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Industry Insights

Comms Coffee Club Podcast | Episode 8 | James Banks' Communications Career: From Army Officer in Iraq & Afghan To Journalist To Comms Leader

29 November 2023 by Max Forsyth


This week on the Combs Coffee Club podcast, James Banks joins us to talk about his career journey from British Army officer to journalist and war correspondent to his current role leading marketing and communications at infrastructure giant AECOM.

From Army Officer to Journalist

We explore how James transitioned to a career in communications from the British army. He had no idea that his skills would be transferable and how he managed to make his second dream career of being a broadcast journalist come true. We discuss the importance of embedding a journalist with the military, and how the experience enabled James to understand the perspective of a soldier when dealing with communication professionals. We then focus on how James became a successful journalist and how he used his understanding of the military to help him in his new career.

Importance of Honest Communication and Collaborative Decision-Making

Natasha and I discuss the importance of transparency and honesty for businesses looking to transition to more sustainable practices. We explore the responsibility of communications teams and companies to demonstrate their workings and thinking in order to make a successful transition. We also discuss how the media is often making sustainability into a device and how even those who are pro-transition often still recognise that the energy supply chain will still include oil and gas in some capacity for the next 30 years.

Effective Communication in Leadership

We explore Lara Poloni, the former chief executive for Europe at AECOM, and her open-mindedness towards James' advice. We consider how leaders need to be willing to listen and learn from the expertise of their communications teams, especially in light of the pandemic. We reflect on the importance of communication in leadership, and how it's not just about delivering a message, but having a two-way dialogue.

Don't Miss Out!

The episode is a treasure trove of information for communications professionals, offering in-depth analyses and hands-on tips. Whether you’re in the early stages of your career or a seasoned professional, there’s something for everyone.

For more insightful conversations, stay tuned to the Comms Coffee Club Podcast. Subscribe to our channel and follow us on all our social media platforms to keep up to date with the latest in the communications industry.

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Watch The Full Episode Below


​​​Comms Search & Selection specialises in executive search and recruitment for the in-house communications industry, serving clients in the UK and the USA. We expertly fill roles from Manager to C-Suite in corporate communications, public relations, internal communications, digital transformation, investor relations, and content strategy. Catering to diverse sectors, including Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 companies and financial and professional services firms, we're the go-to search and recruitment agency for seeking top communications talent. Contact us to secure the industry's best.