Originally from Nottingham, I joined Outwrite PR in 2012, becoming owner and managing director in 2018. I’m a chartered PR practitioner and currently the chair of the North West regional committee.
How long have you been a volunteer?
I’ve been a volunteer with the CIPR for eight years.
What made you want to volunteer with us and how did you get involved?
When I first joined the CIPR I used to help out informally at events such as passing out name badges or signing people in. Someone suggested I join the committee and I gave it a go, and it all snowballed from there.
What kind of work do you do on the committee?
I have an amazing team, so I just try and ensure they’re happy, and be the conduit between them and CIPR HQ. Previously I’ve supported on social media and been treasurer, but just because you’re looking after one element doesn’t mean you can’t help out with another.
Any particular highlight or achievement you're most proud of? Did you volunteer through the pandemic and how was that?
The highlights have been the connections that I’ve made. Some I’d consider friends, while some I’ve gone on to work together professionally. There’s always someone there on the end of a phone so I can pick their brains when I want a different viewpoint.
At the height of the pandemic, having a dynamic, proactive and committed group was absolutely crucial as we stopped meeting face to face and started doing everything online.
I hope this showed the North West PR community that we were there to support them, whether it was CPD events, or signposting people to membership benefits like the mental health hotline, careers advice or interview tips.
Why is volunteering important?
It’s a chance to work on your skills on your own terms. You can work on elements of PR or completely unrelated parts of life you’re not familiar with and get out of your comfort zone.
There’s also the satisfaction of giving something back, and knowing you’ve done something worthwhile off your own bat, and not because you’ve been paid to do it.
What would you say to another member thinking of volunteering?
Speak to former and existing committee members. There can be misconceptions which stop people joining in, so having an honest conversation can help dispel those.
The time commitment can be a worry. There’s an idea you’ll spend a certain number of hours each week, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
One of my priorities as chair was making sure we value people’s time on the committee and didn’t do things for the sake of it. For every minute someone’s volunteering, I want it to have an impact.