Voting for elections to the Council of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) opens on 1 September, and I am standing for election (read my personal statement here), having been nominated by the CIPR’s Construction and Property special interest group (CAPSIG) to stand in the groups section.
The CIPR has revised its constitution to reduce the size of its Council and make decision-making more streamlined, and this election is the one intended to deliver these objectives. Currently, CIPR sectoral groups automatically get to send a representative to Council meetings; this will no longer be the case. Having been elected as CAPSIG chair in February, I set out to build bridges with other groups, both in the CIPR and more widely – a process I have continued through Council meetings, and by participating in other groups (I go to Greater London Group events, and I particularly enjoyed the STEM group’s pub quiz!).
Almost simultaneously, I joined the CIPR’s social media panel at the start of the year (helping update the CIPR’s Wikipedia guidelines, among other activities – some ongoing).
Through these activities, I have learned a lot about the work of the CIPR, and also developed a strong appreciation of the modernising changes being wrought by the current president Steve Waddington and CEO Alastair McCapra. I decided to stand for Council to:
- Maintain representation for the Construction and Property group on Council – The industry sector comprises around 8% of UK GDP, and I think its PR practitioners, mostly specialists in B2B PR, need their views represented in every key institution. I welcome the CIPR’s push to close the gender gap (an issue widely felt in other parts of the construction industry), to improve the professional reputation of PR practitioners, and to promote better links between groups, sectoral and regional.
- Improve CIPR provision for independent practitioners – Last week, I chaired a roundtable of independent PR practitioners (aka freelance PRs, or solo PRs) at CIPR’s Russell Square HQ. It is estimated such practitioners represent around 10% of PR profession, and many individuals will work on a freelance basis at some point in their careers. These “CIPRIPs” are a substantial community that aren’t currently officially supported by the CIPR, and I’m keen to see the CIPR actively support an independent PR practitioner network (ideally, extending beyond networks such as the US-based SoloPR, which I wrote about last December), helping us share ideas, find relevant associates, and grow our businesses and our standing as ethical communication professionals (I am pleased that Eva Maclaine and Lindsey Collumbell, both roundtable attendees, are also standing for election).
- Raise the professional standing of PR practitioners – I am a CIPR Accredited Practitioner, undertaking continuous professional development (CPD) every year to maintain that status. I believe CPD should be fundamental to maintaining one’s status as a communications professional, particularly if PR practitioners want to be respected by other professionals.
- Help the PR profession adapt to new media – As a long-time advocate of social media in a conservative B2B industry, I have first-hand experience of traditionalists’ resistance to new communication tools, but have also identified that this is now changing. Social media, mobile tools and other technologies are reshaping the communications landscape across many industries and PR practitioners need to be able to respond to these changes.
If you are eligible to vote in the CIPR elections, please vote, and if you like what you’ve read above, please consider voting for me.