Three years as Chair of the CIPR in the north east

Cover of the CIPR Manifesto 2015 document

I’ve spent the past three years as Chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) in the north east of England. Last night the group held its 2015 AGM where we heard from the CIPR’s new national President Sarah Pinch – she came, she saw, she delivered – really interesting.

It also marked the end of three years as Chair (hold the tears). Below is a copy of the speech / annual report I delivered – lots of people to thank for their support, not least colleagues here at DTW. I’m staying involved on the regional committee and I’ve just rejoined the CIPR’s national Council for the next two years.

For any PR/communications professionals reading this who aren’t members – you are missing out. Join in and be part of the PR army on the march to professionalism.

Sarah Pinch at CIPR NE 2015 AGM

Annual Report of CIPR North East Group, February 2015

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I’d like to start by saying it has been a real honour to be Chair of the CIPR North East group for the past three years and to represent you on the CIPR Council.

The PR industry has huge opportunities in front of it and I firmly believe that the CIPR is the only organisation that can lead us on the march to professionalism. I’m glad you think so as well and are here tonight.

2014 has been a strong year for the CIPR in the north east – we’ve heard from the Head of the BBC in England, had fascinating talks from international specialists in wearable technology, and learned how to deliver the perfect PR pitch at events throughout the year.

We also held our most successful PRide awards for years, with entry numbers up, a sell-out new venue at the Biscuit Factory and record decibel levels. So, 2014 was good, but I feel that 2015 will be even better.

As all good PR people know, key messages never come in more than three doses, so I’m going to follow that formula tonight and talk about amazing volunteers, proud achievements, and the special CIPR secret.

Amazing volunteers

The CIPR has them in abundance – both here in the north east and also nationally. It is always worth reminding people that every committee member and every Council member is a volunteer with a busy day job.

I’ve been very lucky during my three years as Chair to have the support of some wonderful committee members in the north east – most of them here tonight – who have gone the extra mile to help this organisation succeed. I’d like to thank them all for their energy and expertise – it really is a team game.

Proud achievements

In terms of member size the north east of England is the CIPR’s second smallest group, but boy do we punch above our weight. I’m very proud of what we have achieved over the past three years. During that time we have: 

  • Delivered over 30 successful events here in the region
  • Increased paying membership by 15% to 207 people – a figure that’s still growing – and increased student membership by about 800%
  • Achieved one of the highest ratios of CPD participation and accredited practitioners in the country
  • Won CIPR’s regional group of the year in 2013
  • Introduced the first successful regional CIPR training and workshops programme anywhere in the UK – it’s now being held up as a benchmark for others to follow
  • Produced some incredible leaders in Stephen Waddington and Sarah Hall who have driven the CIPR forward at a national level

Those are big achievements and we should all be proud of them. Tonight I’m delighted to announce one more. CIPR NE is setting up a partnership with Newcastle University’s Centre for Professional and Executive Development.

The new partnership will give CIPR members from across the country access to one of the region’s newest high-tech business venues, The Core at Science Central. It will become a ‘Regional CIPR Hub’ giving members free access to a drop-in workspace in the heart of the city, complete with a range of facilities, including free Wi-Fi. The facilities are great and I’d urge you to use them.

The special CIPR secret

I can see you looking at me a bit strangely here but bear with me please. It is simple – the more you put in the more you get out.

I went to my first CIPR conference almost ten years ago – three days after I got married. My wife was delighted at my commitment to the CIPR and has remained so ever since.

I joined the NE committee at about the same time. The CIPR really has been an important and enjoyable part of my life – it has helped my professional development and my career. I’ve made great friends, valuable business contacts and learned one hell of a lot. I’d love it to do the same for you.

So, do your CPD submissions, join in the twitter chats, get involved with a regional or sectoral group and help us continue the march to professionalism.

I’d like to finish by reminding you all that the CIPR belongs to its members and wish you every success during 2015. I look forward to seeing you at CIPR NE events in person and online throughout the rest of the year.

Chris Taylor

Chair, CIPR North East

26 February 2015