Natasha Calder  

Career background
I currently work in local government communications, engaging, supporting and representing people from my home town. I started working with my local council almost six years ago but before that I worked in the private sector managing a client base providing project support by sourcing models, actors and brand ambassadors for PR events and activities.  

How long have you been a volunteer?
A rewarding 3 months! 

What made you want to volunteer with us and how did you get involved?
I’d reached a point where I wanted to explore the wider industry, meet new people and discover new perspectives. I found a passion for professional development and for the industry as a whole, so I set up my blog, ‘make this viral’, began networking and doing my CPD. I actually signed up to the CIPR Progress scheme and it was my mentor who suggested I look into volunteering.  

What kind of work do you do on the committee?
I volunteer for both the CIPR North West and the CIPR Local Public Services committees and though I’m still quite new, I’ve realised that involvement is pretty much whatever you want it to be! Over the last few months I’ve encouraged members to share quotes and videos on social media to celebrate International Women’s Day, sourced speakers for lunch time webinars and most recently, I volunteered to be the North West committee’s PRide awards coordinator, which involves me working directly with HQ to arrange a regional event in recognition of practitioners in the area. 

What’s the best thing about volunteering?
It’s such an achievement to be part of a community that supports professional growth, improves practice and encourages people to position themselves as leaders. 

Why is volunteering important?
Volunteering improves practical skills but it’s also great for relationship building and expanding your network. Giving back to an industry I’m passionate about makes me feel excited and inspired again!  

What would you say to another member thinking of volunteering?
Don’t underestimate the commitment but don’t be put off by it either. Without CIPR volunteers, many of the events, workshops and training sessions you benefit from couldn’t take place. It’s like a mini community – everyone I’ve come across has been really friendly and supportive.