Abigail Jones has over 25 years experience in corporate communications and public affairs including consulting on corporate communications, positioning and identity; government and stakeholder relations; change management and internal communications. Abigail has worked with European and international blue chip companies, trade associations, think tanks and CEO advocacy groups. She has set up and ran industry coalitions that have engaged with NGOs and institutions such as the European Commission, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the UN. Her assignments have led her to work both with clients and the media around the world, including the majority of countries in the European Union, Switzerland, the United States, Nigeria, Ghana, Turkey and Japan.
Current and former clients include - ACE (Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment), Akzo Nobel, Cefic, European Roundtable of Industrialists, Heineken, Hewlett Packard, Interbrew (now ABInbev), International Centre for Alcohol Policies, Levi Strauss, Nigerian Breweries, Private Investors for Africa, Sabanci Holdings, SABMiller, Shell, Toyota, Tusiad, and Unilever.
Elaine Cruikshanks has over 27 years of agency experience with Hill & Knowlton (H&K) and now with Acumen. She grew H&K’s Brussels office from 1994-2010 to the largest in the PA/PR arena, and in addition had the role of global public affairs director. Assignments have ranged across various sectors with a focus on public affairs and communications, healthcare, food, consumer, trade, ICT, environmental issues and energy. Her background is public affairs (having worked for the UK Foreign Office). Elaine has worked with a range of blue chip companies as well as trade associations, ad hoc coalitions, governments, NGOs and international institutions. Over the years, she has run Brussels, EU- wide and international campaigns for a range of clients. Past and current clients include: AstraZeneca, ABPI, NICE, Baxter, Boots, Bristol Myers Squibb, Coca-Cola, Daikin, Debswana/DeBeers, European Breakfast Cereal Association (CEEREAL), European Liver Patients Association (ELPA) European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Associations (EFPIA), European Natural Soya Association (ENSA), European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Global Fund, government of Turkey, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Lundbeck, LEO Pharma, Merial, Merck, Sharpe & Dohme (MSD), Mitsubishi, Novartis, Procter & Gamble (P&G), Roche, Rosneft, Stop TB, Syngenta and Wrigley’s.
Giles Keane has ten years’ experience in EU public affairs consultancy. Prior to joining acumen public affairs as a founding partner, he was a Director at Hill & Knowlton in Brussels. His first role in Brussels was as a trainee in the External Relations Director General of the European Commission. Giles’ strength lies in his ability to combine traditional public affairs with other communications disciplines to provide integrated communications counsel to his clients. He has worked across numerous sectors and policy areas including food & agriculture, environment & energy, healthcare and international trade.
Current and recent clients of Giles since the creation of Acumen include Cargill Europe, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, Heineken, LEO Pharma, PlasticsEurope, Procter & Gamble and Syngenta. Previous clients of relevance include the British Poultry Council and US national renderers association for whom he monitored and advised on EU veterinary legislation, the European Sugar Manufacturers Association, Kellogg’s, and the European Whey Producers Association. Giles is an Irish national and in addition to his native English, he speaks fluent French and Spanish, as well as conversational Italian.
Anitra Sprauten is an Account Manager. She works on public affairs and communications projects for clients in the fields of healthcare, trade, global development, education and culture and intellectual property and copyright. She has experience in advocacy and communications strategies, media relations, policy research, workshop facilitation, events management and campaigning. Prior to joining Acumen, Anitra worked on global health programmes in neglected tropical diseases and maternal and child health for Helen Keller International in Tanzania and Sierra Leone. Her active and recent clients at Acumen include DuPont, Eli Lilly & Company, European Cooperative for Rural Development (EUCORD), European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG), Fight the Fakes Campaign, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), MSD, Novartis, Public Libraries 2020 and Sanofi Diabetes.
Ana-Maria Nia is an Account Manager. She works on public affairs and communications for clients in the fields of public and global health, animal health, environment and chemical policy. She is involved in policy research and analysis, strategy development and advocacy, but also communication activities such as drafting press releases and blogs, or developing social media strategies for clients around policy milestones or disease awareness campaigns. Some of her recent clients at Acumen include Merial, the European Council of Optometry and Optics (ECOO), Eli Lilly & Company, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), Sandoz, Shire, Outokumpu, Mitsubishi Electric. Prior to joining acumen, Ana-Maria worked for FleishmanHillard Paris, as well as with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania and the European Institute of Romania, where she helped national experts provide input to the Romanian Government on several key European policy areas. Ana-Maria holds a Master’s degree in European Affairs from Sciences Po Paris, and is fluent in Romanian, French, English, and Greek.
George Niland is an Account Manager. He joined the Acumen team in April 2016, having previously worked as a Policy Advisor for EUROCITIES, the network of major cities in Europe, where he focused on issues such as smart cities, open data, innovation policy and cyber security. Prior to this he worked for a public affairs consultancy as a policy officer for EDiMA, the European Digital Media Association. Through this work George acquired in depth knowledge on issues such as intellectual property rights, online platforms, e-commerce and copyright. He holds a Master’s degree in Economics from University College Dublin. In addition to his native English George speaks Italian. At Acumen George provides policy and strategic communication advice to clients.
Nikos Manaras joined acumen public affairs on January 9th 2017 as Account Manager, where he mostly works with the agency’s healthcare clients. He has 8 years’ experience in public policy, EU public affairs and communications as well as an in-depth knowledge of health policy. Prior to joining acumen public affairs, he worked at the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) as the Senior EU Affairs and Media Coordinator, where he set up the EU Affairs and Media department and provided strategic advice on public awareness campaigns, public policy issues, media and communication strategies and the organisation’s interactions with the EU institutions. While at EADV, he set up and managed a number of partnerships on key policy issues (occupational skin cancer, the risks of sunbeds, psoriasis) with other non-profit stakeholders, pharmaceutical companies and other medical associations. Nikos has worked with key EU health journalists and media outlets pitching stories, providing comments, op-eds and articles. Prior to coming to Brussels, Nikos worked in academia for six years as a researcher and lecturer on negotiation techniques and policy coordination. In addition, he was a campaign manager for an election campaign in Greece and an external consultant specializing on EU social policy issues. Nikos is a native Greek speaker, is fluent in English and an intermediate level French speaker.
Maëlle Quintart is the acumen public affairs office manager. She has over 10 years administrative experience in the EU, Trade Association and Consultancy world. Prior to joining acumen public affairs as Office Manager in 2011, Maëlle was New Business and Marketing coordinator at Hill & Knowlton Brussels, where she had started as personal assistant to Elaine Cruikshanks. At Acumen, Maëlle is in charge of the day-to-day running of the office (accounting, HR, travel organisation, website, suppliers, translations…) and provides client support where her skills are needed. Maëlle is a native French speaker and holds a translation degree in English and Spanish.
Fabienne Zwagemakers is a consultant. Since joining Acumen she has been responsible for monitoring, stakeholder mapping, EU health policy research, drafting content as well as supporting press relations, social media and event support. Fabienne supports a number of Acumen’s public affairs and communications for healthcare clients, including MSD and Novartis. She joined the Acumen team after completing traineeships at the European Commission and the United Nations Development Programme. She is fluent in Dutch, English, French, Italian and German. She holds a PhD Degree in Political Science.
Alexander King is a Consultant. Alexander graduated from the London School of Economics Government department, where he specialised in European politics. He has previously worked at the central office of a political party in the UK, including during the 2015 General Election. Alexander also has experience handling brand social media and working on a tech startup. Since joining Acumen he has provided support for a number of Acumen clients, especially in the field of healthcare. He is fluent in English and proficient in Spanish.
Sophie Bartlett is a Consultant at acumen. Sophie graduated from the University of Exeter with a degree in modern languages and completed a traineeship at the European Commission. She also has experience working in EU food policy and social media. Since joining Acumen, Sophie has helped support several clients in healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Sophie is a native English speaker and she is fluent in French and Spanish.
Alberto Manzi is a Trainee. After completing his studies at King’s College London and Sciences Po Paris, Alberto undertook traineeships at the European Commission’s DG COMM and tech company Liberty Global. He has developed substantial knowledge of Digital Single Market issues, in particular audio-visual, copyright and telecoms, and supports the team’s monitoring and communication strategies. He is fluent in English, French, Italian and Spanish.
The acumen public affairs team members all have a background in managing complex international assignments in senior positions in large agencies. At Acumen we bring the benefits of this experience to working in close partnership with our clients.
We are all public affairs experts – but in the broadest sense. We are just as comfortable interacting with decision-makers, communicating to the press and developing integrated communications strategies. Similarly, while we are Brussels-based EU experts, we are equally at home in other major policy-making and business centres around the world. Our philosophy is to act as “sparring partners” to our clients and be responsive but also challenging when appropriate. We excel in providing objective, no-nonsense advice that leads to tangible and sustainable results. Most of all we love to roll up our sleeves, get to grips with issues and provide hands-on support.
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