The current CIPR President-Elect and Past-President have lined up behind a rival candidate. Challenging the status quo was never going to be easy.
I've been spurred on during the election campaign by the number of practitioners who've told me that they have stopped their CIPR membership or haven't joined because the Institute isn't forward looking enough, but that they'll join if I get elected.
It might not help right now as voting opens, but it tells me the months of talking to members and non-members has paid off and I'm getting the pitch exactly right.
It's great motivation and justification of all the effort and hours it takes to plan and campaign.
Like my #FuturePRoof work, this is important.
Listening and responding
There is a fantastic chapter in #FuturePRoof: Edition Two in which Sarah Clark and Professor Jim Macnamara discuss audience insight.
They talk about how crucial it is that organisations truly listen to what is being said about them and more than that, actively ask the questions they don't really want the answers to - and act on this information.
I guess this is an excellent way to explain my engagement with practitioners over the last six to twelve months in preparation for this election.
It's clear that in some quarters what's now being discussed and the idea of change is uncomfortable for some.
The current President-Elect and Past-President have backed a rival candidate. I knew I was an outsider but I didn't realise I was seen as such a threat.
We can have the discussion about whether this is good democracy after the election is over but for now for the good of the public relations industry (and with thanks to those who shared their views) I stand by my pledges and - given the opportunity - will wholeheartedly deliver against every one.
Make no mistake, modernisation is needed
So mine is a call to arms. I'm standing for President-Elect because I've listened to practitioner voices from all fields and all backgrounds and by far the vast majority want change.
Public relations professionals want an Institute they can trust to be ahead of the game and help them navigate the pace of change and learning curve we have been experiencing.
They want an Institute that actively communicates the value of public relations within society and builds relationships, not walls, with other professional bodies. I've been very clear about my position on this here.
They want a President who scrutinises the finances and holds the executive team to account because this is just good governance. The CIPR is seen as an insider network and this has to stop. I’m not scared of difficult decisions or hard conversations where these need to happen – or of building bridges where this may be needed.
They want a member journey that shows them how they can continue their CPD to become the best in their field and improve their employment chances.
They know that to operate at the strategic adviser level they need business, management and finance competencies and are looking to the CIPR to recognise this and deliver accordingly.
They want an Institute that is open to all, from those in lower socio-economic and BAME groups right through to those in disciplines such as SEO and video production as disciplines merge. And an offer that is relevant to all these groups.
They want an Institute that steps up and speaks out on issues and defends its reputation. I've a proven track record on campaigning for the CIPR on gender and diversity and have pledged to introduce a staff salary scale and diversity register, as well as produce guidance so members can do the same. The CIPR must lead the way on best practice and ethics.
Now is the time to take stock
There is some excellent work being carried out by the team at the CIPR and its many wonderful volunteers. Current President Rob Brown and President-Elect Jason MacKenzie both have my full support.
But. And it's a big but.
Think hard about your engagement and involvement with the CIPR in recent years. How valuable have you found it?
You don't need to do more than a rudimentary listening exercise on social media to find the answer.
So many people have told me they are tired of getting more of the same with no clear member journey or view to the horizon. If that's you, I'm asking for your vote.
If you believe in my pledges, I'm asking for your vote.
I've volunteered with the CIPR for seventeen years and I'm passionate about it and public relations. I want to make it better and am asking for your support to do so. Only you can make this change.