Closing comment – Becoming a Fellow

Jack Walden FPRIA with Mike Watson FPRIA
Our CEO Jack Walden receiving his PRIA Fellowship from PRIA President Mike Watson FPRIA

I moved from Brisbane to Melbourne about a decade ago to continue developing my career, soak up the coffee, cuisine and culture of the southern city, and chase the cold.

Even though I may no longer call Brisbane home, it still holds a special place in my heart. So it was very appropriate that on a humid 30-degree Brisbane night, about 500 metres from where I developed my first PR plan, and across the river from where I studied PR at QUT, I became a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA).

The College of Fellows is a senior group of practitioners that brings their collective skills, experience and knowledge together to help guide PRIA through evolving issues in the industry – particularly in the area of ethics.

What does a fellowship mean to me? First and foremost it is a lovely recognition of my professional achievements combined with my contribution to the PRIA and the community. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to reflect on my career so far and the people who have helped me get where I am.

In addition to noting my professional achievements over more than 14 years, the PRIA President Mike Watson added “I can commend you for your contribution to the PRIA as State President, event organiser, national council member and as one of the team that delivered the 2012 World PR Forum in Melbourne”.

During my time as President of the PRIA in Victoria, I was fortunate to be invited to the quarterly state meetings of the College of Fellows hosted by Peter Mahon at Royce Communications.

Every time I sat down for lunch with these Fellows, I benefited from the wealth of knowledge around the table. These legendary communicators were more than happy to share their experience and wonderful stories gained from working for some of the biggest national and international companies, and they had plenty of wonderful ideas and insights for the PRIA as well.

As a Fellow, not only can I add FPRIA to my name in my email signature, I now have the opportunity to surround myself with an inspiring group of communication leaders on a more regular basis. There are too many inspiring people to name – but I look forward to working closely with them all as a new member, and possibly the youngest yet?, of the College of Fellows.

Thinking about my career to date, I would not have achieved so much without so many champions. Colleagues who are only ever a phone call away and armed with words of wisdom and advice. Chums who are prepared to point out an uncrossed T, an undotted i or a missed opportunity, and in turn help make every piece of communication better. And characters pushing me to think about the world in which we are communicating and develop better strategies and channels.

Congratulations also to the other Australian communicators recognised on Sunday night as Fellows of the Public Relations Institute. I’m proud to stand alongside you.

I am particularly delighted to have been made a fellow at the same time as another PRIA State President who served alongside me during my time on the board, Adam Thomson from South Australia.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

School’s back for winter and the modern communicator

Human head with comms roles_v3I’m thrilled to be part of PRIA’s Winter School program in Melbourne from 16-18 June. It’s an event for both experienced and emerging communication practitioners, where industry professionals will share their insights, strategies and tools for the modern communicator.

First up, and leading the charge, it’s my job to set the scene for a stellar line up of speakers across the three days and get the room energised.

I’ll be covering trends in the industry including the converging landscape and what the shrinking industry means to those within it with journos moving into pr roles, ad agencies dabbling in public relations as well as social, brand and marketing campaigns.

Here’s a peak behind the curtain …

What does the modern communicator do?

As well as being exemplar writers, bloggers and Tweeters we also need to be expert strategic planners, stakeholder engagement specialists, community and media managers, and the list goes on.

So, how are we coping with all the demands of the modern communication landscape?

Although the pressure to be constantly ‘on’ is wreaking havoc with the posture of the modern day PR professional, we are incredibly adaptive and as such can meet the needs of today’s landscape, learning a range of diverse skills and sharing them with our clients and organisations.

And, what’s next for the industry?

As an industry we’re moving away from the term ‘PR’ and the reputation it has developed. Today’s communication professionals can be involved in a range of areas within an organisation from traditional activities such as investor relations, media relations and internal communications to emerging areas such as corporate social responsibility and digital storytelling. I’ll explore these trends and give you the numbers that support a move towards building employee brand advocates and trust, both internally and externally.

It’s an incredibly exciting time for communication professionals, with social media bringing about real feedback for organisations and an opportunity to build relationships with customers and clients.

So, for anyone looking to sharpen their skills, connect with industry professionals and broaden their understanding of the industry the PRIA Winter School event is not to be missed.

See you there.

Have a great long weekend everyone!

Cheers, Jack