I’m standing for election to the CIPR Council. Here’s my candidate statement that explains the reasons:
It is often said that any organisation is only as good as the people within it; for a member organisation like the CIPR, it can only ever be as good as its staff, its many volunteers, its elected officers, and its wider membership.
Pleasingly, we are blessed with a good, committed Head office team, and our volunteers up and down the country continue to put their heart, soul, and spare time into running events and encouraging participation. Our elected officers and council members are also driven by a need to improve professional standards, to act in the best interests of our membership, and strive to protect and enhance the respect and reputation of our ever-changing and evolving profession.
And yet, and yet: many of our existing members remain unengaged; they do not value their membership, and they number only a minority of working UK PR professionals. This weakens the Institute. As yet, we have not succeeded in delivering such a compelling case for membership that it becomes a de facto choice.
The Good News
In my view, the CIPR has never been in a better place to significantly grow its base and, in the process, to strengthen its voice, its stature, and its influence. We have a re-vamped CPD scheme, and have made changes to the route to Chartered Practitioner status that is encouraging greater participation. These are all moves that can make a difference to our appeal to potential members of all ages and backgrounds.
The task facing your new elected leadership will be to get the message out to all those working in our profession – and to other professional bodies and employers – that individual CIPR membership, participation in its CPD scheme, and planning a route to Chartered status with a commitment to lifelong learning is the gold standard.
Gold standard applicants should have an edge; gold standard applicants should be at the front of the queue for jobs, contracts, account wins, promotions. Gold standard applicants will be Chartered CIPR members.
I have said many times that we need to make membership meaningful – for our existing members and for those we wish to recruit. We will not do that through improved member benefits no matter how welcome and excellent the new Influence magazine is, and no matter well we run our regional and national awards schemes – both of which, incidentally, set gold standards.
No, we will make membership meaningful because it is recognised that without it, personal career progression and personal standing and reputation is diminished. That is message to get across. And if you elect me to serve on the council, that is the message I will work to deliver.
The CIPR has played a major role in my professional life – as a student member, a sectoral member, a regional chair, board member, Treasurer, and President. I am now an independent practitioner, working in technology PR, and an active Fellow keen to help build on the good work of recent Presidents.