That Was the Year That Was: Katrine Pearson, chair, CIPR Scotland

GOOD year, bad year? With 2014 drawing to a close, we ask Katrine Pearson, chair of CIPR Scotland and managing director of the Edinburgh office of PR agency, 3×1 Public Relations: ‘How has it been for you?’

Briefly, what is it that you do?

I am managing director of the Edinburgh office of 3×1 Public Relations and also lead the CIPR committee in Scotland which provides on-the-ground services and resources for members.

Choose three words that sum up 2014 (so far), from a professional point of view.

Challenging. Fast-paced. Inspirational.

In 2013, what was your biggest ambition for 2014, and to what extent did you achieve it?

To survive it (see below) – I have… just!

How has 2014 (so far) been for you, personally?

It’s been a whirlwind. 2014 was obviously a huge year for Scotland. I was gripped by the referendum and being involved, in a professional capacity, in events like Glasgow 2014 and the Ryder Cup meant it was all go. It’s been a big year for the CIPR as well, under the leadership of a new CEO – Alastair McCapra – and an inspiring president – Stephen Waddington. Lots of change that’s exciting to be part of. PR is a dynamic industry, it needs a professional body that reflects that.

Any changes this year in technology, legislation, the economy, etc that have had a relatively significant impact on the business?

We’ve got to be where people consume news and information and that’s changing all the time. Digital is huge and this year we’ve seen the meteoric rise of the ‘vlogger’ (Zoella has just launched the fastest-selling debut novel since records began) and the comeback of the podcast, thanks to Serial.

I don’t think any industry remained untouched by the referendum but, for public relations, it was a chance to show our value. Although most businesses were reticent to put their heads above the parapet and speak publicly on their views it did thrust the need for political monitoring and public affairs counsel into the spotlight.

Also, the committee leading the Scottish Parliament’s Inquiry into lobbying held a debate on its initial findings in November and this will be one to watch for PA practitioners. The CIPR has always been clear on its stance: more transparency in public affairs activity is welcomed; however, legislation isn’t the right approach.

What looking forward to, in 2015 – personally and professionally?

Working on some new CIPR activity to bring businesses and educational establishments closer together, some fantastic events the Scotland committee has in the pipeline and driving business growth in the day job.

Personally, the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition and the second season of The Returned – we’ve been waiting since summer 2013!