What makes for a good CIPR President? ‘You definitely need resilience and patience and a bit of humour, too,’ says current President Jenni Field who, alongside the community she represents, has been working through a particularly challenging year. Yet alongside all the struggles of serving an industry that has been under increasing pressure, Jenni has been involved in the launch of several game-changing CIPR services and initiatives, including its Race in PR and AI in PR reports.
Now serving on the Board alongside President Elect Mandy Pearse, Jenni takes us through what goes into selecting a successor and the skills needed for the role. And for getting to know the President Elect a little better, Mandy shares why she put herself forward for the Presidency and what her aims are for the CIPR and its members through the remainder of 2020 and beyond.
What’s involved in the process of selecting a new President?
Jenni: It’s an election process at CIPR so we ask people to put themselves forward with ten nominations and a statement around what they will stand for. Sometimes there are several candidates and sometimes just one. If there are several, there is an election period and a chance for members to chat to the nominees. I’m hoping there will be a few people standing for the role for 2022!
Mandy: You need to have a passion for the profession to stand and you need to be prepared to campaign and have a clear vision. It can be challenging because there will be robust debate but that is good as long as it is conducted in a respectful manner.
Mandy, what went into deciding to put yourself forward for the Presidency?
When I was thinking about standing, I worked out how much time I could devote to the role if I was successful. I’m lucky as a business owner and freelance consultant/trainer that I can flex my business to devote enough time to the institute. I also wanted to be sure I could do a good job representing my profession to the wider world as well as delivering what members need. Former presidents have set a high bar in their commitment of time and energy to live up to.
What skills and approach make for a good CIPR President?
Jenni: I have volunteered for CIPR for a few years, so I have worked with several presidents, all of whom have brought different visions and strengths to the Institute. For me, it has been about a core focus on our members and ensuring we are doing things aligned to their needs, so I think having an approach that allows for focused activity is important. You definitely need resilience and patience and I always do things with a bit of humour, too. Empowering the team at HQ and the volunteers is also important – I’m a big fan of leading that way and it has served me well so far!
Jenni, what have you been most proud of accomplishing during your time in the role?
Well, it has been a difficult year! I’m most proud of the work we have done to come together as a team. It’s something that was important to me when I stood for the role and at our last Group Chair’s meeting it really showed me how much has changed over the years. We have launched some fantastic services for our members this year: iprovision mental health hotline, mentoring, employability hub, to name a few and we have also created more insight and support with reports into Race in PR and AI in PR. These are all things achieved by volunteers and the team at HQ so I’m just proud of what we have done together under such difficult circumstances.
What would you most like to accomplish as CIPR President, Mandy?
Three things: first, position PR with the C-suite as a strategic discipline; second, make progress on increasing diversity in the profession; and third, make CIPR more accessible to its members.
Find out more about the 2020 CIPR Board of Directors on the website here.