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Who We Are

We are utterly curious about the world.

We are fiercely protective of our clients.​

We know one size does not fit all so we tailor the right people to the situation at hand.

Justin McLaren

Justin is actively involved in each of our assignments and provides counsel primarily at Board and Chief Executive level.  


His clients span multiple sectors but are united in needing to address changing competitive and cultural landscapes and the shifting expectations of their customers and employees. Justin works with clients on all aspects of their strategy.


Justin founded 8hwe in 2002 after a career in the Cabinet Office where he served as Private Secretary to three government ministers and worked across a variety of domestic policy areas.


Born and educated in Scotland, Justin read PPE at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, and has an MBA (distn) from Imperial College Management School, London.


He is Chair of the charity Missing People and a Trustee of the National Holocaust Centre, the UK’s leading educational charity for combatting anti-Semitism.

Michelle Hakim

Michelle founded 8hwe with Justin after graduating from the University of Bristol with a Politics degree. 


She advises clients on promoting and protecting their reputations and ensuring their positioning is relevant, resonant and consistent.

Anna Lemer

Anna joined 8hwe in 2006 and became a Director in 2014.  She works with clients in both mainstream and SEND education as well as those in the sport, faith and third sectors.
Her analytical and forensic approach to language has redefined the way our company carries out and implements successful message development.
Anna has a degree in English from Bristol University.

Saoirse Brennan

Saoirse joined 8hwe in 2014 and has been a director since 2019. She works across many of our clients on a range of complex issues, including on campaign development, stakeholder and media relations, public affairs and crisis communications.

She has a joint honours degree in English and Latin from the University of Leeds.

Nicole McKechnie

Nicole works across a variety of sectors, including technology, sport and health, helping to shape our clients' messaging and advising on their reputational issues. 

Nicole joined the team in 2018 having read History at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford.  She was appointed a Director in 2023.

Matylda Bond

Matylda supports our work in education, health and science providing crucial research and helping to build our clients’ profiles across a range of channels.

She joined 8hwe in 2022 and has a degree in French from the University of Oxford.

Coco Amor

Coco joined 8hwe in 2023 after graduating from the University of York with a degree in History. 

She works across our portfolio of clients and conducts desktop research and analysis which form the backbone of our clients’ communications strategies.

Abigail Tegene

Abigail joined 8hwe in 2023 and supports our work in areas such as education, science and transport.

She has a joint honours degree in German and Russian from the University of Oxford.

Maggie O'Boyle

Maggie provides high level communications strategy, media handling and reputation management advice to Board-level clients across the public, political and third sector.


Her career includes seven years working in Whitehall as a government communications advisor.

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