As the CIPR election for President for 2014 enters its final week before voting we caught up with Admiral PR chairman and candidate Stephen Waddington about his ambition, motivation and vision for the CIPR.
Q. Why are you standing for CIPR President?
A. The public relations industry stands at a moment in time. We have a real opportunity to assert our value as a management discipline that enables organisations to engage with audiences in a two-way relationship and improve the reputation of the industry via professional development. I’m addressing both issues through a ten point pledge.
Q. How do you think your campaign is going so far?
A. The election has become polarised between modernity and the traditional roots of public relations practice. People are engaging in the debate in a way that they haven’t ever before. That’s fantastic. Ultimately the CIPR members that turn out and vote in the election will decide whether they believe that I am the right person for the job.
Q. Why have you stood as a candidate?
A. As the CIPR has modernised I’ve progressed from member to join the CIPR Social Media Panel (2010), the Council (2011) and most recently the Board (2012). Along the way I’ve completed Chartered Practitioner accreditation and written, spoken and blogged about the challenges that we face as an industry. Following changes to the election rules, it’s the right moment for me to stand.
Q. Why should members vote for you?
A. Two reasons: I believe that I’ve got the vision backed up with the practical commitment of my ten point pledges; and I’ve got the motivation, energy and commitment as a practitioner to take on the role.
Q. You’re a European director at Ketchum and chairman of Admiral PR. Have you not got enough to do?
A. My roles at Admiral PR and Ketchum mirror the challenges faced by the next President of the CIPR. Like many agencies and communication departments they are on a journey to addressing the evolution of professional practice brought about by the fragmentation of media. They too face competitive pressures from other disciplines and organisations.
Q. What do you see as the role of the CIPR?
A. The purpose of the CIPR is to help practitioners develop skills so that they become more valuable, are able to increase their earning ability, and broaden their career prospects. I can show a direct correlation between my skills and my income throughout my career. There’s also an important role in upholding professional standards through a code of ethics and rigorous complaints process.
Q. How are you going to help regional practitioners?
A. The CIPR’s roots as an organisation lie in its membership in the nations and regions. Its value is the sum of the members and the Charter. It is incredibly precious and must be celebrated, supported and nurtured. As President I’d be faithful to that vision and purpose and actively challenge the Board and the Council – the CIPR’s governing body – to do the same in every action taken on behalf of members.
Q. What about addressing the geographic distance between Manchester, Newcastle and London?
A. Through the election process I have recognised that social media is changing how members want to engage with the CIPR through content, services and education. Addressing this issue will drive member engagement locally, regionally and internationally. I have proposed to connect directly with members and the broader industry through a monthly Twitter discussion.
The election for CIPR President for 2014 will take place from 7 to 21 May. You need to be a member of the CIPR to vote. The President for 2014 will be announced on 24 May.