Thursday night saw the comms version of Airforce one roll into town (via a five hour train journey) as the new CIPR President Sarah Pinch visited Newcastle to explain her vision for the next 12 months.
Sarah has a really impressive and interesting back story so it was great to see her make such a long journey and take the time to meet the North East group.
As a region we’ve been pretty well served at the top of the CIPR with past president (and Northumberland’s own) Stephen Waddington doing some sterling work in his time in the role and, of course, Sarah Hall leading on the Gender pay issue.
The last 12 months have seen a much greater focus on professionalism, serving the regions and getting back to the core purpose of the CIPR as a members organisation and that’s to be welcomed.
I think this is something that has been neglected or forgotten over the years so it’s good to see the CIPR slowly refocusing from a London-centric, top down organisation to something much more about the grassroots members.
North East Chair Chris Taylor made the point that most CIPR activity is not done at the head office but by volunteers who give up their time for free.
There needs to be much more recognition around this and less of the more esoteric, traditional stuff that at times feels a bit stifling to me.
Stephen and Sarah are very much a new dawn and for someone who is still relatively new to the CIPR it’s great to have such prestige voices shouting about our industry.
Sarah outlined a very exciting programme for the next year with her work really trying to tackle some of the big issues affecting our profession right across the country.
It was very reassuring to hear such a clear and tangible vision that aims to tackle the big issues. Greater professionalism, continuous development, tackling the gender pay gap and demonstrably showing how PR can add value to the business community are all on her agenda.
Most of all managing the image and reputation of our own industry is still a huge challenge and with Sarah Pinch it looks like it’s in good hands.