CIPR International AGM 2019 – Chair’s address

Did you miss our AGM on 25 September? Please find below a transcript of the Chair’s address – do let us know your thoughts. Our AGM also featured a thought provoking panel debate on mental health in the international PR industry. Watch this space for more content on this important topic.


It has been another strong year and CIPR International has accomplished a lot, by completing some very important tasks. Also, we’ve been able to navigate through a year which is the first when CIPR International’s Chair is based outside of the U.K.


First of all I would like to thank Merete Donlon, Beatrice Giribaldi as Vice Chairs; Oshin Sharma as Secretary, and Stuart Graham as Treasurer for their commitment and work. I’d also like to thank all the committee members for their collaboration. A special thanks go to three of our senior committee members (Eva Maclaine, Shirley Collyer, and Jason Mackenzie) for building new relationships, lobbying and for all the valuable insights they have given both to me and the committee. We also thank Lansons for providing venues for our events and helping us record and edit our podcasts and videos.


Thank you also to CIPR’s head office for supporting the work our volunteer committee members invest in running this group.


Last but certainly not least we are very proud that an additional two of our committee members, Shirley Collyer and I, have received CIPR Fellow status as a recognition for our professional achievements.

One of the biggest challenges for CIPR International comes from being international. While other groups usually organise live events for their members, our challenge is how can we create value for our members if only a third of them is based in London, while one third resides elsewhere in the U.K. and the other third is based overseas. Therefore, this year, I wanted to put a lot of emphasis on extra-curricular activities. We’ve achieved a lot this year:

  • Two of our committee members, Shirley and Eva are CIPR board members, whilst I am a council member.

  • Eva also chairs the Professional Practices committee whilst I contribute to the Professional Development and Membership committee.

  • We have contributed to developing the international strategy of CIPR

  • We are supporting professional learning and development in Africa, where CIPR has a particularly good reputation

  • As a greenfield development, we organised a PR event in Mauritius (sadly not on the beach, but in an office building…) and, as a result, we have grown CIPR membership by another 20.

Dealing with tech and data is also a challenge for the PR profession – let’s see our year in numbers:

  • We have over 1000 members from more than 76 countries (this makes us one of the largest and definitely the most diverse group within CIPR)

  • We have more than 1600 Twitter, 800 on LinkedIn, and 440+ Facebook followers

  • There are 29 “Letters from” (providing overview of different countries’ PR industry) on our website

  • You can watch 18 videos on our Vimeo channels

  • 4 podcasts are also available to listen or download

  • We have organised three great live events this year (namely one Fintech, one on Mental Health and the Maggie Nally Memorial Lecture)

  • There is a 9:5 gender ratio in the committee in favour of women

In the future we are planning to:

  • further expand thought leadership content in the form of podcasts, “Letters from”, tweetchats, and other events

  • relaunch the Douglas Smith Award with which we will inspire a new generation of PR professionals to consider an international career

  • support international activities based on the new CIPR strategy

  • and revitalise PR communities in other countries to assist them with networking and learning activities

I trust that the new committee and its new members will start planning 2020 with fresh enthusiasm and energy. I encourage all of you to follow us on CIPR International’s website, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn channels, as well as participate in our events and discussions in person and/or online.



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