Last week saw an exciting announcement on Twitter as the shortlist was gradually revealed for the CIPR’s PRide Awards in the North East – with my name on it.

This was a big moment for me as although I’ve volunteered as a judge, served on the regional committee and been an active part of the local PR community for many years, I’d never entered my work into any awards.

Partly, this was because when I worked in-house in the private sector, the appetite was, rightly, that we should enter awards focused on the primary purpose of the business, whether this was software, finance or publishing, so while I was involved in this process, there wasn’t the time or opportunity to enter a communications, PR or marketing award. It’s also in part because of the investment required, both in terms of time and money.

In it to win it

As any business owner will testify, it can be a real challenge to take the step back needed to work on the business, rather than just in it, but as soon as I started to see these awards as an opportunity not just for myself, but to raise my clients’ profile too, I started to wonder if I should give it a go.

I’m glad I did. As that first Tweet appeared from @CIPR_Awards with my name and my client’s among those tagged, I began to feel genuinely emotional. I owe Kids Kabin, which I’ve worked with professionally for almost two-and-a-half years now, a huge amount, as it was getting involved with the charity as a volunteer when I was at university that led me on my long path towards the VCSE sector, and being able to offer real and rewarding value to clients doing important and much-needed work in the community.

I’m incredibly grateful to the team at Kids Kabin for their support for my entries, and am proud that one of the campaigns I’ve been lucky enough to work on is in the running for both the low-budget and not-for-profit campaign categories.

Similarly, the team at Forward Arts Foundation, the charity that runs National Poetry Day, is very small, but incredibly committed and knowledgeable, and was also kind enough to allow me to feature my work on 2020’s campaign in PRide, the CIPR’s annual celebration of outstanding public relations work across nine regions of the UK. I’m thrilled this has resulted in being shortlisted in four campaign categories – integrated campaign, arts, culture, sport or entertainment campaign, low-budget campaign, and not-for-profit.

Poetry is and always has been important to me, and I write myself, so to get the chance to be an official part of National Poetry Day was a real honour, especially in a year in which Covid-19 was presenting so many additional challenges. This accolade is further recognition for the positive impact of arts and culture in hard times, and I hope being shortlisted will help raise awareness of the day for even more people.

No i in team

As the only independent practitioner to feature in this year’s shortlist, I’m incredibly proud to fly the flag on behalf of a vibrant and supportive community across the region. A huge thank you to everyone I’ve worked and collaborated with over the past four years, and to my friends, partner and family for their unwavering support. Outstanding Independent Practitioner may be an individual award, but it’s been a real team effort!

Congratulations to everyone shortlisted, and good luck for October 5th.