Twelve months at the CIPR: A tale of team work

This year I’ve had the privilege of taking the helm at the CIPR, leading its Board, Council and large volunteer network. Here are my top five take outs from the last twelve months.

#1 Volunteers are generous people

The Institute has a small team of around 30 people and is reliant on the support of its national, regional and sectoral groups to engage with members and deliver activity.

It takes no small commitment; everyone has busy jobs, lives and family commitments. That generosity of spirit where people give their time and expertise to help their professional organisation and industry thrive deserves to be acknowledged.


#2 Lead with purpose

If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s this. Lead with purpose and passion and people will unite behind you. Too often people seek positions of power for personal gain. Do what’s right for everyone, not yourself.

This year my one goal was to reassert public relations as a strategic management function and to educate the business community about the role we play in organisational success.

It’s something that has resonated deeply with members and has a benefit for everybody.  What makes this powerful is that practitioners have adopted the CIPR’s rallying cry and are upskilling appropriately, taking pride in their work and also working with business to spread the message.

Change takes time but the journey is underway. 


#3 Focus on relationships first

I have a blended family with five kids and a dog, a growing PR and marketing agency and my own personal voluntary project called #FuturePRoof.

At the start of the year I wondered whether I’d bitten off more than I could chew.

I’ve learned to focus on what’s important. I put relationships first and make sure I build in short breaks so I can maintain personal resilience. No one works well when worn down.

It’s worked. My family are happy and know they are my biggest priority. The CIPR has delivered its most ambitious work plan to date. My business has taken on seven new contracts with no churn in staff or clients. I’ve even published two #FuturePRoof books.

Admittedly I’m looking forward to a holiday and to a slightly quieter 2019.


#4 There are different types of reward

People ask me why I do so much voluntary work. It’s been pointed out that if I spent the same amount of time on my business, perhaps I could scale and sell it.

My answer is not everyone is motivated by status or money and that there are different types of reward.

I’m fortunate to love my day job and my clients but both #FuturePRoof and the CIPR are passion projects that keep me incentivised. They have helped me develop professionally and build my network and I’m thankful for that.

My fiancé and I sometimes talk about legacy. If I can contribute in some small way to the success of my industry, that works for me.


#5 Thank you

I’m going to finish how I started. By acknowledging all the help I’ve had this year. No one can achieve this amount without a network of people around them picking up the slack and providing back up when things get tough.

My family is incredibly supportive and patient. I have superb child and doggy care and a brilliant cleaner.

Everyone at Sarah Hall Consulting continues to be amazing. The CIPR team has been exceptional in delivering against the backdrop of an office move. As ever, the #FuturePRoof community has knocked it out the park with the quality of content shared.

These people go above and beyond constantly and I’m grateful to each and every one of them. This year’s watchword has definitely been team work.

Image: Presenting the CBI’s Carolyn Fairbairn (right) with a copy of the CIPR’s 70th anniversary Platinum book, for which she wrote the foreword.