Cross-examination

I thought it was about time I answered the questions posited by the other candidates in Anastasia’s blog. I can’t guarantee I’ll be any wordier here than I was there…

Sarah’s questions

How do you intend to be measured on your work as President-Elect and President?

What is your vision for the future of practice and how will you deliver on this?

It’s often said within the Chartered Institute that the CIPR has a ‘PR problem’. We can recruit new members, fine – but then we lose lots as well, so our membership numbers have plateaued. When my time is up I’d like to think we have a confident, stable and secure professional body that people want to join – not one they think they have to – that can retain its members as their careers progress.

In my Chartership paper I wrote that while public relations is often seen as a management function it’s also something we do ourselves, every day. In a way it needs to be both, the latter making the former more possible by making an understanding of public relations and the management of reputations clearer. It’s a concept we need to embed in students on courses, in mission statements and visions of ethical business practice. That means being ‘out there’, wherever ‘there’ turns out to be. Many of our members do this anyway, let’s build on that engagement for the benefit of all.

Emma’s questions

I was asked this week how I would combine the role of President-Elect with my full-time job and also how I would guarantee members that my motivation wasn’t personal benefit.

I’d also ask how their skillsets and experience equip them to deal with the issues raised in the #StateofPR report, particularly in relation to morphing from management to leadership and their experience of strategic leadership at scale.

Having spent time on Council and having spoken with more than a few Presidents and officers – trust me, no-one would stand as President-Elect for personal benefit. I might attract some plaudits for my campaign (such as it is) but that’s about it. I’m not even trying to impress a woman (mainly because I know that the woman in question wouldn’t be impressed).

I’ve spent over a decade working with the Air Cadets in voluntary capacity, and spent about five years with Leeds United / Leeds Carnegie Ladies, so I’m used to the idea of giving up large parts of my life and annual leave entitlement to help promote the aims and ideals of other bodies, often at my own expense. If the cause is just – and you can sell the benefits to your employers, in that it’s effectively free staff development – just do it.

Apart from my years with CIPR Yorkshire & Lincolnshire, on Council, being a ‘responsible adult’ with the Cadets and Ladies… I have no leadership experience, certainly not large-scale strategic leadership experience. But as we’ve seen with the recent Labour Party fall-outs, a ‘leader’ is not the person with the best soundbits or sharpest attire; it’s the person who makes you believe that they have your best [professional] interests at heart, who leads by example, who treats everyone the same and helps you to progress, professionally and personally.

Gary’s question

You want me answer my own question? Okay… but that’s something for a future post 🙂

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