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Steve Atkinson

Stephen Atkinson, a partner at Hawthorn, leads the financial services practice, specialising in advising clients on financial and corporate communications.

He focuses on guiding individuals, in house teams, Boards/CEOs and leaders on reputation, deal flow, fund raisings, narrative building, corporate relations, stakeholder management and crisis management activities. He works with a broad range of clients including retail banks, fintech companies, private equity, private debt, asset management and corporate advisory companies. As is the norm at Hawthorn, Stephen also consciously works with a variety on non-financial companies and not-for-profit organisations to ensure our clients benefit from the broadest possible range of experience.

Prior to joining Hawthorn, Stephen worked at Standard Chartered Bank where he held a variety of leadership and communications roles including Group Head, Investor Relations and Communications and then served as the Group’s Corporate Affairs Director for five years with responsibilities for all communications activities of the Bank including media, investor relations, internal communications, public affairs, sustainability, reputational risk management and brand management. Stephen also served as the Regional Head of Private Banking for the AMEA region and as the Group’s Chief of Staff.

Ross Hawkins

Ross Hawkins joined Hawthorn from the BBC, where he was a political correspondent, working for its flagship programmes on television and radio. After beginning his career as a newspaper reporter, he spent almost twenty years in broadcasting, covering general election campaigns, Parliament and the impact of political decisions on industry.

He advises on public affairs and corporate communications. Ross graduated from Oxford University.

Liz Bruce

Liz Bruce has 20 years of experience across corporate communications, finance, technology, and media and leads Hawthorn’s North America business.

She has held a variety of strategic communications leadership roles, including Head of Communications and Brand at Strategic Value Partners, a global asset management firm, and Head of Communications at the venture capital firm Greycroft. She was also the first Global Chief of Staff for Corporate Communications at Goldman Sachs during the Global Financial Crisis.

Liz began her career at Goldman Sachs in the investment banking division, advising consumer and retail clients on M&A and capital raises. Following her time at Goldman, Liz co-founded Fitzroy Communications, where she advised clients across a wide range of industries on internal and external communications challenges. Fitzroy was acquired in 2017 by Teneo, a CEO advisory firm, where Liz was a Senior Managing Director. Liz holds degrees in computer science and finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Anna Maria Clarke

Anna Maria Clarke is Partner and Chief Operating Officer.

She runs Hawthorn’s operations in London and New York.

Before joining Hawthorn, Anna Maria was Chief Operating Officer of King’s College Wimbledon, where she ran the finances and operations of the London schools. She sat on the board of King’s College International School Bangkok, the International School of Monaco, KCSW International and KCS Enterprises. She was also secretary to the Eton Group of Bursars in the UK.

Anna Maria started her career in advertising. She sat on the board of the advertising agency AMV BBDO before moving into operations and marketing, working for organisations including the Shadow Chancellor’s office and Emap.

Anna Maria holds an MA in English Language and Literature from Oxford University.

Anna Maria sits on the Development Board of Christ Church, Oxford University. She has a son, a daughter and a Cavapoo. She loves travelling, ideally to Malta, reading and swimming.

Sarah Sands

Sarah Sands joined Hawthorn from the BBC, where she was editor of the Today programme, Radio 4’s flagship news and current affairs programme. She was previously editor of the London Evening Standard, the first woman to edit The Sunday Telegraph and deputy editor of The Daily Telegraph.

Sarah is the Deputy Chair of the British Council, was Chair of the Gender Equality Advisory Council for G7 for 2021 and is on the council for 2022. She is a Trustee of the Science Museum, Partner at Hawthorn Advisors and Board Member of Channel 4 and the Berkeley Group. She is a Patron of the National Citizen Service, an Associate at the IWM and former Trustee of Index on Censorship.

Sarah is an honorary fellow of Goldsmiths College, University of London, Lucy Cavendish College Cambridge and a visiting fellow to the Reuters Institute.