Our People

Michele Hider

Director

With more than 25 years' experience in public relations and journalism, a bunch of tertiary qualifications and a national award to her name, Michele took the plunge and started Priority Communications in 2013.

Five years later, she says she is still excited when she sets out for work each day. “It’s a dream job and I love working with such a talented team.”

“We have a fantastic mix of clients with an exciting range of communications challenges. Everyday, we are thinking of the best ways for people to reach their clients, be heard through the media, and communicate better with those that matter to them.”

As well as providing public relations advice to businesses, Michele has worked as a senior advisor to local government and government agencies including the Ministry of Health, Housing New Zealand, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and Christchurch City Council. For four and a half years, she was Communications Manager for the Canterbury District Health Board – the South Island’s largest employer.

Michele has completed a Master of Management (Communication) with distinction, has international accreditation in Public Relations (APR) and is an annual participant in the PRINZ professional development programme, RIVER CPD.

She is a board member of Little Company of Mary, Christchurch which provides low-cost housing for elderly people. Priority Communications also provides pro bono public relations support to Birthright Canterbury.

To find out more about Michele and connect with her, visit Linked In


Fiona Clayton

Senior Communications Advisor

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Underpinning Fiona's approach to communications and engagement is finding a great story which sparks curiosity and a desire to know more. 

Fiona is an experienced Senior Communications and Engagement professional who has worked in the education, central and local government, tourism and heritage sectors. 

Professionally, she is happiest when there is a ‘light bulb’ moment: when complex information is made relevant and accessible, a problem is solved creatively, or a trusting relationship with stakeholders takes off. She particularly enjoys the challenge of creating information for people on the move such as video, public outreach and interpretation, and blogs.

Fiona is a foodie and easily distracted by opportunities to talk about tea, whisky, chocolate, cheese and artisan foods. She is also passionate about history as a way of people making sense of their present, so they can make better choices for their future.


John Hobbs

Communications Advisor

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John comes to us armed with plethora of skills that he isn’t afraid to use!

With a Diploma in Journalism and a National Certificate in Media and Communication, years as a reporter with Fairfax, and roles in resource and community development, he brings a wealth of experience to the Priority Comms team. 

John is an avid photographer, videographer and pop-culture follower. He has his finger on the pulse of what’s trending on social media and counts the likes of Hilary Barry and Boh Runga among his followers on Twitter. 

When he’s not coming up with great ideas in the office, he is an avid reader and carpool karaoke enthusiast. Having recently shifted back to Christchurch, you're likely to find John out and about on the weekend scoping out the new coffee and brunch spots in town.


Emily Oakley

Junior Communications Advisor

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Emily jumped on board with the Priority Communications crew at the start of 2018 as an Executive Assistant.

She graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Media and Communications and English in 2016, and a Masters in Business Management in 2018.

Now a Junior Communications Advisor, Emily provides the team with quality communications support and is an expert editor and creative go-getter.

A born and bred country girl from rural mid Canterbury, Emily enjoys a range of outdoor pursuits while relishing work in the hustle and bustle of the central city.

Away from the office, Emily enjoys jumping on the tractor at the family farm, hunting out new brunch spots in the city, or going for a hill climb up Rapaki track on Christchurch’s beautiful Port Hills