PRIA Relaunches Mentoring Program With 15 Top Industry Heavyweights

On Wednesday, 18 November 2015, The PR industry was bolstered by the relaunch of the Public Relations Institute of Australia’s (PRIA) Mentor Program in New South Wales.

The program boasts 15 senior PR leaders including Ava Lawler (managing director, Weber Shandwick); Jackie Crossman (CEO, Crossman Communications); Jörn Sanda (head of insights, PPR); Lynnette Edmonds (talent director, Edelman) and experts from CBD and regional in-house and consultancy communicators.

The relaunch was hosted at the wonderfully creative surrounds of HSPR (Hausmann Group) based in Paddington, Sydney. Program participants on the night travelled from across the state to be there and those absent were introduced via video, a la Big Brother.

The night had a speed-dating feel with prospective mentors and mentees each given three minute bursts to get to know one another and explain what they wanted to achieve from the program. The next step for the Mentor Program – supported by PRIA’s New Emerging Practitioner Group (NEPG) – is to pair participants before commencing their official six-month commitment from January – June 2016.

Ishtar Schneider, PRIA NSW NEPG Chair, stated, “A mentor relationship can be invaluable for practitioners at any level. The communication industry is constantly evolving and the program will provide a great way for PRIA members to fine-tune their skills and knowledge to meet each new challenge (both personally and professionally) with confidence.”

“I’m thrilled to see such support for the re-launch of the program and we hope to make it bigger and better in 2016. We hope this will become a cornerstone program in PRIA’s professional development offerings in the future,” said Schneider.

Jackie Crossman, PRIA Fellow, CEO, Crossman Communications, said, “One of the important aspects of being part of any industry is the opportunity to be able to give back. I am humbled to be one of the 15 mentors participating in PRIA’s relaunch of the Mentor Program and I am excited about the prospect of working with one of the talented professionals we had in the room on the night.”

When questioned on the program and why he was involved, Peter Baker, PRIA Life Fellow, BakerPR, said, “PRIA’s newly introduced Mentoring Program has the potential to enhance the professionalism of many younger people entering the industry and some older practitioners who feel they need some extra or alternative advice on their career.

“Mentorship is with people who have, in some cases, decades of experience across a wide range of areas, from issues and crisis management, government and media relations and the drafting of strategies to the best way to ‘cold call’ a potential client, how to present ideas to a current client and how use social media to advantage,” he explained. “As a Mentor and past Golden Target winner, I aim to pass on as much of my knowledge as possible, by suggesting the best way to approach tasks and also how not to do things, based on my experiences.”

Neil O’Sullivan, national marketing and communication manager, PRIA, concluded, “It is fantastic to see the PRIA Mentor Program back up and running. We strongly believe that its reincarnation would be a huge offering from 2016 onwards. Mentoring is such a powerful aspect of professional development and it can be the difference in assisting a professional to move onto the next stage of their career. It is also humbling to see some of the biggest PR names in the business participate in the program, their experience and learnings are priceless. Our inaugural participants are very lucky.”