Etienne Bataillé is a Senior Account Executive who delivers communications and media relations work for clients across the legal, financial and built-environment sectors. We continue our September focus on our London team members with this conversation, to learn a little about Etienne's interest in PR, his favorite things, and what he hopes to do in the future.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Toulouse in the south of France and came to the UK at the age of three, leaving me with a mixed identity and two great languages to speak! Having grown up near Reading, I then graduated from the University of Nottingham with a history degree and from the London School of Economics with a master’s in European politics. My main passions in life are -– for better or for worse –- sports (particularly football, specifically Arsenal), politics and cinema.
How did you first become interested in PR?
My passions for politics and communication naturally evolved into an interest in PR, but my intrigue flourished when I was studying at the LSE and co-founded an organization called the 1989 Generation Initiative.
The Initiative was a network and thinktank that aimed to get young people’s views on Europe into the open and influence European political debate. My role was that of PR and social media officer, so I had to quickly get a handle on PR to publicize the Initiative among media targets as well as universities, trade unions, professional organisations and various other societies and associations.
It wasn’t professional work, and it was very much a case of learning by trial and error, but it was a great experience. Within a few months we recruited hundreds of members and were able to organise a successful conference on EU policy with plenty of delegates, experts and media in attendance.
What book are you currently reading and why?
I recently finished Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, which was fantastic. Whilst I didn’t agree with everything in the book, it was a compelling read that serves as a reminder of where we all came from and of the forces that have shaped human history.
I also recently read Adults in the Room: My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment by Yanis Varoufakis -– an account of Syriza’s rise to power in Greece and Varoufakis’ futile attempts as Finance Minister to renegotiate Greece’s debt with other European finance ministers, the IMF and the ECB. Ever since I studied under Professor Paul De Grauwe at the LSE, I have been fascinated by the idea of reforming the euro, a uniquely inflexible major currency with constraining ordoliberal rules inscribed in the treaties that govern it. This has resulted in a poorly functioning monetary union which has reduced growth, encouraged austerity and resulted in the impoverishment of the Greek people.
What is your favorite food?
Where to begin? I love crepes. There’s nothing like a proper ham and cheese crepe.
I also really love raclette, an Alpine dish that is essentially cheese that’s melted and then scraped atop of things like potatoes and ham.
Come to think of it, I’m detecting a significant cheese and ham trend in my answers to this question!
What’s on your bucket list?
I would like to write a book, perhaps a social realist fiction in the style of Emile Zola on modern-day living, or a book on modern history. I studied history at university and I’m still really into it so perhaps a nonfiction book about the big events of modern history -- revolutions, wars, moments of rapid change for humanity. At university I studied events like the French Revolution, the Paris Commune, the Russian Revolution and the Second World War, which were just fascinating.
I love traveling and I’d like to see more of the world. It would be incredible to motorbike around South America. I’m not sure where this particular item on the list comes from because I’ve never motorbiked before, but the good thing about bucket lists is that they don’t necessarily need to make sense.
I’d also like to run a marathon. I have done a couple of half-marathons and I think I’m ready for the challenge of a full one. Then, one day I would like to do an ultramarathon ...
... Which is, to your point about bucket lists, not necessarily making sense. Kidding! What else?
I have written poetry in the past so having my poetry published one day would be pretty cool. Poetry is cathartic -- putting emotions into words helps you let go of them.
There are lots of other things I could put on the bucket list: climbing Mont Blanc, learning to surf, becoming an Arsenal season-ticket holder.
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