“Let’s be loud and proud about our commitment to continuous learning” – Chair’s reflections on 2018-9

By Becky Hall, Chair of CIPR East Anglia 2018-19

It has been a lively and memorable eighteen months for CIPR East Anglia. As we congratulate and welcome in the newly elected committee who will lead activities for 2020, I want to take the opportunity to humblebrag tell you about some of the highlights from the last year and a half and thank the brilliant team of switched-on and dedicated volunteers who made it all happen.

Engaging our local community of CIPR members

The committee of nine delivered 11 learning events where both members and non-members got together to learn about topics from artificial intelligence to change communications to LinkedIn.

The committee also hosted over 20 free Connect events for people working in communications to meet up informally in Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds, Colchester, Chelmsford, Peterborough, Norwich and Ipswich. The most active areas for these events continue to be Cambridge and Bury, with a growing network in Norwich. The areas that currently have a smaller network but huge potential for growth are Peterborough and Ipswich – get in touch if you want to help us get people together in these areas!

Wellbeing

There has been a concerted effort to give members opportunities to engage with the issue of mental health. The University of Cambridge hosted a popular event for us in October 2018 where two members shared experiences and knowledge of monitoring and managing wellbeing for ourselves and others. Following this, the 2019 conference programme included a breakout session on the topic and we have published and shared three blogs written by members about how communications people can take care of their mental health. Let’s keep this conversation going – do get involved.

Local members and their professional development

More and more of our ~540 members are investing in their professional development and making use of the CIPR’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) resources, though in the 2018/19 cycle only one in three members had logged enough CPD points to complete the cycle and work towards becoming Accredited. Let’s be loud and proud about our commitment to continuous learning and encourage other members to log those all important 60 points before Spring 2020!

Professionalising PR continues to be one of the CIPR’s priorities and the great news is there was a significant increase in the number of people in our region becoming Chartered members between 2018 and 2019 following awareness campaigns nationally and locally. Get in touch if you are considering Chartership and would like to speak to somebody who has recently experienced the process. Email CIPREastAnglia@gmail.com

Awards

The PRide Awards continues to be a highlight of the year for many PR practitioners in the East Anglia and Thames and Chiltern regions, and, encouragingly, entries increased significantly in 2018 compared to 2017 which indicates teams are proud and confident of the value they bring to organisations. As, across the country, there are more and more industry PR awards emerging, the East Anglia committee will continue to work hard to make sure local comms pros know how they and/or their organisation would benefit from entering PRide. There’s a huge amount of comms talent in the region – let’s get it formally recognised and celebrate it!

Check out the 2019 shortlist

Charity

After working with two charities in 2016, 2017 and 2018 as part of the GiveBack scheme, the committee has updated how the scheme works for charities and volunteers so that charities get even more bespoke communications support and volunteers can be sure that they pro bono communications support they will be offering is in the areas of interest to them. 

Want to offer some pro bono communications support? Email CIPREastAnglia@gmail.com

Online community

East Anglia has an active and lively Twitter presence and there continues to be lively chat and debate between @CIPR_EastAnglia and members. The 2018 and 2019 conferences’ hashtags trended locally which was fantastic.

To prompt conversations online, the committee has posted 15 blogs written by members on www.ciprea.org and the Facebook group continues to be used by committee members to share news and blogs. There is potential for the Facebook group to be used more by members when they have challenges or ideas that they could talk about with peers.

Thank you

I am really proud of what the committee has delivered over the last eighteen months and thank our network of members who have presented at or shared knowledge at our events and webinars; judged entries for the PRide Awards; written blogs; hosted events at their offices and kept our regular meetups alive and kicking at local pubs across the region!

Here’s to another great year for communications professionals in East Anglia.

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