Engage podcast series

Published every quarter, Engage is a CIPR podcast digging deep into the challenges and opportunities facing PR and comms practitioners right now.

This series brings a range of perspectives to the discussions from across the industry, offering insight as well as food for thought to learn and challenge your own mindset – regardless of where you are in your PR and comms career.

Engage has been produced for PR practitioners but the themes explored will prove valuable for anyone working alongside PR and comms teams, or with an interest in the issues affecting the profession.

CIPR members can earn 5 CPD points for listening to an episode of Engage.

Our newest podcast: PR in the age of AI

Dec 2023

Download the full transcript (pdf)

A year on from the launch of ChatGPT, host and chair of the AI in PR panel, Andrew Bruce Smith, marks the natural language processing tool’s first birthday by reflecting on the technological advancements we’ve seen in AI over the past year and its impact on the future of PR and comms teams.
Featuring Swati Virmani (senior lecturer at De Montfort University) and Antony Cousins (executive director for strategy at Cision), in this episode, panellists discuss the ethical considerations and challenges while weighing up the benefits of adopting AI by practitioners and teams.

Share your thoughts about the topics discussed in this episode on LinkedIn or X, formerly Twitter, using #CIPREngage and tagging @CIPR_Global.
If you're a member of the CIPR, you can log 5 CPD points for listening to this episode.

Episode 1: Doing diversity differently

Diversity is about far more than just ticking boxes and as the CIPR's 'Race in PR' report shows, there is still much more for the sector to do to better reflect the society that it communicates with.

This debate highlights the findings from the report, why the PR industry is still struggling to attract diverse talent and what organisations should consider when shaping their diversity inclusion programmes and policies.

With guest presenters Avril Lee, Katrina Marshall, Melissa Lawrence and Sara Hawthorn.

Nov 2020

Download full transcript  (pdf)

Episode 2: Building resilience 

2021 may not have got off with the start we’d all hoped for, making navigating the ongoing COVID-19 crisis even more challenging for self-employed practitioners and teams.

For this quarter’s episode, guests Amanda Coleman, Rebecca Mander and Sharon Flaherty will be sharing their first-hand experiences with host Dan Jones to provide practical tips and takeaways for building resilience and accessing support in today’s tough climate.

Feb 2021

Download full transcript   (pdf)

Episode 3: Hybrid working

The pandemic has provided an opportunity to explore how we can work differently in a post-COVID world. It’s a very different landscape for a lot of organisations with many proposing to adopt a hybrid working model as opposed to going back to the office full-time. 

This episode explores the opportunities and benefits for PR and comms practitioners of implementing a flexible hybrid working approach and what needs to be considered – including technology, ways of working, the patterns, the rhythm of the organisation, and how it all interlinks together.

With guest presenters Jenni Field, Kate Shaw, Martin Flegg and Sofia Cann.

May 2021

Download full transcript  (pdf)


Episode 4: Inspiring Social Purpose

Social purpose is continuing to capture the attention of the C-suite and boardrooms but what exactly is it and what role can PR and comms teams play in supporting their clients and organisations to be more purposeful? 

In this episode, host Andy Green FCIPR and guests Shannon Walker founder of Social Disruption, Matt Appleby director at Grow Social Capital and Ben Caspersz founder and managing director at Claremont, explore the misconceptions around social purpose and why in a post-pandemic world, purpose has emerged as an even stronger imperative. 

Aug 2021

Download full transcript   (pdf)

Episode 5: Strategic communicators 

The entire world has been changed by the Coronavirus pandemic and as communicators, we've seen boards come forward and ask for interventions and advice in ways that have never happened before.

In this episode, host Sarah Pinch and guests Alex Aiken, Executive Director for Government Communications and James Powell, Head of Group Communications at Irwin Mitchell explore what it means to be a strategic communicator, to be a professional, and how communicators are elevating and repositioning themselves.

Nov 2021
Download full transcript  (pdf)

Episode 6: Accessible communications

One billion people, or 15% of the world's population, experience some form of disability with the World Health Organisation estimating that two billion people will need at least one assistive communication, memory, or hearing aid in the next 10 years.

In episode 6, host Zach Cutler, CEO of Propel, and guests explore the role PR and comms practitioners can play in helping businesses and organisations better understand, and think differently about, accessibility and standards.

Apr 2022

Download full transcript  (pdf)

Episode 7: The current state of public affairs

Research has found that public trust in Government and in elected politicians is at an all-time low in England right now. With a number of scandals over the past few years in politics, it is more crucial than ever that public affairs professionals show that they are being ethical and transparent and are working to support the UK’s democratic policy-making process. Hosted by Max Sugarman, CIPR Public Affairs Group chair, this episode explores the current state of lobbying and the public affairs industry, as well as advice on how practitioners can be more transparent and open – demonstrating best practice in any future public affairs activity.

Aug 2022 

Download the full transcript  (pdf)

Episode 8: Fighting climate change disinformation

Climate has become a core area of focus for the CIPR – with the formation of the climate change panel and the series of post-COP events covering everything from behavioural science to the intersection of climate and health. 

Host Shayoni Lynn alongside a lineup of expert guests will examine how fossil fuel interests have muddied the debate over climate, how information pollution creates inaction and how conspiracy theorists are stirring up culture wars over climate. 

Oct 2022

Download the full transcript   (pdf)

Episode 9: Influencing the future

Recorded live at the CIPR’s annual 2022 conference, this special episode of Engage hosted by Debbie West and Sara-Anne Mills-Bricknell from the CIPR’s Podcast Editorial Board, explores the key trends shaping the future of the industry. From how technology is changing the shape of public relations, the future of mediascape, and the increasing importance of purpose, culture and employee relationships, guests share their thoughts on the conference's theme, 'Influencing the Future'.

Nov 2022

Download full transcript   (pdf)

Episode 10: ESG

Doing business responsibly is a growing priority for many organisations, particularly as they are increasingly being held to account by their stakeholders.

In this episode, host Kate Fergusson asks our panel of ESG experts how PR and communications professionals can best support their clients and companies in their ambition to clarify and communicate ESG strategies with credibility.

Jan 2023

Download the full transcript  (PDF)


Tell us what you think

Episode 11: Reflections on tech, diversity and entering the profession

In celebration of the CIPR’s 75th anniversary, this episode of Engage explores how the PR industry has evolved and the challenges practitioners and teams are still grappling with. From social inclusion to diversity, and the impact of technology on the outcomes and skills needed to work in the sector, host Calhan Behrendt and guests reflect on their own experiences and discuss the strides made by the profession to date. 

Mar 2023

Download the full transcript  (PDF)


Episode 12: What's the value of brand?

In this episode of Engage, host Rebecca Jabbar media trainer and founder of Brand Champion Bootcamp, delves into the evolution of brands, examining how successful brands have built their reputations, grow their customer bases, and use employer brand to attract and retain employees, and what strategies they have used to do so.

With guest presenters:
  • Stephen Cheliotis, global brand insight director at Gravity Global and chairperson at Superbrands Council UK
  • Alex Francis, brand manager at Canal and River Trust
  • Sabrina Rossetti, global brand and talent engagement lead at Mimecast

Aug 2023

Download full transcript   (pdf)

Episode 13 Winning the War For Talent

Is there a War For Talent in PR and Communications? How can companies attract, develop, and retain key people while ensuring inclusive onboarding? In this episode of Engage, John Clegg, Internal Communications Manager at HR Wallingford, discusses these questions with Christine Yuan, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at BCW, and Toluwani Omotoye, Communications Coordinator at Global X ETFs.
Sep 2023
Download full transcript   (pdf)

Episode 14: The Rise of Spin and Celebrity

Nov 2023
From Spice Girls to social media – this episode takes a deep dive into the 1990s, exploring the pivotal era that reshaped celebrity culture, influence and power. It examines the commodification of fame and the evolution of media relations, offering insights into the transformative role of PR in an increasingly digital age.

With host Mark Phillimore, Senior Lecturer on the Master Programme in Public Relations at the University of Greenwich, and guests: Rob McGibbon, author, celebrity interviewer and journalist Mark Borkowski, Founder of Borkowski
Download full transcript    (pdf)

Episode 15: Horizon – the future of PR and comms

Nov 2023

Download the full transcript (pdf)

In the fourth and final episode in the series celebrating the CIPR’s 75thanniversary , host Henry Heming interviews speakers and attendees at the Horizon conference focusing on the future of the profession.

Featuring interviews (and time stamps) with:
00:44 - Sheeraz Gulsher, co-founder at People Like Us, discusses creative campaigns and practical tips on making PR more inclusive.

07:17 - Fatima Banglawala, comms and public affairs manager, MedTech UK and Ireland, Johnson and Johnson summarises some of the key takeaways from Jay Richards, co-founder at Imagen’s opening keynote on Gen Z.

09:37 - Trudy Lewis, founder at Colinear, shares her favourite takeaways from the conference’s morning sessions.

10:37 - Grace Fogarty, founder at Grace Fogarty Training, shares her simple, memorable tools for feeling more confident when networking and quickly developing meaningful connections. 

15:23 - Subira Jones, also known as The Corporate Hippie, explains the difference between feeling rundown and being burned out. Taking listeners from powerless to empowered, explaining how PR and comms practitioners can fireproof theirs (and their colleagues) career.

21:14 - Diana Verde Nieto, co-founder at Positive Luxury, discuss how we can move towards being positively good when it comes to sustainability through the ‘reimagining model’.

27:27 - Alan Oram, director at Alive with Ideas, shares his reaction to Mark Shayler’s session.

27:53 - Mark Shayler, owner at Ape, makes the case for the role of innovative and disruptive thinking in challenging the status quo and bringing about sustainable societal change. 

36:05 - Rachel Miller, founder at All Things IC, summarises her favourite session from the conference.

35:35 - Katie King, CEO at AI in Business, addresses the opportunities, challenges and ethical questions which are raised by increased integration of AI tools and platforms in PR workflows, project management and content creation. 

42:05 - Son Pham, senior campaign manager at Manifest, captures the atmosphere at the conference and his personal highlight.

42:29 - Alex Partridge, founder of UNILAD and LADBible shares how the media landscape is changing, what the future holds for media, and why adaptability is your greatest strength.

46:22 - Advita Patel, 2025 CIPR president, shares her final thoughts from the conference.

Share your thoughts about the topics discussed in this episode on LinkedIn or X, formerly Twitter, using #CIPREngage and tagging @CIPR_Global.
If you're a member of the CIPR, you can log 5 CPD points for listening to this episode.

If you've listened to one or more of the Engage podcasts, please take a few minutes to let the team of volunteers behind Engage know what you think of the podcasts.

Complete the survey

Thanks to our volunteers

Thank you to the CIPR Podcast Editorial Board for developing and producing the Engage series.

Chair: Debbie West Chart.PR, MCIPR, Audere Communications
Vice-Chair: Kenny McDonald MCIPR, The Scottish Government
Sara-Anne Mills-Bricknell MCIPR, See Media
Tim Hudson Chart.PR, MCIPR, Cancer Research UK
Iain Hodgson MCIPR, Irwin Mitchell Solicitors LLP
Andrew Bruce Smith FCIPR, Escherman
Nicky Garsten Chart.PR, MCIPR, University of Greenwich
Davina Wyper Chart.PR, Dip CIPR, MCIPR, Hamilton Walker PR
Amy Jimenez Bedrock MCIP

Configure: Item