Bio of Leadership

Helen Bannigan, founder and CEO of Bannigan Communications, has close to two decades of experience in the realm of international communications, public relations, diplomacy, and multi-cultural awareness. Her strength is in combining knowledge of global business protocol, cultural sensitivities, and nurturing authentic professional relationships around the world.

At the Commercial Services section of the American Embassy in Portugal, Helen assisted American firms to break into the European marketplace advising them of the subtleties of European business protocol. Helen then co-founded a telecommunications company, which became one of the first approved long distance service providers in Portugal and captured, in about 2 years, 4 million euro in annual billing revenues from the former monopoly operator. In Spain, Helen joined éclat marketing, a British PR firm specializing in telecoms and technology. As European Project Manager for éclat’s multinational accounts, Helen coordinated pan-European PR campaigns spanning a dozen European countries. For five years, Helen ran BPI, based out of Italy, overseeing international PR campaigns for such companies as Regus, AVG Grisoft, and CopperGate/Sigma Designs.

Currently based in Hong Kong, Helen oversees the lifecycle of all of Bannigan Communications clients in the US, Europe and Asia, providing counsel to clients and PR associates on effective communications strategies in local markets around the world. As a specialist in cross-cultural effectiveness, Helen helps multi-national companies and C-level executives to work efficiently across cultural and geographical borders.

Helen was one of the founding members in 1999 of GRACE, a non-profit association dedicated to heightening awareness of corporate philanthropy in Europe. She arranged worldwide pro-bono PR representation for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to help raise awareness of world hunger via their annual Walk the World event, attended by over 760,000 people in 118 countries.  Over the years, she has served on the boards of the Royal British Club of Portugal, the Professional Women’s Association of Lisbon, the American Club of Lisbon, the American Club of Rome, and as President of the Association of American Clubs. She was selected to be part of a global project to highlight American women who have assimilated into the culture of their host nations and inspired others around them along the way, Americans Beyond Borders.

In additional to her native English tongue, Helen speaks Italian, French and Portuguese, is proficient in Spanish, and is currently learning Cantonese. Helen obtained her BA in Political Science from the Catholic University of America, earning a place in the international social sciences honor society, Pi Gamma Mu.  She went on to obtain graduate degrees in Paris from l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques (International Relations), l’Institut des Hautes Etudes Internationales (International Diplomacy) and la Sorbonne (Foreign Policy Studies). Helen is an avid yoga practitioner, Vipassana meditator, gospel singer, organic gardener, and grateful mother of two young trilingual children.

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