Melanie Riley has over fifteen years PR experience in the field of corporate communications, public affairs and litigation PR. Melanie co-founded Bell Yard in 2002. She has provided litigation PR and communications advice on a wide variety of issues ranging from commercial disputes to employment litigation on behalf of both businesses and high-profile individuals.
Melanie previously worked at Cicero Consulting, where she was Associate Director. During her time at Cicero, Melanie advised among others, Elite Model Management in its defamation action against the BBC and to ICAP, in its dispute with Cantor Fitzgerald.
Prior to Cicero, Melanie was employed by Ludgate Communications. There she undertook a wide variety of litigation PR projects in areas ranging from medical negligence to employment law and personal injury. She also developed an interest in consumer affairs and retailing, which ranged across both litigation and political PR mandates. Her work included many European assignments, as well as those in the UK.
Melanie began her communications career by joining Nomura International, where she became responsible for European Media Relations, responsible for day-to-day liaison with financial print and broadcast media across Europe.
Melanie's public affairs experience includes: John Lewis Partnership (whom she advised on its Competition Act campaign against certain Dixon's supply agreements); and Nike UK, whom she advised on ‘rip-off Britain' issues and Nike's subsequent DTI submission (of which she was co-author). She also advised Nike on a new communications structure to handle consumer affairs issues.
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Louise Beeson has over fifteen years PR experience in the field of corporate communications including litigation PR, issues management and crisis communications. She has an invaluable understanding of, and experience in, complex legal disputes in the international financial services sector.
Louise was previously Global Head of Corporate Communications at investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort. As in-house Head of Media Relations she defended the bank's reputation during securities trading disputes, threatened public prosecution inquiries, class actions and regulatory agency investigations, in the UK and overseas. Her wide-ranging litigation PR experience also includes defensive media management during high-profile employment actions involving allegations of race and sex discrimination as well as bonus-related claims.
Louise spent nine years at Dresdner, joining Bell Yard in 2009. She previously worked at international law firm White & Case as PR manager for EMEA, and earlier was a Press Officer at Arthur Andersen. She began her PR career at international agency Burson Marsteller, having graduated from Cambridge University in 1993.
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Sarah Peters has more than fifteen years' experience in corporate communications, with substantial expertise in the professional and financial services sectors. She was previously Global PR Manager at law firm, Linklaters LLP, where her role included media relations, issues management and crisis communications.
Prior to moving in-house, Sarah was a Director at international communications consultancy, Citigate Dewe Rogerson, where she developed reputation management and thought leadership campaigns for a broad spectrum of national and international clients. She began her public relations career at Spada, a specialist professional services agency.
Sarah holds a degree in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford.
Sarah May Zahra
Sarah May has over 4 years' experience of PR, including in-house financial services PR and agency work. She previously worked for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) as a Media Relations Executive where her main responsibility was to generate proactive coverage in print, broadcast and electronic media, internationally, nationally and regionally for the Institute and for the profession that supported the primary brand and enhanced the ICAEW's reputation. Her main remit included personal finance, tax, enterprise and financial capability. Sarah May developed a network of strong relationships with leading national journalists and succeeded in developing the ICAEW's presence online by participating in online communities and blogs on behalf of the Chief Executive and managing the newsroom website and social media avenues.
Prior to this, Sarah May worked as a Graduate Media Sales Executive for Legalease Ltd., a legal publishing house responsible for creating high-quality publications for the elite of the legal profession and their clients. In this role, Sarah May sold the benefits of paid for directory entries across the portfolio of Legal 500 and Experts directories to attain deal based and revenue based targets by contacting multiple international jurisdictions and confidently presenting and selling the product to marketing and legal professionals across the world's largest law firms.
Sarah May graduated from Loughborough University with a 2.1 degree in Communication and Media studies and also completed two internships with Bell Pottinger PR.