CIPR members in the North East have elected a number of the region’s professionals from a cross-section of industries after the amount of interest in joining the group prompted an election.

The move sees the voluntary committee expand to include 14 members, who are planning a number of professional events on a variety of topics over the next 12 months, as well as celebrating a steady annual increase in membership across the region.

Group secretary, Anne-Marie Lacey, PR & Communications Director at agency Filament PR, explained: “Over the course of 2016, some of the team had stepped down due to other commitments, so several non-executive roles were available as we approached our AGM.

“As you’d expect, we asked for interested parties to consider putting themselves forward, but it was a pleasant surprise to be inundated with enquiries.”

PR is a thriving, growing industry and the CIPR boasts 350 members across the region. In the end, seven local CIPR members officially put themselves forward for the few spots available, which meant  a full election was required for all non-executive positions under CIPR rules.

Four existing group members, Laurel Hetherington, Debbie Sharratt, Jule Wilson and Liz Davies, kept their seats after the votes had been counted, and four new members were also confirmed.

Chartered practitioner Gill Stephenson-Russell, Head of National Communications and Customer Services at the Marine Management. Organisation, was joined by Laura Ball, Communications Assistant at the Diocese of Newcastle, Tudor Tamas, Head of Social Media and PR for media production start-up, Factory51Media, and Becky Beaumont, Media and PR Executive at the NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

Following the AGM, the new committee met and voted to co-opt another new member to join its ranks. Laura Richards, of Northstar Ventures joins CIPR Fellow and former CIPR President Tony Bradley as a co-opted member, completing the line-up, and bringing the North East committee to maximum capacity.

Chair of the group, independent consultant Sally Pearson said: “The PR industry is maturing as we all work to professionalise; more and more organisations are recognising the power of public relations and the positive influence it can have on business and the bottom line.

“The fact our AGM and associated election attracted candidates of such high calibre and varied backgrounds illustrates this.

Our focus now is on working together to ensure all of our members across the region get the absolute maximum benefit from their membership, so they can be the best professionals they can be.”

Laura’s will host her first event as a committee member on May 2nd, as part of the ExPRience [correct] series at Northern Stage. The evening, which will include refreshments and networking, will feature experienced PR, marketer and brand consultant, Hannah Layford, who’ll be talking about the realities of freelancing.

Sally went on: “This event will be the first of many that we’ll be organising for the coming year, and we’re also planning to join forces  with our counterparts in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, and the North West, to bring the Northern Conference to the region in the autumn, solidifying the North East’s position as a major player in the future of such a vibrant profession.”

To attend the free ExPRience event with Hannah Layford, register on Eventbrite at
To find out more about the new-look CIPR North East committee, visit Or for more details
about the PR profession and the CIPR, visit