Featuring in our 'Catching up' series this time is Laurel Hetherington, the North East's only CIPR qualified trainer. It's fair to say that a significant number of the region's PR practitioners have been trained by her and what she doesn't know about PR theory isn't worth discovering.
Q. You’re the North East’s only qualified CIPR trainer. Why is the professionalisation of the PR industry important?
A. So both clients and employers know what they are getting when they hire a CIPR member – someone who has undergone extensive training, has lots of practical experience and can add something to the bottom line.
Q. What made you choose training as a career?
A. At evening classes for the CAM Diploma in PR, I was the worst student ever – complained about everything and they said can you do better? I said yes and the rest as they say……
Q. You’ve worked with a lot of PR practitioners. Do they have common traits – good and bad?
A. Good ones are passionate about their clients or organisations. I don’t get to meet many bad ones – they aren’t usually interested in keeping up to date with new techniques or coming along to training or workshops.
Q. What drives you forward?
A. I love it when it dawns on people that PR is not just about media relations and there are lots of other techniques that can make a real difference. And I’m nosy – I like learning about different organisations and what they are doing – whether in the UK or overseas. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy being a PR judge and examiner. And best of all – seeing younger people I’ve worked with getting up on stage at the Hilton to receive a PRide award for their work.
Q. If you were a stick of rock, what word would run through you?
Q. Your team almost always wins at the CIPR NE vs NEPA quiz (hard luck this time around). How do you swat up?
A. I have a secret weapon – my current husband - and we are all news junkies in our family, though on different subjects.
Q. What one thing would people be most surprised to find out about you?
A. I'm a Gleek - just love Glee (don't tell anyone!)
Q. Finally, one what text book should all PR people have by their beds?
A. Depends, because all PR people are different, and need different things at different stages in their careers too. If you’re just starting out, either on the CIPR Foundation or Introduction courses or on CAM, then PR Today by Morris & Goldsworthy is a good read (if a bit controversial). If you’ve got problems, then Risk Issues and Crisis Management by Regester and Larkin whereas if you’re wanting to understand digital then Brand Anarchy by Waddington & Earle. Finally, if you’re one of my Masters students at Newcastle, or doing the CIPR Diploma at Sunderland and need some theory then Exploring PR by Tench and Yeomans.