Stratagem reports growth, new hires, and appointment of new Deputy Director

02 November 2021 - by Anna Mercer

Northern Ireland’s leading public affairs agency, Stratagem, is reporting significant growth, new hires and promotions. The team, headed by Grainne Walsh, who became Director in 2019, has bounced back from the challenge of the pandemic to a position of growth and expansion.

Four new hires this year have strengthened the team. They are:

• Cris Cloyd, previously worked in government relations within the criminal
justice sector, following a career in US politics
• Roisin Burns, former consultant to a leading global consultancy
• Terence McKernan, with a background in communications within the charity
• Danielle Winters, previously worked in the financial services sector as well as
academic research on border issues and Brexit

In a further significant change at the agency, Anna Mercer has been appointed to the new role of Deputy Director, supporting the leadership and management of the agency as well as offering strategic advice to clients.

Prior to joining Stratagem in 2015, Anna worked for two MLAs as well as leading Communications for an Arm’s Length Body. At Stratagem, Mercer has worked across several high-profile accounts, as well as contributing ideas to institutional and policy reform in forums including the Magill Summer School, the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, and the Institute of Welsh Affairs.

Grainne Walsh said:

“It has been both a challenging and exciting time at Stratagem since we became part of the UK-wide Connect Group in July 2019. The changes created significant momentum, including the re-establishment of the Assembly and resolution of Brexit talks, until this collided with the impact of a global pandemic on our clients and the NI economy.

“ We have enjoyed a year of sustained growth thanks to new client wins and investment from our parent company, the Connect Group, extending our market-leading position in Northern Ireland. I am delighted we have been able to make significant new and experienced hires to strengthen the team and to appoint Anna Mercer as Deputy Director.”

Anna Mercer said:

“Stratagem, and the wider Connect Group, are well placed to support clients in their political engagement, whether that be for global brands, local charities or voluntary organisations, and I am delighted to join the leadership team to grow this offering further.”

Andy Sawford, Managing Partner of Stratagem’s parent company, Connect Group, said:

“The Connect Group is one of the fastest-growing independently-owned public affairs agencies in the UK, and our Belfast team plays a key role in driving growth in the business.

“I am pleased to announce growth in our Belfast office and the new additions to our team, which will ensure Stratagem continues to play a leading role in public affairs in Northern Ireland.”

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