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Women in PR and PR Week launch transformed mentoring scheme for 2020/21

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    • Applications now open for a record 25 mentee spaces 
    • Five mentor positions specifically for Welsh members of Women in PR Cymru
    • 12 new ‘industry heavyweight’ mentors, including five male mentors
    • 100 per cent digital programme to ensure the scheme remains accessible 

Celebrating its seventh consecutive year, the Women in PR and PRWeek Mentoring Programme opens for applications on Monday 11th May 2020 and will pair a record 25 mentees with the best PR and Comms industry heavyweights from across the UK.

The larger and 100 per cent digital scheme welcomes 12 new mentors, including five male leaders, who will actively champion and support women moving into leadership. In total there will be 25 mentor/mentee partnerships, with five mentee places earmarked for Women in PR Cymru applicants and 20 mentee places for applicants from the rest of the UK. 

Sarah Samee, Women in PR Vice President, 2015 mentee and 2020 mentor, comments:

“The need for career guidance, support and advice has never been more important than it is today, which is why we have increased the size and scope of our flagship mentoring programme, so we can help even more ambitious women. We have some incredible new mentors on this year’s panel, spanning a diverse range of sectors, who are all leaders in their field and will help our mentees navigate through this challenging time. 

“Women in PR believes that male changemakers, who share our values, play a critical role in improving diversity and equality in the industry. Last year we introduced male ambassadors to the organisation and we are now, for the first time, including some male leaders as mentors on the scheme. Through ‘reverse mentoring’ these mentors will deepen their understanding of the challenges, and sometimes negative experiences, many women in our industry have and our hope is that they will use this insight to make changes within their own organisations.

 “The current adversity and changes to the way we live and work has presented us with the opportunity to innovate the programme. The new digital format not only safeguards the wellbeing of participants, but also increases accessibility and removes any perceived regional barriers. In this respect, we hope to welcome a larger and even more diverse group of mentees than ever before.”

Rachel Moss, Women in PR Cymru Co-President, comments: 

“It’s great to see the mentoring scheme going from strength to strength each year. The Women in PR network in Wales is vibrant and to be able to support our members in this way, with focused support from some of the very best talent in the industry, is just priceless.”  

How it Works

The 2020 Mentoring Programme will be 100 per cent digital, with meetings conducted over video link or phone. All associated events will also go ahead in a virtual space.

The deadline for applications is 12th June 2020 and the application questionnaire is available on the Women in PR website and here.

Following a rigorous judging process conducted by the Mentoring Board (which includes previous mentors, mentees, the Women in PR Committee and PRWeek), final stage candidates will be invited for a telephone interview before being offered a place in the programme and paired with a mentor. Women in PR is piloting male mentors for the first year, mentees will have a choice whether they wish to be mentored by a man or prefer a female mentor. Women in PR will gauge the impact and response before deciding whether male mentors will become an ongoing part of the annual scheme.

The Mentoring Programme lasts for 12 months starting in August 2020 and involves three full mentoring sessions plus ad-hoc discretionary support.

The 2020/21 criteria for entry are as follows:

  • Leadership potential (demonstrable experience to date; a leader of the future)
  • Clear objectives for career (and how access to a mentor will help her get there, including helping to overcome any perceived obstacles)
  • Industry engagement (demonstrable effort to engage in key issues and effect change – for example, being an active member of a trade body, or helping / driving new initiatives to help improve our industry)

2020 Mentors:

  • Amanda Allan, head of brand PR, BA
  • Rachel Bell, chairman, The Academy Media Group
  • Graz Belli, co-founder, Third City
  • Gay Collins, founding partner, Montfort Communications
  • Misha Dhanak, former founder & CEO, The Romans
  • Asad Dhunna, founder, The Unmistakables
  • Seb Dilleyston, joint MD, Hope&Glory
  • Victoria Ford, director, Perago Wales
  • Rachel Friend, senior business leader and communications consultant
  • Nicola Green, director of corporate affairs, O2
  • David Holdstock, director of communications, LGA
  • Molly Hooper Aldridge, former global CEO and co-founder, M&C Saatchi PR
  • Ali Jeremy, director of communications and engagement, The Royal Parks
  • Ronke Lawal, founder, Ariatu PR
  • Annabel Lloyd, freelance consultant
  • Michele Moore Duhen, senior PR manager, Capgemini
  • Emily Morgan, MD, consumer, The Red Consultancy
  • Ginny Paton, managing partner, Iris
  • Tanya Ridd, director of communications, international, Snap Inc.
  • Sarah Samee, group head of external communications, Lloyd’s Register
  • Sarah Scholefield, UK & Europe CEO, Grayling
  • Vicki Spencer-Francis, MD, Cowshed
  • Paul Stephenson, partner and co-founder, Hanbury Strategy
  • Jennifer Thomas, director of internal communications, Direct Line
  • Tom Willetts, head of media relations, Prudential

The Women in PR Mentoring Programme was set up in 2014 as a joint initiative with PRWeek UK to identify, nurture and inspire the next generation of female leaders. The scheme was born out of a desire to enable women to confidently and successfully overcome their unique challenges in order to progress in their careers to achieve their ultimate ambitions. 

Over the last six years, the scheme has supported 75 ambitious women from a range of backgrounds, and with an array of career goals and challenges, to achieve their individual goals. Whether in-house, agency or as a freelance, women can face different challenges to men as they step up the PR career ladder. These include navigating a boardroom often dominated by men, negotiating equal pay or juggling work and family or caring responsibilities


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