This is a ‘thank you’ blog post dedicated to some of the 50 or so people that have been generous to me with their time and support in 2014. They are colleagues, family, friends, teachers, writers, and people that I’ve got to know via the social web. Please look them up. You’ll almost certainly learn something new.
Who’s on your gratitude list for 2014? You should make one and say thank you; it would make the Internet a happier place.
Richard Bailey (@behindthespin) and I started our careers more than twenty years ago at the same public relations agency in Slough, west of Heathrow, although we never worked together. He’s now a public relations educator driving professional standards in our business. He’s the brains behind student community Behind the Spin and always adds value to any discussion. Thanks Richard.
Sarah Billings (@sasbongo) and I shared a taxi ride and then coffee and cake at Ljubljana airport in Slovenia on the way home from Bled in July. I’m still not sure why the conversation we had was important but I’m absolutely confident that in time the reason will become clear. Thanks Sarah.
Rob Brown (@robbrown) and I first worked together four years ago when he invited me to join the CIPR Social Media Panel. That group has been a catalyst for change within the organisation and along the way both Rob and I have been elected Presidents. In 2014 Rob led a review of the CIPR’s member engagement channels. Thanks Rob.
Martha Brown and I meet for dinner every three months or so. She’s a child of the late-90s. Her attitude and thinking is refreshing and always brings me up short. She does a great routine in one-liners such as “modern direct marketing is legalised stalking”, and “no one ever just wants to go for dinner [except your Godfather].” Thanks Martha.
Robert Burnside (@robertmburnside) is the Chief Learning Office at Ketchum. He’s the architect of a community learning platform that's enabling us to perform a forklift upgrade to the skills of everyone in the agency. It is a truly disruptive system that I’m looking forward to help develop for clients in 2015. Thanks Robert.
Michael Chaplin (@michaelchaplin2) visited us at home in Northumberland for an interview for his latest book There is a Green Hill. He journeyed from Northumberland to Durham retracing his father, Sid’s, footsteps from a book sixty years ago. He’s family. Sid was my wife’s Grandfather and Michael is her uncle. Thanks Mike.
Kwai Chi (@kwaichi) and I met at a book launch in London in February. He was wearing a black pendant which he explained was tracking his every move and had enabled him to get fit and lose weight. I bought a Withings Pulse the next day and have lost around 400g a week ever since. Thanks Kwai.
Margaret Clow (@executivetyping) and I have worked together for four years or so. She’s a proofreader and editor who brings military discipline to any project that we work on. She’s relentless, often working to ridiculous and unreasonable deadlines. We've just put Chartered Public Relations to bed. It'll be published in February 2015. Thanks Margaret.
Virginia Coutinho (@VirginiaCP) is the founder of Upload Lisbola where 500 digital thinkers and doers explored developing areas of practice in social and digital communication and marketing over a weekend in October in Lisbon. I’ve never felt so welcome when visiting a country for the first time. I’m looking forward to returning to Portugal. Thanks Virginia.
Matt Desmier (@mattdesmier) is a fireball of energy who curates Silicon Beach, an inspirational conference that takes place in Bournemouth each September. It was a standout event that brought together a cocktail of coders, artists, and storytellers. I’m definitely planning to block out my diary for next year’s event. Thanks Matt.
Paul Fabretti (@paulfabretti) can read my mind, or at least it seems that way. We’ve grown up together in social media in the last decade. I rarely rant on Facebook but whenever I do I’ll almost always get a direct message from Paul within minutes, checking in on my wellbeing. He’s a great friend. Thanks Paul.
David Gallagher (@tbonegallagher) is my boss at Ketchum. In the last two years he’s helped me stop fighting the reality that I’m an introvert. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I have never been comfortable with large groups or presenting in public and have learnt workarounds. Thanks David.
Judy Gombita (@jgombita) is an editor and contributor to PR Conversations. She regularly challenges my thinking. I almost always land in a better place as a result. She’s taught me that critical appraisal is key to learning. It’s often hard to openly accept criticism and is a work in progress for me. Thanks Judy.
Michelle Goodall (@greenwellys) is a lot like me. She recognises the potential that the public relations profession has to work across all forms of media and lead engagement between a brand and its publics. She's assertive and vocal and realises that if we get it wrong our profession will become irrelevant. Thanks Michelle.
Prof. Anne Gregory (@gregsanne) is chair of the Global Alliance and a professor at the University of Huddersfield. She’s one of the hardest working people I know. She headed up the World PR Forum in Madrid and through her writing, public speaking and one-on-one meetings has given me the confidence to believe that the business of public relations may one day become a profession. Thanks Anne.
Gem Griffiths (@gemgriff) is the brains, along with Charlotte Winslett (@c_winslett) behind #FuturePR. This energetic and enthusiastic duo are rethinking some of the fundamental organisational models and workflows for creative agencies. You can’t help but think that they’re on the verge of doing something incredible. Thanks Gem and Charlotte.
Sarah Hall (@hallmeister) is an energetic thinker and doer who has shared occasional walks along the River Tyne with me this year when the going has got tough. After more than 10 years involvement with the CIPR she has been an advocate for modernisation and has helped me find the balance between reform and rejection. Thanks Sarah.
Neville Hobson (@jangles) and Shel Holtz (@shelholtz) record a weekly podcast called For Immediate Release. It’s a regular part of my weekly media diet and part of my personal learning and development. I was pleased to present Neville with a special award at the UK Social Media Communication Awards this year. Thanks Neville and Shel.
Jack Hubbard (@jackhubbard) is the founder of Propellernet, an integrated search, social, and most recently public relations agency. As an entrepreneur I’d always thought that exiting a business and extracting maximum value was a metric of success. Jack has created an alternative, sustainable way by sharing value with his team. Thanks Jack.
Dan Ilett (@danielilett) has challenged me to think about my personal health and wellbeing on numerous occasions during 2014. He’s a journalist turned entrepreneur and one of the most emotionally intelligent people I know. We’ve had some great conversations, usually fuelled by beer and curry. Thanks Dan.
Dominic Irvine (@domirvine) is an ultra-cyclist, and international speaker and facilitator. He contacted me to talk about a book he was writing but in fact the benefit was really all mine. Thanks to his generosity I learnt more about public speaking and storytelling in 90 minutes over lunch than I have at any point in my career. Thanks Dom.
Tom Liacas (@tomliacas) is a communications activist turned corporate advisor. He looked me up after reading #BrandVandals and we’ve met up in London and over Skype throughout the year. He’s a clear thinker who advises organisations, operating in the toughest sectors, to be open and transparent in their engagement with publics. His Social Survival Manifesto is worth a read. Thanks Tom.
Jim Lin (@busydadblog) is a Daddy blogger at the Busy Dad Blog and a digital strategist at Ketchum, based in California. He's a brilliant creative with an absolute passion for new forms of media. I haven't had a chance to meet up with him in person this year but he does the best Facebook in my community and never fails to make me laugh out loud. Thanks Jim.
Eva Maclaine (@evamaclaine) is the hardworking chair of CIPR International. What she doesn’t know about the importance of emotional intelligence in international diplomacy isn’t worth knowing. She’s been a driving force this year on the CIPR board, along with Sarah Hall and Laura Sutherland, in helping push the modernity agenda. Thanks Eva.
Michael Maslov is an adventurer and public relations practitioner who spent his summer holiday this year driving from Moscow to Rekeyovik. He’s the founder and senior partner of Ketchum’s office in Moscow and he bought me lunch before we travelled together to Riga, Latvia. He opened my eyes to the complexity of international politics. Thanks Michael.
Alastair McCapra (@cipr_ceo) is chief executive of the CIPR. He's delivered fundamental change to the organisation this year and along the way has taught me that there is no place for emotion in decision making in an organisation. He's also taught me that the personal agenda of volunteers in a member organisation should never be allowed to get in the way of its vision and purpose. Thanks Alastair.
Becky McMichael (@bmcmichael) and I have known each other for almost twenty years. We met up at the Breakfast Club in Soho after an interlude of three years and picked up the conversation as if it was 2011. Over bacon and eggs we concluded that you really can’t have it all and that anyone that appears to is faking it. Thanks Becky.
Rachel Miller (@allthingsic) is one of the new breed of public relations practitioner that is reinventing practice. She lives and breathes organisational engagement and recognises the opportunity to use new forms of media for internal communication. She thinks out loud on her blog and has built up a sizeable community and following. Thanks Rachel.
Katie Moffat (@katiemoffat) and I spend a couple of days together at Thinking Digital in May each year in Gateshead and Newcastle along with around 800 other thinkers and doers. She has a canny ability to connect different areas and always provides a refreshing and enlightened perspective. Thanks Katie.
Caroline O'Doherty (@codoherty) wanted to start blogging in 2014. She wrote to me asking for sources of inspiration. We decided to blog about how you plan, build and launch a blog. We produced a series of blogs, Caroline launched a personal blog and we produced an eBook. It was a fun project. Thanks Caroline.
Andrada Morar (@andradamorar) is a digital strategist at Ketchum in New York. She’s the person you call if want to follow Dustin Hoffman’s jogging route around Central Park from the film Marathon Man. We headed out at 7am one morning in July with Ronald Velten (@ronaldvelten) from IBM. It was my favourite run of the year. Thanks Andrada and Ronald.
Mat Morrison (@mediaczar) is incredibly widely read and a smart, analytical thinker on the impact of new forms of media on society. He’s the only person I know who can reference Bertie Wooster and Brian Solis in the same sentence. I always leave any conversation with him either online or in real life a little bit wiser. Thanks Mat.
Sarah Pinch (@ms_organised), the CIPR’s President for 2015, has taught me that every public has the right to be heard and be part of a conversation. That's right and proper and is best practice public relations. What isn't acceptable are bad manners and trolling. You have to have a thick skin as a leader and know when to move on. It’s far better to be respected than liked. Thanks Sarah.
Dr. Liviu Popoviciu is Head of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Newcastle and has been brave enough to recruit me as a Professor of Practice in Public Relations. I look forward to mentoring students, teaching and starting to think about my own area of research next year. Thanks Liviiu.
Andrew Ross (@amjross) is the relentless communication and policy manager at the CIPR. Much of the content that you’ve seen from the CIPR this year has been across his keyboard at some point. I’ve absolutely no doubt that he’ll go all the way to the top in our business. Thanks Andy.
Euan Semple (@euan) author of Organisations Don’t Tweet, People Do has one foot in the future and one foot firmly rooted in the challenges that modern organisations face in getting to grips with the Internet. He is a living a breathing embodiment of the Cluetrain Manifesto. Our lunch at Pizza East in Shoreditch was a highlight of 2014. Thanks Euan.
Darryl Sparey (@darrylsparey) is an old friend who joined me for a memorable London run. We headed from Liverpool Street over Tower Bridge to Canada Water and on to Greenwich. He’s much fitter and younger than me and showed incredible patience as we put the world to rights on route. Thanks Darryl.
Laura Sutherland (@laurafromaura) agreed to join the CIPR board as a representative for Scotland at the outset of the year. She’s a clear thinker who understands the challenge that a membership organisation faces in balancing voluntary effort with driving radical change and modernisation. Thanks Laura.
Catherine Sweet (@csweetpr) is a lecturer in public relations at the University of Solent. She wants to make a difference to how students are taught public relations theory and practice. She picked up a blog that I wrote about a student eBook project at the University of Boston. We did it bigger and better at Solent in the spring. Thanks Catherine.
Kentice Tikolo (@ktikolo) re-connected me with my wife’s birthplace in Nairobi, Kenya. She’s the immediate Past Chair of the PR Society Kenya. We’re planning a family trip for the Global Alliance conference that the association is hosting in 2015. Thanks Kentice.
Tim Travers-Healy, one of the founders of the CIPR taught me that the issues that the profession faces today are no different to those that it faced when the organisation was founded in 1948. That’s depressing but it also shows the importance of not being distracted and sticking to a firm vision and purpose. This hasn’t always been the case for the CIPR. Thanks Tim.
Jean Valin (@jeanvalin1) is leading a project on behalf of the Global Alliance to develop an international competency framework for public relations. His ambition is inspiring. In my view it is also critical to the future of the profession. We met at the World PR Summit in Madrid and have since connected via Skype. Thanks Jean.
Prof. Betteke van Ruler (@bettekevanruler) is a rare public relations practitioner who has successfully bridged academia and practice. Her latest book Reflective Communication Scrum describes how agile techniques can be applied to communication workflow. Betteke’s paper at Bled on the same topic was inspiring. We’re continuing the conversation. Thanks Betteke.
Dan Waddington told me in March that I was unfit and overweight. He’s eight-years old and with the absolute clarity of youth instructed me on a football field in Wooler, Northumberland to eat less and exercise more. Eight months later I weigh almost two stone less thanks to eating better, exercising more. Thanks Dan.
Ellie Waddington is a harpist. Her sister Freya is a flautist and champion Northumberland wrestler. They are great kids who are following their passions as students in Northumberland. They’re also my daughters and together they cut me down to size whenever my ego gets over blown. Thank you Ellie and Freya.
Katie Waddington is the person that makes it possible for me to live in Northumberland and work around the world. She’s the most patient and optimistic person you could ever hope to meet. She’s had a tough 18-months facing serious illness but has never stopped smiling. Thanks Katie.
Alexander Watson (@alexanderwatso) is a colleague at Ketchum in London who frequently challenges me on the purpose of public relations. He’s taught me to interrogate the behaviour of organisations and to challenge the gap between say and do. There’s always something wrong when an organisation goes quiet. Thanks Alex.
Dr. Jon White (@drjonwhite) was my opponent in the CIPR election for President this year. He spent the early part of this year persuading me that I wasn’t stepping into a lion’s den by delivering a keynote at Bled in Slovenia. My call for a better working relationship for academic and practitioners was incredibly well received, and I’m looking forward to returning next year. Thanks Jon.