Today is my first working day as your CIPR President. I committed in my manifesto to consulting members regularly on what's planned and achieving as much engagement as possible during this very special 70th anniversary year. The Institute is here to serve its members and help strengthen the profession.
My first job as your President is to thank outgoing president Jason Mackenzie for his hard work at the CIPR. The last twelve months has seen membership increase and churn reduce. Jason has pushed hard the professionalism message, which is important if the business of public relations is to be taken seriously.
Thanks also go to Board, Council and all our volunteers for their contributions. It's through our volunteers that we are able to promote professionalism and ethics, help practitioners grow their networks and unlock their full potential, and are gradually making Chartered status the norm.
I'm looking forward to working with you all and especially the team at Russell Square in 2018, not to mention our new president-elect Emma Leech, who has equally ambitious plans for the Institute.
About the 2018 plan
So onto the plan. The CIPR's purpose is simple. It’s outlined in a document, the Charter, agreed with the Privy Council and signed by the Queen. We exist to promote the highest standards in public relations, for practitioners, and in the public interest.
As such, the CIPR's plan for 2018 is rooted very firmly in the Charter objectives, outlined here alongside the activity I'd like to see take place.
This working document was signed off by Council and Board at the end of 2017 so much of the activity is already in progress. It's important to say however that some areas still need further discussion and planning.
It takes a village - please get involved
This year the challenge facing the public relations industry is greater than ever as lines between disciplines blur and we face ongoing political and technological change, not to mention issues such as fake news and declining trust. But it also means there is an even greater opportunity to position ourselves as the trusted advisers we are meant to be.
I was elected on a mandate for change so it's time to make change happen.
Firstly let's truly make the CIPR the inclusive organisation we aspire it to be.
The Institute is not a clique. It is a place where everyone is welcome and we should come together with one purpose and agenda; to further the goals set out in its Charter.
We need to be much more open and transparent. We need to work more closely with other membership bodies and organisations. We also need to appeal to the greater breadth and diversity of those working in public relations.
As such, you'll feel a difference in the way in which we communicate and engage this year. I intend to bring back the quarterly report, starting on 31 March, so members can track progress and hold us accountable.
I am already ringing the changes.
For the first time on our Board we have two women of colour and strong female representation. It is time to truly represent the industry we serve and this is one small step towards doing that.
I have a vision of a dynamic, progressive and assertive organisation, that leads from the front, sets the agenda, promotes the value of public relations and I'm asking everyone, especially our Board and Council, to help me deliver this.
This is not and should not be an easy ride.
I'm challenging all our members to scrutinise the CIPR's strategic goals and my agenda so whatever we deliver is outcome driven, relevant, agile and fit for purpose.
There is no room for personal agendas - let's all unite in one goal to see the Institute succeed.
We have an exciting twelve months and more ahead. 2018 is the CIPR's 70th anniversary during which we get to recognise its distinguished history and celebrate its volunteers.
The CIPR will also take up new premises in a move that will reduce its overheads and in time allow us to deliver new products and services for members.
Coupled with this we will have a much stronger presence in the regions and nations and cohesive delivery of the national plan.
I'm proud to lead this CIPR because I truly believe in all it stands for. I hope by the end of 2018, many more public relations practitioners see its relevance and value too.