News: Avril Lee and Richard Bagnall honored at CIPR Annual Conference

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MORE than 300 PR and business professionals gathered at London’s iconic National Gallery and online yesterday for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ 2022 Annual Conference.

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The Conference – themed around influencing the future – saw presentations from Peter Cardwell (political editor and presenter Talk Radio), Sophia Smith-Galer (author and journalist), Nina Schick (director, Tamang Ventures), Simon Baugh (chief executive, Government Communication Service), Carrie Rose (co-founder, Rise at Seven), and many others discussing topics including generative AI and deepfakes, holding attention in a changing media landscape, the challenges brands face when trying to “do the right thing”, and understanding PR’s role as communicators in the co-existing fields of ESG and sustainability.

Chaired by Whitney Simon from PR agency, Missive, the conference included a tribute to HM the Queen as photos and memories from members who had the privilege of meeting her through their work were displayed.

President, Rachel Roberts, used the opportunity of the conference, the first in-person conference since 2019, to award the CIPR’s annual Stephen Tallents Medal and President’s Medal.

The Sir Stephen Tallents Medal has been awarded to Avril Lee. Lee is head of health, Europe at Zeno Group, chair of the CIPR’s Diversity and Inclusion Network, and a trustee for Doctors of the World UK. In addition to her distinguished career working at a host of global consultancies, president Rachel Roberts noted in the awarding of this medal, Avril’s “significant contribution to making change in relation to the CIPR and the PR industry’s perspective on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion”.

The 2022 President’s Medal has been awarded to Richard Bagnall (pictured). Bagnall is CEO of CARMA’s European and American businesses and has recently stepped down as chair of the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC). Bagnall has worked in the measurement and evaluation of communications for nearly three decades, co-authored the 2013 UK government’s Capability Review of Digital Communications, and has been a member of the UK Government’s GCS / Cabinet Office Evaluation Council for the last ten years. President Rachel Roberts, on awarding this medal spoke of how Bagnall has “advised international clients on the best ways to measure the effectiveness of their PR and prove its value to the organization for more than 25 years. During this time, he has built and led some of the world’s foremost communications measurement consultancies including Metrica, Gorkana and PRIME Research.”

Lee said, “I am honored to receive this award from the CIPR, who have led the way in the professional and ethical development of public relations. With my work in global communications, particularly in health, I’m proud of having helped to support patients and their families to make informed choices. My passion is to make our industry fit for all; a place where smart, creative people can build successful careers and be recognized and rewarded regardless of their background or ethnicity.”

Bagnall said, “I am deeply honored and very proud to be awarded the President’s Medal from the CIPR. I look at the list of previous winners of the President’s Medal and feel completely humbled, knowing that I am standing on the shoulders of giants. As a friend of mine says, careers tend to make more sense looking backwards than forwards. I feel very lucky that mine has been so fun and interesting, initially as a PR practitioner but primarily on the other side of the fence, helping to make sense of the effectiveness of our work. For PR and communications to secure the seat at the table that it deserves while defending and enhancing its budgets, it is imperative that it can point to the true value that it contributes. I have attempted to make this process as simple as possible, and demystify some of the elements that can appear confusing and difficult. As the pressure on all of us to be fully accountable increases, it has been my passion to help as many PR pros as possible with this challenge.”