What I’ve learned as a CIPR volunteer

I’ve been a CIPR volunteer for a number of years, on the CIPR Scotland committee, Vice Chair of the committee then Chairman of the committee for two years.

I was invited by Stephen Waddington to join the CIPR Board during his term as President – I was co-opted. The year after, I was elected onto the CIPR’s Council and Board.

It’s fair to say I’ve had some great experiences.

What motivates me is the passion that PR practitioners have to be better. As more of us continue the march to professionalism, there are more opportunities to push the industry forward but we need everyone on board for this to really happen.

CPD is at the heart of it all. Better practitioners, better teams, better work, better industry!

I became Chartered over a year ago, through the new Chartered Practitioner route. I was one of the first to trial it. It was a big achievement and I was pleased to demonstrate that it is achievable. I even started the hashtag #getchartered!

As a volunteer, I was often told it was a ‘thankless task’. I have often argued you get out what you put in. Since volunteering for the CIPR I have grown my network and communities, forged great relationships with senior practitioners in the industry, been inspired to actually make stuff happen and believe that PR has the biggest opportunity of all disciplines to be at the top table.

This year, I am standing to be re-elected for CIPR Council. There seems to be great traction on social media with discussions and debates about candidates running for President and Council. This is one of the best elections I’ve experienced, with high quality candidates standing – some have already been elected for sectoral groups, unopposed.

I am not blinkered by chatter and I have my own views on Presidential candidates. The President-Elect is going to have to be strong, thick skinned, determined and move quickly. There is nothing more disheartening for a volunteer than when things become stagnant and decisions are slow to be made and slow to be acted upon.

I started #PRFest, plans were developed early last year for the inaugural festival, out of a bit of frustration but most importantly because I saw it as an opportunity to engage the PR community in Scotland.

It turns out we reached way beyond Scotland and even the UK. What this demonstrates is there is a want and need for visible and practical activity and solutions for practitioners.

We need to break down any (perceived) barriers between the CIPR, volunteers, members, and the wider industry. We need to start sharing and collaborating more.

As I mentioned in my campaign launch blog post, I am working on an exciting project for CIPR volunteers. There are an estimated 400 of us! Without the volunteers, CIPR wouldn’t be able to engage at a local level and wouldn’t be able to deliver benefits to national, regional and sectoral members. That’s why volunteers need to be valued.

I’ve learned to speak up, to do work with conviction and also to challenge CIPR colleagues when I think we should be doing something differently. I’ve also learned that working collaboratively with the Board, Council, Groups and CIPR staff, is how we can get the best out of everyone, for the good of the industry.

Thanks for reading this far. My only request is that you vote for me, using your number one or number two votes. This is important. If you don’t vote for me with your number one or two vote I may not get re-elected and I won’t be able to carry on making a difference.

Rome wasn’t built in a day but it took many people with many skills to do it!

Thanks in advance for your vote and your commitment to the CIPR.

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