How a PR qualification helped CIPR Outstanding Young Communicator

How a PR qualification helped CIPR Outstanding Young Communicator

We were delighted to be able to sponsor the CIPR Excellence Award for Outstanding Young Communicator and even more delighted when it was won by one of our alumni - Lisa Gutcher from  Liquid.  Lisa studied the popular PR Diploma with us. After the excitement of the awards night (and meeting the very lovely Colin Jackson on stage) we caught up with Lisa to find out a bit more about how holding a qualification had helped her career journey. And what a journey it has been ! As we learn below Lisa (who is based on the Channel Islands) is now a PR Director, board director and shareholder of this highly successful consultancy.

Lisa, Can you tell us a bit more about your role at liquid and what sort of clients and PR you the involved with?

I'm a PR director, a board director and shareholder.  Day-to-day I can perform the role of account executive, drafting press releases one moment and account director the next, offering strategic advice to the CEO of a multinational organisation. At Liquid we all work as a team no matter what our job titles.  I work with a variety of clients across sectors such as finance, utilities, tourism, construction and education.

You studied the PR Diploma , how do you think that this helped you to reach your present position?

I first undertook a degree in PR and then followed this with my CIPR Diploma a few years later.  These studies have helped me to understand the theory of communication which in turn has made me a better communicator in the 'real world'. I'm convinced that having the combination of work experience and relevant qualifications helped me to secure my first roles in PR.  I also think choosing to go back to my studies five years after university gave me the opportunity to refresh and improve my skills.

Is PR on the channel islands different?

PR in the Channel Islands can be heavily biased towards media relations and therefore we spend a lot of time talking to journalists. Because the islands are small (Jersey is nine miles by five) we get to see clients and journalists frequently which allows us to build great relationships and rapport.  We're all friends as well as peers. I'm lucky enough at Liquid to have a diverse client base, which are Channel Island and UK based, all of which have different requirements so I get to utilise my full skill set!

How important was winning the award to you and the team at Liquid?

I was astounded and delighted when you read out my name at the ceremony, I genuinely thought the competition was so strong that I didn't stand a chance of winning.  I am really proud of this award; I remember when studying for my degree in PR, thinking that the winners of this award must be fantastic at what they do!!!  The whole team at Liquid is thrilled with the award as it demonstrates the level of talent we have fostered in our business (there are lots of my colleagues who also deserve awards)!

What would you say to other young communicators who are thinking about studying for a qualification?

Studying for a qualification really does give you a good base from which to build your career.  Teamed with lots of work experience if you're new to the industry, it can really help your CV to stand out.  It will give you confidence in your own ability and help you to improve your communication skills.

And would you recommend entering the awards?

Entering individual awards is a daunting thing to do because you're allowing your entire career to be judged by a group of people who do not know you.  However, I think it can be an incredible experience, whether you win or not.  It gave me an opportunity to step back and review what I had achieved to date and where my future career is headed.

Thanks Lisa and congratulations again from everyone at PR Academy!