A podcast only about Public Affairs

The Persuaders is a podcast about Public Affairs. In the podcast we will dive in to how Public Affairs professionals solve their daily challenges. Their trials and tribulations. Their tips and tricks. The guests will come from many different types of companies and organizations across the world. The host of the podcast is Anders Kopp Jensen and the podcast was launched in January 2021 and has so far recorded two seasons. Since then the audience has grown substantially, which is why there will be a season three. Season three will be recorded in the beginning of 2023.


If you are interested in participating as a guest on the podcast, reach out via LinkedIn or Twitter.


Below you will find each episode, but you can also find them on Apple Podcast or Spotify. Thanks for tuning in!

PhD Alan Hardacre – the internal side of Public Affairs

This time Alan Hardacre swings by the studio and shares his perspectives on the state of Public Affairs as well as the importance of the internal side of Public Affairs.

Alan has a PhD in international relations from the Loughborough University. Alan has many years of experience both in public administration as well as on the corporate side. He has been practising, teaching and writing on advocacy and Public Affairs for over 20 years. Among other publications, Alan has authored the book “How the EU Institutions Work and… How to Work with the EU Institutions”.

In this episode we cover:

  • How to build a high-performing Public Affairs function, and how not to!
  • Why Public Affairs in the EU is behind the US
  • Why EU companies see Public Affairs as a risk-managing function & why that is problematic
  • The importance of getting buy-in from senior leadership
  • How to avoid being isolated as a Public Affairs proffesional, e.g. if you are based in Brussels
  • And one of my favorite topics: the importance of taking the internal side of Public Affairs just as serious as the external side

All this in just 30 minutes!

This episode was produced by Sidsel Nørgaard & sponsored by Ulobby.

Listen to podcast here

PhD Marko Kovic – Digital Astroturfing

In this episode 4 in season 2 of the Persuaders Podcast we talk to Marko Kovic. Marko has a PhD in communication and media studies from the University of Zurich. He is now a researcher, author and podcaster. Marko co-authored the paper “Digital astroturfing in politics: Definition, typology, and countermeasures”, which is the basis of our conversation.

In the episode we cover:

  • What is digital astroturfing
  • How common is this phenomenon
  • How is it performed – by governments, IO’s and corporations
  • What it does to our brains

We also talk about misinformation, fake news and conspiracy theories and what causes them to go viral. And finally we talk about psy-ops & disinformation e.g. in wars like in Ukraine.

All this in just 30 minutes.
The episode is sponsored by Ulobby, software for Public Affairs.

Listen to podcast here

Mark Dober – Dober Partners & Best in Brussels

In this episode I talk to Mark Dober, Managing Director of Dober Partners and also the man behind Best in Brussels.

The Public Affairs job market is on fire at the moment. The demand for skilled Public Affairs pros is by far exceeding the supply. The COVID-19 pandemic has played a big role as a catalyst for this, but also as Public Affairs is no longer just considered a defensive discipline – it has become a business enabler.

Mark unfolds these new tendencies and also talks about which skills are in demand currently. He also spills the beans on what he is currently looking most for when recruiting for clients. Specially one skill in particular stands out!

We also talk about the wage growth in our industry, which Mark finds unprecedented – and he reveals the current wage levels.

Listen to podcast here

PhD Maiken Røed – When do political parties listen to interest groups?

Episode 2, season 2 of the Persuaders Podcast – with PhD Maiken Røed.

This time we talk to Maiken Røed, who recently defended her PhD thesis, at the department of political science at Lund University. In her research Maiken primarily focuses on interest groups, political parties as well as the EU. In this episode we discuss when political parties listen to interest groups – in the light of Maikens recent paper “When do political parties listen to interest groups?” – published in January 2022.

In our discussion Maiken – among other questions – answers:

  • Which type of parties copy from proposals from interest groups?
  • What does media attention mean for how much political parties copy?
  • Do political parties change how much they copy and adopt up to elections? And what is the difference between incumbents and opposition parties?
  • What does the political system mean for adopting proposals from interest groups?
  • If you are an interest group is it then better to stand alone or find alliances in terms of increasing your chances of party adoption?

Answers to all these questions in just 30 minutes!

This episode is sponsored by Ulobby, the leading SaaS-platform for Public Affairs professionals in the Nordics.

The episode was produced by Sidsel Nørgaard.

Listen to podcast here

Trends in Public Affairs 2022 – Anders Kopp Jensen

The Persuaders podcast is back with season 2!
We kick of this second season with a special episode about trends in Public Affairs.

At the beginning of each year Anders Kopp Jensen shares his thoughts about trends in Public Affairs, but this year he shares them on the podcast.

Ulobby Public Affairs Director, Sosun Sendi, takes on the role of guest host for this episode and interview Anders about:

  • Why he believes the way the Public Affairs function is structured can be more important than hiring “hot names” for the PA team
  • Why understanding the environment that the organization is in and what drives it can be more important than a large network
  • Why PA professionals are suited to take charge of and drive sustainability efforts in organizations, as well as which skills will be in demand when recruiting PA professionals the coming years

All this in rougly 30 minutes.

This episode is sponsored by Ulobby, the leading SaaS-platform for Public Affairs professionals in the Nordics.

Listen to podcast here

Sara Carrer

The last 2021-episode of the Persuaders podcast is now out!

My guest on this episode is Sara Carrer. Sara has an impressive career with more than 13 years of experience from the consultancy side before joining the UN World Food Program in 2021 as a Chief Political Officer.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How you handle the switch from the consultancy side to working for the biggest humanitarian organization in the world
  • How Sara is driven by purpose and how the pandemic and an educational course about happiness and fulfillment influenced Sara to think about her own life and career
  • Why Sara enjoys teaching in political communication and why it is pivotal for people working in/with policy, Public Affairs or engagement to communicate with emotions – and data!

All this and much more in just 30 minutes!

Listen to podcast here

Too Good To Go – Christophe Diercxsens

In the 10. episode of the Persuaders podcast my guest is Christophe Diercxsens who works for Too Good To Go as a Global Public Affairs Manager. Christophe has 10 years experience from the consultancy side before joining Too Good To Go in 2019.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How you handle the switch from the consultancy side to working in-house, including the differences, challenges and pressure.
  • How Too Good To Go wants to create a paradigm shift to address food waste – and how you actually approach that from Public Affairs perspective.
  • How you handle working at a rapidly growing company – operational in 16 countries with almost 1400 employees – from a co-working space in Brussels when HQ is based in Copenhagen.

All this and much more in just 30 minutes!

Listen to podcast here

Goodyear – Troy Scully

My guest on this episode is Troy Scully. Troy is an American living in Brussels and has worked in different senior communication and marketing roles at Lockheed Martin for more than a decade before joining Goodyear in 2016, first as a communications director and now Vice President for Communications & Public Affairs in the EMEA region.

In this episode we had a great conversation about many aspects of Public Affairs, but in particular we wanted to discuss the organizational aspects of Public Affairs.

During our conversation we discuss:

  • The placement of the PA function – how it should (ideally) work together with the rest of the organization and the implications you might experience if you place it in the legal team, the R&D team, the communications departments etc.
  • The importance of aligning the inside and outside of the organization and how PA pros can deliver this “glue” by providing context to the rest of the organization – a great description by Troy as it also points to where and how PA pros can differentiate themselves as well as create and show their value internally.
  • And finally we cover how to measure progress and Troy shares a great project management method which can be used by PA pros – it includes creating “contracts” with your internal stakeholders…

All this in just 30 minutes!

Listen to podcast here

Ernst & Young – Andrew Hobbs

This time we are joined by Andrew Hobbs, Partner & Public Policy Leader at Ernst & Young for Europe, Middle East, India and Africa. And this episode we talk about stakeholder capitalism.

Stakeholder capitalism is not a new term, but the term is evolving and is in some ways also being re-defined. As we discuss in this episode, stakeholder capitalism includes focus on creating long-term value not only for shareholders but also for customers, suppliers, employees, communities etc. We talk about why this is important and maybe even necessary to avoid or minimize the damages if you get into trouble as a company and how it can help you in war-time.

Andrew shares his views on what E&Y has learned and how they approach stakeholder capitalism. And he gives a few pieces of advice for Public Affairs professionals and how you gain trust internally and externally and finally how you get leaders involved in the PA work (including stakeholder capitalism).

Listen to podcast here

Mavence – Anna Koj

In this episode I had the pleasure of talking to Anna Koj, Managing Director for Mavence in Brussels. Mavence is an international recruitment firm at the crossroads of Public Affairs and people management.

In this episode we get the headhunters perspective on the state of Public Affairs and how 1) the demand for PA pros is increasing and many are currently being approached, especially from consultancies, 2) due to COVID-19 some PA pros in Brussels have moved back to their home countries and now want to stay there, 3) COVID-19 has changed some of the skills in demand – maybe for the better, with a bit more openness to diversity.

Finally, we also talk about one of my favorite topics: how PA pros are working closer to the C-suite and what this requires from the modern PA pro.

Listen to podcast here

Eurelectric – Kristian Ruby

The sixth episode of the Persuaders podcast is now out!

This time I had the pleasure of talking to Kristian Ruby, secretary general for Eurelectric.

Kristian has a background from journalism, he has worked as a speechwriter, as an assistant to former commissioner for climate action, Connie Hedegaard, he has worked as a public affairs advisor and as chief policy officer for windeurope – and is now the secretary general for Eurelectric.

Eurelectric represent 3500 companies in the value chain of electricity, and in this episode, Kristian shares his views on:

  • How to prioritize issues and formulate a common vision of this industry
  • How to handle competing interests
  • How he sees Public Affairs as a driver for important societal agendas & change

Finally, Kristian shares his perspectives on how they deal with the concept of green-washing, the importance of telling good stories which change behaviour, and how Kristian saw that COVID-19 brought out some climate sceptics – and how they countered and tried to make the pandemic a launch pad for green change.

Listen to podcast here

Philip Morris – Yiannis Korkovelos

In the fifth episode of the Persuaders podcast we fly to Brussels and talk to Yiannis Korkovelos, EU Government Affairs Manager at Philip Morris.

Yiannis is a seasoned PA pro with experience from Singapore, Paris, London and Brussels. In this episode Yiannis shares some perspectives from his own world: how PMI is going through massive changes as they are working towards a smoke-free world and why and how they are working with ESG and sustainability.

Yiannis also shares some insights on working in an – for some – controversial area, the increased expectations from stakeholders which come with the turf, and the importance of working with data and facts.

And finally Yiannis shares his views on why PA should come closer to the CEO and how a PA pro in 2021 should be ready to communicate quickly with the outside world and have a consumer-centric approach.

Listen to podcast here

Professor Anne Rasmussen

The fourth episode of the Persuaders podcast is out! This time we jump into the world of academia and talk to Anne Rasmussen, professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen.

We discuss the revolving doors phenomenon in Public Affairs: politicians and civil servants moving into the private sector and we get Annes view on if this is a widespread problem. We talk about if interest groups / NGOs get any advantages by hiring former commissioners or top civil servants. And we get an interesting answer to whether they are recruited more from right-wing parties or left-wing. We also discuss if a cooling period should be implemented as well as the positive experiences with the transparency register.

We talk about Corona-washing, a new phenomenon in Public Affairs in 2020, as well as if companies can actually drive the trend with more transparency?

And finally Anne provides some interesting insights from her research in the filed of digital advocacy.

Listen to podcast here

World Nuclear Association – John Lindberg

The fourth episode of the Persuaders podcast is now available. This time my guest is John Lindberg, Public Affairs Manager at the World Nuclear Association.
In this episode John shares his perspective about his shift from parliament to Public Affairs, how he is working to make the debate about nuclear energy more nuanced, but also how the organization and players in the industry can be more proactive and human. John also shares some insights on how they reacted when HBO launched the hit series Chernobyl.

Listen to podcast here

IKEA – Ann-Nina Finne

The guest this time is Ann-Nina Finne. Ann-Nina is a Global Public Affairs Leader at IKEA Group.

In this episode Ann-Nina shares some great insights on how Public Affairs can work together with communications, learnings from the pandemic as well as perspectives on how Public Affairs can prove its value via strategic foresight and planning for the future.

Ann-Nina also provides very concrete tips on how you can make Public Affairs more valuable in your organization, drawing from her background from journalism, communications, government administration and – of course – Public Affairs.

Listen to podcast here

VOI Technology – Kristian Agerbo

In the first episode of the Persuaders we are joined by Kristian Agerbo who is VP of Public Policy & Market Development at the scooter company VOI Technology. We talk about Kristians experiences from Uber, how PA can support business objectives, and how VOI works with regulators and politicians. Kristian even mentions how he has implemented SCRUM in the PA team!

Listen to podcast here

Introduction to The Persuaders Podcast

In this episode I outline some of the reasons behind starting a podcast about Public Affairs. The main driver was the challenges I learned from more than 500 conversations I have had the past 5 years with Public Affairs professionals across Europe.

Listen to podcast here