So I start 2017 without my Chartered Institute of Public Relations board and council responsibilities, after four and nine year’s service, respectively, it was the right time to move on and try other things. I’ve added the years together and here are 13 thoughts.
It’s important to remember your roots. Thank you to everyone on the CIPR SW committee who supported me over the years, especially to Sylvie, Lis, Liz, Meryl, Lyanna, Will, Chelle, Gemma, Pam, Julie, Olivia, Jim and Ellie and our much missed colleague Mark Clare. I brought my mum’s scones and my homemade jam to my last CIPR National Council meeting, it seemed the right thing to do!
Keep a small, strong trusted team. For me, it was the trusted circle of the Godsisters, my fab husband and a few other friends, mainly outside of PR. They liberally applied the reality check, the b*llsh*t monitor, the circle of protection and the kick up the ass. All tried and tested techniques, you know.
Say yes. When Stephen Waddington suggested I might stand for President, I said no. Then I said yes. Then I doubted my answer. But I am so pleased I did it. So, following in the footsteps of Emma Freud’s 12 months in NYC, I am trying to say yes to almost every new experience and invite. So far so good. It’s not about overstretching myself, it’s about embracing new experiences and meeting new people.
Learn how to read, understand and question the figures. Being on a board and not being able to have an articulate discussion about the budget is a disaster. It’s an embarrassing joke that PR people can;t do the numbers. Make it an obsolete one.
Stand up for what you believe in. For me this was ethics, equality and professionalism. As President we called out bad practice – publically, introduced a compulsory ethics model and changed Chartership. I’m also so hugely proud of my colleagues up and down the country who do this every day of every week, not willing to compromise on their professional standards.
Your bad day, is someone else’s walk in the park. The PR world can be one very loud echo chamber. Get out and realise that no one has died, the chances are that somewhere not far from you, someone will be trying to come to terms with that as their devastating reality.
Volunteering is brilliant, and so are most volunteers. Getting out and about in the three years I was an elected officer on the CIPR board and meeting committee members, regional and sectoral volunteers was just inspiring. I loved it. Thank you to everyone who invited me, the work going on across the UK and further afield, is fantastic. Members delivering high quality training, mentoring, networking, conferences and events. Thank you so very much.
Celebrations are great. Thank you to the Corporate and Financial Group and Fifth Estate who celebrated 40 and 25 years. It was an honour to join your events and reflect on the vital work that goes on in those two areas.
Gender. It is an embarrassment (not to mention illegal) that we pay our women less than our men in the UK – and the PR industry is right in the middle of it, up to our eyes in gender inequality and I will not rest until we have changed it. Join us.
Professor Anne Gregory. A woman I admire so very much, she has such grace, grit, gravitas and insight. She speaks the truth humbly, challenges constructively and gives generously of her time and her support. To call her a friend means a lot to me.
Mentoring. When someone asks you, think ‘why not’ – and try to make time to do it. I have been honoured to mentor some of the brightest and most exciting young women in PR and business, including Anne-Marie Lacey. Thank you for asking me.
Run, Run, Run! Running has changed my life. It has given me time just for myself, I’ve gained confidence in my body that I have never had, met some other amazing women who are fitting in their runs around busy days. Give it a go. Blimey if I can, anyone can.
What’s next? I’ve been asked to be a trustee, a school governor and the great political question will get an answer in 2017. I remain involved in the CIPR though the Fellows’ Forum and my continuing work on the gender issues. And I have a growing business to focus on – and the small matter of a very important home team.