Photo of Ellie MacDonald

Ellie MacDonald

Ellie MacDonald is the founder and managing director of Leeds-based start-up PR agency, MacComms. She was nominated by her team members Emily and Jen, who say: “Following personal experience, having previously worked for people that would not be described as the ‘ideal employer’, Ellie set out to create a business that upholds values, treating employees with respect and recognising their hard work and achievements.

Ellie’s mission, rooted in the reason she formed the business and prevalent in every decision she makes in business to date is ‘to create a business based on treating people right.’

MacComms is a new generation of PR agency with a firm focus on fun, flexibility and friendliness. Ellie says: “My greatest motivator for setting up my own business was to become an employer that gives back. At the very core of MacComms lies a business that is focussed on values.”

Who has it helped/who will it help?

Ellie says: “With a 90% female workforce, one of my greatest aims as a female employer is to empower young women to be more confident and ambitious. I recently spoke to an audience at The University of Huddersfield on this topic, in the hope of inspiring young women to believe in themselves and excel.

With a clear focus on giving back to the community, we recently launched our CSR initiative which the team will undertake for one charity day every six months, by each team member supporting a charity of their choice. Most recently, our account executive, Emily, assisted Leeds based young women’s organisation, Getaway Girls, with their crowdfunding campaign.

I am involved with charities such as Simon on the Streets, who provide support for homeless people. Helping to raise the profile allows the charity to have a wider reach, which in turn leads to fundraising opportunities and donations.

Alongside three other entrepreneurs, based in the NatWest Entrepreneurial Spark Leeds hub, I also attended, and raised more than £1000 for the Leeds ‘sleep out’ fundraiser this September to show support and solidarity to the homeless people. We collectively helped to raise more than £15,000. As a result, we were presented with the ‘Community Values’ award at the hub’s ‘Celebrate Success’ event for our efforts with the sleep out.”

What’s worked?

Ellie says “My passion and commitment to empowering women has and continues to help women thrive in their particular industry. Whether it be by creating jobs at the company itself or supporting clients with PR requirements, such as Sally Benson, founder of Dignity Wear, Sarah Agar-Brennan, founder of Love Bomb Cushions, Abbie Neilson, co-founder of Cooper King Distillery and Lucie Mountain, founder of Crepe Lucette, alongside some men in business too.

Providing a happy, fun and flexible work place leads to the MacComms team’s greater job satisfaction and hard work. This has seen the company grow by 140% in its second year. MacComms has developed a strong reputation, achieved quickly following our willingness to give back.

MacComms has also attracted top talent by engaging with educational institutions, by sharing my entrepreneurial journey with students to inspire and train the next generation of PR professionals.”

What have you learnt? Any challenges?

“Throughout my journey with MacComms, I have learnt that it is essential to collaborate and seek support if you need to. It is also just as important to offer to support others as much as you receive it.”

What’s next?

“My plan for the future is to continue to give back, inspire and support other businesses, women in business and young females. I am keen to share my story with as many aspiring entrepreneurs as possible in order to say, I’ve done it, why can’t you? If hearing my journey inspires even one person to make the leap and start their own business then I will be happy.

I have recently been named as a community partner at NatWest Entrepreneurial Spark Leeds. The partnership will see MacComms providing fellow start-ups and businesses with mentoring opportunities, guidance and support. I want to be able to give back to fellow entrepreneurs and start-ups in the hub and becoming a community partner will allow me to do so.”

Why we’re sharing these stories

An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in our region!

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