Katie Harvey and Elsa Roodt are two dynamic forces in the world of Public Relations and entrepreneurship, acclaimed for their innovative thinking and indelible impact on the industry. Born wanderers, their varied upbringings across continents have played a role in shaping their global outlook.

Irish native Katie Harvey’s journey took a pivotal turn when, at the age of 22, she moved to Dubai, carrying a Bachelors’s degree in Public Relations from Leeds University. Her international upbringing, which spanned Ireland, Russia, Germany, and Portugal, equipped her with a multicultural perspective that would later prove invaluable in her PR ventures. She began her career at Movenpick Hotels & Resorts Group as a PR manager, where she not only managed the Bur Dubai property but also spearheaded the launch of the JBR resort and revitalized the group’s visual identity. The entrepreneurial city of Dubai soon inspired her to establish Q Communications in 2010, alongside her best friend Elsa.

Elsa Roodt brings to the table a wealth of experience, with over 21 years in the GCC, primarily focused on media, brand communications, and understanding consumer behaviour. A South African by birth, Elsa has dedicated the majority of her career to the bustling city of Dubai, having worked as a Pub Manager at a 5-star hotel before turning her gaze towards entrepreneurship. Alongside Katie, she co-founded Q Communications in 2010, which quickly became a cornerstone of their success story. Her life is anchored by her commitment to her family—her husband, whom she met in the UAE, and her daughter born in 2017. Despite her busy schedule, Elsa remains devoted to running, traveling, and cherishing family moments.

Together, Elsa and Katie’s combined vision and expertise have earned them recognition as influential communication professionals by PRWeek Middle East Power Book for six consecutive years. Renowned for their strategic contributions, they serve as founding members of PRCA MENA, figure amongst the GCC’s top 50 female leaders, and are fervent supporters of charitable initiatives like the Sparkle Foundation.

Their commitment to empowering women in their field is evident through their involvement with Taa Marbouta, a program dedicated to mentoring females in the PR industry. Moreover, their business acumen extends to active board memberships and investments in ventures such as Natrl Mineral Water, ONE MOTO and Zaeto, where they continue to infuse their strategic vision and passion for success.

Indeed, Elsa & Katie’s partnership is a narrative of friendship, innovation, and determination, setting an inspiring example in the corporate sphere and beyond.

About Their Thoughts For The Industry 

The evolution of PR and media is undoubtedly reshaping the way businesses and individuals communicate and build their brands. With the rise of AI and the diminishing presence of print media, the industry faces pivotal changes. However, declaring PR as obsolete couldn’t be further from the truth. As a PR & Digital agency, we have seen a 40% uptake in PR services and a steady decline in print-paid media. This clearly indicates that companies and brands are realizing their reputation is created by other people’s perception of them, not by what they place in a magazine advertisement. 

PR is less about securing a spot in the newspaper and more about embracing a holistic approach to storytelling across multiple platforms while allowing the public to be part of the story. The public’s voice is stronger and more influential than ever, meaning reputation management is a continuous, real-time endeavor. In this climate, everyone has the potential to be an advocate or critic of your brand, and the immediacy of digital platforms means that opinions, both positive and negative, can spread like wildfire. A great example is the recent campaign Budweiser ran with the infamous influencer that caused one of the biggest outlashes of all time, in real time. This is how a reputation can be shaped in seconds.  

In today’s context, PR is interconnected with social media, content creation, digital marketing, and crisis management. It’s about cultivating and sustaining a narrative that resonates with audiences, wherever they may be. The key lies in engagement – listening and responding to the public, influencers, industry leaders, journalists, and the community. Referring back to the example, the disconnect between Budweiser and its customers was evident. The brand didn’t listen to what the customers had to say. Every interaction and piece of content from that point on contributed to the overarching perception of a brand and its reputation. By the time they realized it, it was too late. 

As we look to the future, it is evident that Public Relations will continue to thrive, but with a new set of rules. It is daunting as we don’t have control over every bit of content we seed, but equally exciting as the next big standout brand could be a social media post away. For those willing to embrace change and innovation while holding onto the essence of what PR represents, the future is bright.