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‘Meet the Mentors’ event to launch the 2020 Women in PR and PRWeek Mentoring Programme

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‘Meet the Mentors’ – Launch of the 2020 Women in PR and PRWeek Mentoring Programme

Celebrating its seventh consecutive year, the Women in PR and PRWeek Mentoring Programme is open for applications and closes on 12th June.

This year there will be 25 mentor/mentee partnerships, with five mentee places earmarked for Women in PR Cymru applicants. We are also welcoming 12 new mentors, including five male leaders, who will actively champion and support women moving into leadership.

We’d love to invite you to Meet the Mentors, a virtual event that is totally free and hosted on Zoom.

It is on Wednesday 20th May, from 18.45 BST.

It will be an opportunity to learn more about the programme, meet the mentors and previous mentees, have your questions answered and enjoy a BYO glass while networking with senior figures from Women in PR during a fun and topical quiz.

Speakers at the event include:

  • Women in PR President, Bibi Hilton
  • Women in PR Vice President and Mentor, Sarah Samee
  • PRWeek UK Editor, John Harrington
  • Senior Business Leader and Mentor, Rachel Friend

Please register your interest for the event and we will email through the Zoom login details.

We’re delighted that Vicki Spencer-Francis, MD of The Cowshed based Cardiff, is on board this year and our Blog Editor, Natalie Trice, spoke to her about why she wanted to get involved and what giving back to the industry means to her.

Over to Vicki.

What made you want to take part in the Women in PR Mentor Scheme?  

I wanted to have the opportunity to offer the advice I never received when I was younger so people don’t make the same mistakes that I made!

What does a mentor mean to you? 

I’ve never had a mentor in a structured way, like this programme offers. I’ve been very fortunate to have made some wonderful friends in the industry. They have supported me through the ups and downs. They’ve helped me grow, make the right decisions and above all believed in me and my skill set when I didn’t see it clearly myself. The team at Cowshed are also mentors to me. Working with a group of career focused creatives, certainly makes you hold the mirror up to your own weaknesses. This is helpful but also terrifying!

What role do you think you can play? 

I have a broad knowledge having worked across entertainment, private, public and charity sectors since I landed in London in 1996 so I know a lot about lots of different industries. I’ve been on a huge journey since then through some really low lows and some tremendously high highs. My confidence has held me back quite a lot and is something I have to work on. The same goes for my leadership. I’m not entirely comfortable with the situation I’m in. I pinch myself that I’ve got my own agency and that we have clients, and that I’ve got anything of interest to say!

I hope I can encourage women in the industry to take risks. Push themselves forward in situations, even if it might feel uncomfortable. Say yes more than no and believe in themselves.

How would you like to see the PR industry change when it comes to women in leadership and senior positions? 

We’re in a period of incredible change and working cultures are changing already. We’re seeing  a greater acceptance of home working of course right now. Alongside this, perhaps if there is a greater acceptance of shared duties at home, some of the things holding women back become less of an issue.

I’d also like to see more women who find themselves in positions of authority, support those on their way up so more women have the courage to push themselves forward and feel supported in doing so.

How do you see COVID-19 changing the way we work in PR and the new opportunities it could bring? 

When we set up Cowshed in 2014 we put purpose at the very heart of our mission and vision, and I believe we will start to see more agencies moving in the same direction.

With our geography shrinking, I see a sharper focus on local and hyperlocal news. We’ll remain interested in what’s happening in the communities we live in and have got to know a whole lot better. That will mean we must make sure our comms are more relevant and flexible.

And as budgets shrink, our strategic thinking, audience and media insights and crisis comms will see businesses look to us, ahead of traditional advertising agencies, to rebuild their brand as they emerge.

If you had one piece of advice for our mentees, what would it be? 

Speak with your heart as equally as your head.

So, if you are interested in applying the deadline for applications is 12th June.

We would like to thank everyone who is helping with this programme at a time when we know people are busy, and you can find out more about Vicki’s fantastic work at wearecowshed.co.uk