Franklin Templeton. As a Corporate Communications leader with nearly two decades of expertise on an international scale, Dorine shares her business insights and hidden talents.
1. Can you give us a brief overview of your career so far
Born and raised in Mauritius, I moved to London in 1998 and studied Marketing and Communications at London Guildhall University. I started my career at Standard Chartered Bank, Africa Regional Office division and then in 2001, I was hired by Fiduciary Trust which was later acquired by Franklin Templeton, where I took on the role of PR manager. My remit progressively expanded from Northern Europe, Europe to EMEA and in 2019, I was promoted to Deputy Head of Comms Global. I have over 24 years of experience in the financial sector and over 20 years within asset management.
2. What would you say are your three key attributes that contributed to your career success?
Strategic thinking, resilience and passion for the job and the industry.
3. You have done a great job as a Head of Corporate Communications at Franklin Templeton, what would you say is the one thing that makes for a successful and happy team?
Empowering the team to work towards a common vision and having fun along the way! In addition to their daily responsibilities, I like to give each team member a specific business project or initiative to lead. I think it’s important to empower individuals and get them to take ownership of specific projects so they bring their own perspectives and ‘mark’ to things, can develop their own skills and have exposure to other areas of the business.
4. Franklin Templeton is a powerhouse in the investment management world; what is the biggest challenge in your role?
When I started my journey at FT over 20 years ago, the firm had $200 billion under management. It is now one of the world’s largest investment houses, with $1.5 trillion in AUM. It’s been thrilling to contribute and be part of the firm’s growth and evolution over the last two decades. Franklin Templeton completed the $4.5 billion Legg Mason acquisition in July 2020 and as a result, we’ve inherited six specialist investment groups (SIMs), new capabilities and new product offerings.
Since the acquisition, the Corp Comms team has been very focused on the integration phase and the positioning of the new combined organisation which ranges from change management announcements, executive profiling to raising awareness of new capabilities/products acquired.
As a large firm, we have a wealth of stories to communicate to the market and we are extremely fortunate that our investment teams value the benefits of PR and are keen to speak to the press. I also have an excellent team of experienced PR professionals in EMEA who are engaged, focused and supported by PR agencies. Our challenge is the constant juggling of our growing workload and how we strategically prioritise to ensure alignment with our marketing and distribution teams and our corporate goals for an integrated communications approach. Whilst there are invariably moments of pressure, it is certainly an exciting place to be!
5. Your top tip for influencing senior stakeholders in the business?
Influencing stakeholders can be challenging particularly in large organisations. My top tip is to understand and anticipate the needs of your stakeholders. This will enable you to gain insight and find opportunities for collaboration and building strong partnerships.
6. What is the most important lesson you have learned in life so far?
We are the authors of our own happiness and our story! Very often life, family and work take over our lives and we are busy reacting, managing, juggling several situations which can be stressful. We can’t always control the things that happen to us, but we can change our experience of those things. It is important to hit pause regularly and think about what makes us happy and fulfilled. Are we on the right path or have we deviated somewhat? Then, make a concerted effort to prioritise those elements that bring us the greatest joy.
7. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given along the way and by whom?
A mentor once told me: “if it makes you uncomfortable, it might be a good thing to try”. I think it’s human nature to avoid challenges and difficult situations. I have found that we learn the most and can surprise ourselves when we deal with elements that take us out of our comfort zone.
8. You are incredibly busy in your professional life, what do you do outside of work to de-stress?
A mixture of travelling, reading French literature, cycling and sailing, attending arts, culture, foodie events, wine, yoga and meditation. I am currently mulling over a course in creative coding (an area of interest).
Over the last couple of years, I have been wanting to focus on activities that allow me to give back to society by leveraging on my years of experience. I have been mentoring a young lady in our industry as part of the City Hive Mentoring programme and I was recently invited to sit on the Women in PR committee. WIPR is a network for senior female PR professionals focussed on the advancement of women in the PR industry.
9. If you hadn’t ended up working in comms, what was your plan B?
I have always been drawn to creative sectors such as TV/broadcasting, radio or advertising. If I had to choose something completely different, it would be behavioural psychology. It would be fascinating to help people understand the connection between our minds and our behaviours, particularly as society continues to evolve.
10. Do you have any hidden talents?
I am a fluent in French and I can read Italian, Spanish and Romanian. I can make delicious truffle pasta recipes in the winter. I can also play a traditional Mauritian instrument called “ravanne” which is similar to a drum.
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