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Wunderkinds 2020

Tom Hunt, 29

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Photo courtesy of Tom Hunt

Senior Manager of External Communications
Heineken USA

“It’s PR, not the ER” is a well-known saying used to lower anxiety levels in the high-stress world of corporate communications. The phrase has special meaning for Tom Hunt, who actually worked as an operating-room technician in Australia, before later joining Heineken USA in White Plains, where he is now senior manager of external communications. The experience of working in a situation where someone’s life was truly on the line now helps him remain calm “in high pressure situations and use empathy to relate to and understand people.”

That said, the London-born Hunt takes his career very seriously. Promoted during his first year with the company, Hunt says his job requires “a real passion for connecting with people, forging relationships, and identifying what sort of messages are going to resonate.”

Thinking differently is what is needed to help Heineken brands stand out in the competitive American beer market, Hunt adds. For example, he and his team came up with a plan to spark conversation about Heineken 0.0, the company’s new alcohol-free beer. His office sent the brew to all the journalists they knew who were working during the Super Bowl, enabling them to “enjoy a beer while watching football and still stay focused,” he explains. The strategy generated publicity at a much lower cost than traditional Super Bowl advertising, Hunt points out. “It’s ideas such as this that help us stand out.”

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