The CIPR Sheffield Learning from Leaders Roundtable

Our Managing Director Caroline Woffenden shares her thoughts on a roundtable event she joined to discuss the PR industry in Sheffield.

CIPR, the industry body of the Public Relations ‘profession’ (for those that aren’t aware…) hosted a Sheffield Roundtable earlier this week. An inaugural gathering for the city.

I was pleased to attend, representing my small pocket of the PR field, along with the ‘great and the good’ from the city’s PR circuit. It was a small – albeit perfectly formed – first turnout, but what we lacked in quantity we arguably made up for in quality.

Sheffield’s own PR identity was among the initial topics of conversation, along with the national, and international perceptions of city – and the age-old conundrum of attracting – and retaining – talent.

We weren’t going to crack those nuts in one evening, but the collaborative approach was powerful. Representatives from in-house and agency, private and public sectors, made for strong, thought-provoking discussion. Collectively we had a lot of understanding, experience, perspectives – and, in places, solutions (my favourite word). The sum of all parts was convincing.

The ambition from the body that exists to support, inform and champion our sector is to help provide a framework through which we can better introduce, interact and impact. About time!

As is often the case when it comes to dear, old Sheffield, there is much, much more to shout about that initially meets the eye. PR is no different, evidently. A city with so much to offer (when you look) we all too often hide behind our brasher, louder cousins of Manchester and Leeds. An endearing, albeit frustrating, aspect to our city’s cultural and psychological make up.

But step up the PRs. We were unanimous in our commitment to formulate better working groups and approaches for the greater good of the city. So, watch this space. If anyone can shout about who we are and what we do, acting as ambassadors for Sheffield and our fantastic city region, it’s gotta be us lot.

So, the first, but not the last you’ll hear from us on this one…


Chaired by CIPR Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Committee Member Leigh Greenwood, and Chair Dave Glanville the event brought together: Richard Fidler, Chief Executive of HR Media; Lea Fountain, Associate Director of Communications at Sheffield Children’s Hospital; Annie Goss, Head of Media and PR at University of Sheffield; Dave Grimshaw Head of External Affairs & Comms at Irwin Mitchell; Matt Ridsdale, Founder of Cannon PR; Caroline Woffenden, Managing Director of MK Public Relations; Marina Wood, Director of Dragonfly PR; and Sarah Chapman Founder of Seven Twelve PR.