Planning trips, devouring books, going out for a good meal, enjoying family time, taking a walk, or doing some serious selfcare: there is always something in the agenda of PR Director Elke De Ridder. At work, too, she likes to have lots of things going on. “I am a mum, a friend, and a manager. But above all, I am Elke. I like to be myself.” Together with Kristof and Laurens, she is the head of Favorite! and All Colors of Communication. “Whether I am born as an entrepreneur? Absolutely not! But some opportunities you just have to seize.”
The local library in Opdorp is one of Elke’s favorite places. Every weekend she is there looking for the next page-turner. She feels at home there and even gets personal tips from the librarian. “Give me a thriller, a blanket and a chair, and I’m good. No e-reader, though, but a paper book. That’s my way to escape from the screen.”
Her passion for thrillers is not accidental. “As a student, I hesitated for a long time between a career in communication or criminology. Making links, looking for answers, finding the missing pieces of the puzzle … It intrigues me.” In the end, she chose communication and does not regret that. “Communication is also detective work: looking for the elements that make a story as strong as possible. I save the real crime for my books.”
After her studies, Elke started working as a PR intern in Brussels. Back then, she still sent press releases by fax and carried big bags with direct mailings to the post office. After her internship, she landed a job as a PR consultant, a field she still enjoys 20 years later.
“Fortunately, the world of PR has also changed. For example, at All Colors of Communication about 10 years ago you had a separate marketing and PR team. Small but nice teams, separated by a sliding door. In the meantime, those teams have expanded seriously and we have a lot of new knowledge and expertise to offer the most powerful communication mix.” But no matter how many specializations are added, Elke believes the world will never be able to do without classic PR.
“Why? Because image and perception are timeless. And media are the ideal way to build that image. Our relationship with the press will always be crucial in building that image. What’s more, I have always put the relationship with journalists above my relationship with clients. I really believe that you can make a difference with PR.”
The takeover felt like a logical next step. Especially since we were taking over the ship with three captains.
Six years ago, Elke made the unexpected leap from consultant to management. “I hesitated until the last moment. But I soon had to admit that nothing was going to stop me.” The takeover followed two years later. In July 2022, Elke will have been at the helm of Favorite! and All Colors of Communication for 4 years.
“The takeover felt like a logical next step. Especially since we were taking over the ship with three captains.” Kristof, Laurens and Elke are a match made in heaven. They continuously complement each other. Kristof, for example, takes on the sales side of the business, while Laurens focuses on his role as marketing director, and Elke on that of PR director.
“I consider myself a prompter and prefer to see someone else on the stage. I feel much better in that role. Let me support you with advice.” When we ask her if she is still happy with her captain’s hat, the answer is obvious: “During a teambuilding, I sometimes sit on the side and watch the dynamics in the team from a distance. Then I am as proud as a peacock.”
Managing from an ivory tower is not Elke’s way of doing things. “It is important for us to reach out, keep in touch with the people at work, and step in where necessary. That way we stay involved and help to create a warm atmosphere.” The strong bond between colleagues is demonstrated by, among other things, personalized Spotify playlists for compliments day and New Year’s letters. “Once, colleagues wrote a New Year’s letter for us. I had to swallow and wipe away a tear. I will always keep that letter. Such things I cherish with all my heart.”
Interested in joining the All Colors of Communication team? Then check out our job openings!