I’ve had a whirlwind year. From leading an award-winning programme at Cardiff University to setting up my own strategic communications consultancy, Lynn PR, 2019 has been one of the busiest years for me; it’s also the year where I feel like I’ve given back the most to the PR and communications sector.
I’ve always said that our PR and communications sector in the UK is a family – we care for each other, support each other, and help each other thrive. We collectively raise the standards to make ours a strategic profession and go out of our way to create better learning, development and networking opportunities for our peers.
I have actively supported this community of like-minded, ambitious comms pros over the years, via my leadership roles with CIPR, PRCA and GCS. And this year we did something truly special.
In Wales, PRCA Cymru, CIPR Cymru, GCS and CommsCymru came together to create a one-of-a-kind collaborative series on the OASIS Framework, the GCS framework for campaign planning (for those of you who don’t know the Framework, you can find more details here). It all started with a coffee in Cardiff; a few of us – Ben Kitching, Tom Evans, Laurian Hubbard and I – got together and identified a need for more free events for both public sector and private sector comms pros in Wales. We also wanted these events to be meaningful and contribute to a consistent learning experience. And voila! Our OASIS series was born. As was the super clever hashtag #CymruConnect.
We’ve held five successful (often oversubscribed) events across Wales. In doing so, we’ve brought together some of the UK’s most senior practitioners and successful comms teams to Wales who have generously shared their time, insights and advice. From CIPR President 2019 Emma Leech and head of comms at DVSA Rhiannon Clancy, to Cowshed chief Vicky Spencer, head of comms at North Lanarkshire Council Stephan Penman, Director of Comms for the UK Government in Wales Ashok Ahir, Non Jenkins and Rachel Moss from the Wales Audit Office, the team at Golley Slater, and more, the experts were there to share ideas and support this PR community to grow and develop, so we can truly claim our place as a strategic management discipline. I was lucky to be a speaker at the final session on Scoring with the wonderful Andrew Bruce Smith from Escherman – you can read more about our event here.
We brought together nearly 300 PR practitioners to these events across Wales in 2019; the series was so popular that it has been rolled out in the South West where another 125 PR pros have come together to learn about the OASIS Framework. And there’s talk of the series being replicated across other nations and regions in the UK.
In my roles, I organise several events for PR and comms pros. What made this series stand out for me was the close collaboration between multiple organisations, especially excellent joined up working between PRCA Cymru and CIPR Cymru, towards a shared vision of learning and development for practitioners. That and the low cost, creative thinking that made a series like this come together across a whole country, quickly, free of charge, and with a stellar line up of speakers.
It makes me reflect on the power, dedication and commitment that PR and comms practitioners have towards each other, and their profession.
And I am grateful for this family of ours.
PS – Special thanks to Alex Aiken, Francis Ingham, Alastair McCapra and Emma Leech for supporting this joint venture from the very start.
This article was written by Shayoni Lynn, Director at Lynn PR.