Insights

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Lucy Thompson

Lucy is a Senior Consultant at Hawthorn, supporting clients in financial communications, tech, and corporate PR. 

Prior to joining Hawthorn, Lucy worked at a London-based strategic advisory firm. There she advised leaders in both business and government facing complex reputation, policy and communication challenges. 

She is experienced at working with clients on all aspects of strategic communications, delivering high-profile events for the UK government, campaigns and narratives for multinationals, and speeches for global leaders. 

In her spare time, Lucy enjoys painting, travelling and playing football for her local South London team.

Mark Burr

Mark Burr leads the Public Affairs team at Hawthorn, covering government relations, political engagement and campaigns, policy development and messaging, and regulation. He advises individuals and corporates on how to achieve positive policy outcomes and navigate and understand the political climate, putting this insight to effective use on behalf of clients.

Mark uses political intelligence, insights, and his extensive networks to develop and drive political strategies. He builds effective and creative campaigns and enjoys using a variety of political and media techniques.

Prior to joining Hawthorn, Mark worked at another consultancy, and before that, he ran News Corp and News UK’s EU and UK public affairs and government engagement.

Mark has a keen interest in understanding what motivates people to change their minds and how the media and technology are transforming the world.

Outside of work, Mark loves cycling, running, and tennis, and he is an avid reader of crime and spy novels.

Grace Skelton

Grace works primarily on political advisory, supporting clients with their stakeholder relations, policy development and managing complex political challenges. She uses her several years of experience working for the Labour Party, a trade union and in the UK Parliament to advise clients on navigating Westminster.

Grace also has corporate communications and lobbying experience from her two years working for a national trade body. Here, she developed her skills in strategic communications and stakeholder management, building media-integrated advocacy campaigns during what was a turbulent period for the industry.

In her spare time, you will find Grace passionately supporting Liverpool FC and cheering on the England national team in tournaments of all sports.

Dan Patten

Dan Patten is a Director at Hawthorn, specialising in political advisory and international campaigns. He advises clients, including (U)HNWIs and major corporations, on government relations, regulatory affairs, and crisis communications.

With expertise spanning various sectors such as financial services, technology, defence, health, and litigation, Dan leads political and regulatory campaigns that aim to enhance the reputation of his clients, whether they are individuals or large corporations.

Before joining Hawthorn, Dan worked in Public Affairs at FTI Consulting, where he advised Nazdaq and LSEG100 corporations, chief executives, cultural institutions, and trade bodies. His work encompassed a diverse range of campaigns and reputational strategies.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dan managed crisis campaigns for multiple clients across various industries and facilitated their participation in government and industry advisory groups.

Dan’s career also includes serving as a Parliamentary Researcher in the UK Parliament, where he managed the parliamentary relations of a successful Conservative leadership campaign candidate.

Outside of his professional life, Dan enjoys cycling and playing tennis.

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.