Happy #InternationalWomensDay! One of my favourite days – and no not because I’m a man-hating-feminist – but actually because, quite like International Men’s Day, I love that there’s a whole day dedicated to celebrating our gender.
I mean let’s face it, we’re pretty great so why wouldn’t you?
Jokes aside, I have a lot of time for this day because it wasn’t too long ago that females were entirely oppressed. Not allowed to vote, to perform, to express their views. Treated as a resource rather than living breathing human beings, and largely expected to cook, clean and care for children. In fact, to do anything that fell outside of this remit would not only be considered unusual – but downright disrespectful.
During my A-Levels, we had to choose a 100-year-long war to write about. Of course, most opted for the 100 years war itself, or combined WW1 & WW2 together (and added a bit). But actually, being completely passionate and intrigued about powerful women and how far we’ve come as a gender, I chose a different war. The war on women.
I started back in 1914, 100 years to the date of my writing of the essay and went from there. I covered women winning the right to vote, the first female prime minister, right up to the modern day, as us as females became an equal member of society. It gave me so much joy to recount from a time where women were so disrespected that their opinions weren’t deemed relevant enough to warrant a public vote, right up to the present day – where female CEOs, surgeons, soldiers, pilots etc. are as commonplace as they ever could be. Though I never lived through any period of maltreatment, it still makes me so happy, as a woman, to see just how far we’ve come.
Last year I celebrated this day by writing about my top 5 women inspirations in PR. This year, I’m doing the same. As one of my most popular posts since starting this blog over 2 years ago now, it’s a pleasure for me to write about the individuals that inspire and motivate me every day in my career. And though it’s incredibly hard to drill it down to 5 after meeting an affluence of such wonderfully inspirational women this year, I’m going to give it a bloody good go.
Here are my top women 5 inspirations in the PR world, and why they’re so brilliant.
My Top 5 ‘Women In PR’
Kate is a re-appearer from last year, and for no other reason than the fact that as a women leader of an incredibly successful PR agency, DeWinter, she’ll always be a huge inspiration to me.
A nominee for last year’s ‘Women In Business’ awards – I think this speaks volumes in itself. I’ll always find women who can hold their own, and be a great leader while staying true to themselves too, inspirational. And to me, this is Kate. She’s exactly the kind of person I’d love to become one day,
I’ve been so lucky to form a relationship with Ella this past year, and she’s now one of the most inspiring people to me within the whole Comms industry. Not only is she co-chair of the CIPR, but she’s also the PR powerhouse who created the weekly chat #PowerAndInfluence (that takes place every Wednesday at 8pm).
I’ve networked with so many amazing people through these discussions, and have even had the pleasure of hosting my own. To think that Ella is the brain behind this whole affair – making it work every single week without fail – well, that’s absolutely incredible to me. She truly is a serious thought leader in this industry and is one that I’ll ALWAYS look up to.
(Oh, and Ella also runs a fantastic blog full of some of the best insights into the PR and media relations industry that you’ll ever come across. As a young professional, it’s my number one place for learning. Ella, please never stop!)
Coming from somebody who’s dream it would be to work for the Police forces’ comms team one day, of course, Amanda was always going to make this list. She’s head of corporate communication at Greater Manchester Police, which is an incredibly impressive role and something I look upon with awe. But, despite this, what I find the most inspirational is that despite holding such a highly authoritative job, she always finds the time to speak with me too.
Whether it’s me asking questions about life in Police comms, or even just for a chat because I’m feeling a little bit lonely in Manchester – Amanda is forever on the other end for a chat. She doesn’t have to be, but she is. And quite frankly, I find how down to earth she is super inspiring.
Amanda also finds time to blog over at AmandaComms, which has been going for almost a decade now, and which is always full of insightful topics. I mean, the fact that it’s a top 10 PR blog for 2019 speaks for itself, right?
I’ve followed Sarah on Twitter for a while now. As the former President of the CIPR, I see her as a really big deal and an even bigger inspiration. Her Twitter and her blog is always a go-to place for me for advice and insights into the comms industry – and the fact that she’s such a thought leader in her space is massively inspirational to me.
Alongside being a prolific blogger, she’s also the author of ‘Once Upon A Time In PR’ is on my books-to-read list this year.
She doesn’t know me well, but as a young woman in PR, she continues to inspire me every day.
Jane doesn’t know me, but I know who she is as another truly inspiring agency Managing Director. Much like Kate from DeWinter, I’ll always be inspired by powerful women heading up their own successful businesses – and Jane is my second example of this.
She’s the MD of the profound WPR agency in Birmingham, who are one of the largest and most well-known PR agencies around. They’ve won over 80 awards and have an abundance of impressive clients. The part of WPR that evokes the most of my admiration, though, is the fact that Jane is at the forefront. She created and has owned the business since July 1997 (coincidentally, the month in which I was born) and has taken it from ‘one woman with a phone in a basement in Birmingham’ to a universally successful PR business.
Jane is a truly impressionable woman who’ll forever be an ongoing inspiration to me.
(And a few other mentions)
I said I’d stick to 5 and technically I have. But I couldn’t go talking about women in PR without mentioning the fantastic female PR students I have the privilege of knowing too. I’ve not long left this network of lovely people to spread my wings and graduate, but I’m still in contact with them and they still inspire me every day. Girls, university isn’t easy and maintaining a blog on top of that (which IS a lot of work) is hard, hard work.
So here are my extra entries, if for nothing else than the fact that they’re absolute Girl Bosses for managing to maintain the hard work of a blog, while smashing out university too.
Orlagh Shanks, owner of the incredible award-winning blog Orlagh Claire (and who is also a dear friend of mine).
Aoibheann (another good friend of mine but I’m NOT biased I promise), who is probably the best writer I know and is the owner of Aoibheann Marie.
Yana Milandinova, who I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching grow and develop as a blogger. She’s launched a fantastic series called ’10 Questions With’ and I’d definitely recommend checking out her blog too.
And, finally, the PR girls at Ulster, who always provide me with something interesting to read and are on hand to offer insightful and unique takes. Their posts can be found on the comprehensive Ulster PR Student blog.
Do you have any big women inspirations in business or PR? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter. May as well see how many more times we can fit the word ‘inspiration’ into a topic, right?
P.s. – thank you!
You know the score by now, I have a little endnote to post. I’m in a small but brilliant pool of talented and creative writers, and I really do often feel as though I don’t belong here. Therefore, to be in amongst the finalists for the UK blog awards for best PR, Marketing and Comms blog means so much to me… Beyond words.
It’s amazing in fact.
Therefore, I just wanted to say a big… No, a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who voted for me in the awards. If it wasn’t for the people who read my blog and support me every day, I almost certainly wouldn’t bother. So for that, endless gratitude is in order.
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