Jolly? Good? Fellow!

15 May

So, after fifteen years as a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (MCIPR), I have today been awarded a fellowship (FCIPR).

The CIPR’s letter tells me it’s their ‘highest membership grade’ and that it’s been awarded for ‘the outstanding contribution [I] have made to the CIPR and the PR industry’.

Both claims are open to question.

Chartered Practitioner status is much more deserving of praise because it’s based on attainment, not just longevity (when I first joined as a member, a fellowship would have become mine by right after a mere ten years).

I’ve avoided joining things, so have not gained this recognition through years of dedicated committee work. Others are in a better position than me to judge my contribution to the PR industry, but it’s where I’ve worked and it’s what I’ve taught for some 25 years (so I should have contributed something).

I’ve also been rather a ‘critical friend’ of the CIPR during this time, but have belatedly come to the view that our industry/profession does need a strong body to champion professional standards and to speak up for practitioners and educators. So I have always encouraged students and practitioners to join.

I also feel that one representative body would be better for us than two – or twenty (I’m concerned that there will soon be bodies representing eg internal communicators, public affairs practitioners, those in analyst relations, marcoms etc). We’re a surprisingly fissiparous bunch for people known for their skills in relationship building and practical problem solving.

But that’s for another discussion. Today, I’ll pause to mark another milestone on my journey. Jolly? Rarely. Good? Not always. Fellow? Finally.

Let me also note that I did not seek or pursue this recognition. Had it not been for the persistence of a friend in the business I’d have carried on as before. We can all benefit from some objective public relations advice.

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