Announcing CommsCon – Australia’s new event for those in communications and PR

andy lark

Lark: Chairing jury

Stuart Gregor

Gregor: Advisory board

Mumbrella’s parent company Focal Attractions is to launch a one day conference and awards event for people working in PR and communications.

CommsCon – which is being organised with the support of The PR Council – takes place in Sydney on Thursday March 14.

The event is being curated by Focal Attractions creative director Cathie McGinn.

The awards jury will be chaired by Andy Lark, chief marketing officer of CommBank. Lark is a former PR practitioner including at Fleishman-Hillard in the US where he was senior VP.

CommsCon’s advisory panel includes Stuart Gregor, boss of Liquid Ideas and chairman of The PR Council; Jim Macnamara, professor of public communication and deputy dean at UTS Sydney; Kim McKay, owner of Klick Communications; marketing consultant Toby Ralph; Fleur Brown, founder of Launch Group; Michelle Hutton, CEO of Edelman; Kat Thomas, owner, One Green Bean; Michelle Durham, corporate communications senior manager, Weight Watchers Australasia; and Neil Collins, national social media director of PPR.

The topics covered by the conference will include:

  • Measurement;
  • Social media and content creation;
  • The changing media landscape;
  • Crisis communications in the social media landscape, including a live crisis simulation.

The event is aimed at professionals working in corporate communications, PR, publicity, media relations, internal communications, community management, government relations, change management.

A survey of Mumbrella’s readership carried out late last year suggested that over just 85% of PR and communications practitioners felt their jobs would become more difficult in 2013. Respondents identified several key issues causing concern, among them: ownership of social media; how to ensure PR is better understood and valued; measurement; the upheaval in the media landscape and journalism; and a lack of representation at board or senior levels causing PR and communications to take a non-integrated, less business relevant role.

Award categories and jurors will be announced shortly.

McGinn said: “We’re delighted that Andy Lark has agreed to chair the jury. As one of the highest profile and respected marketers in Australia Andy is ideally placed to see the role of PR and communications within the wider marketing landscape. The fact that he has also worked directly within the PR world himself means he is uniquely placed to lead this process.”

The closing date for entries will be February 15.

CommsCon is open to submissions of content and speakers for the conference program. Contact | 02 8296 0205.


  1. Walter White
    16 Jan 13
    12:35 pm

  2. Is it just me, or does Andy Lark look a lot like Hank Schrader?

  3. Spagoni
    16 Jan 13
    1:28 pm

  4. Is it me, or does anyone else see that using the contractions Comms and Con in a conference name about PR just pleading with the world to smack them?

  5. The Internetz
    16 Jan 13
    3:57 pm

  6. Well spotted Spagoni! Too late for a rebrand?

    Maybe CommsMeet? CommuniCon? ConnectedComms 2013…brainstorm anyone!?

  7. paul the freelance writer
    16 Jan 13
    5:21 pm

  8. CousCous.

  9. Briz PR
    16 Jan 13
    9:08 pm

  10. I’m with you Spagoni – first thing that hit me – can’t believe no one thought that through – not exactly the best way to promote the industry!

  11. Hank Schrader
    16 Jan 13
    9:08 pm

  12. Walter I hope not.

  13. Good point
    16 Jan 13
    9:44 pm

  14. CommsCon – sounds shifty. Brainstorm definitely needed!

  15. Tara Cheesman
    17 Jan 13
    11:15 am

  16. CommsComm or CommsCommunity or CommsCure?

    After all isn’t the overarching goal to build the nation’s new PR/Comms Community?

  17. Good point
    17 Jan 13
    11:49 am

  18. One minute it was there, there nest it was ‘scon’

  19. KGB
    17 Jan 13
    6:39 pm

  20. Why was the post questioning Andy Lark’s track record removed?

    Personal attacks are banned from mumbrella with good reason. However, Andy Lark uses industry sites and forums to raise his own profile and those of his campaigns on a regular basis. The ‘can’ campaign deserves to be critiqued and judged. He needs to take the good with the bad, and respond if he feels fit.

    As a regular mumbrella reader, it appears mr Lark is a protected species. Fawning comments are ok, but any questioning of cba’s work is swept into the digital bin…

  21. nell schofield
    23 Jan 13
    1:37 pm

  22. yes, i just tried to repost my comment, and it was once again swept into the digital bin.

    And i expect this one will be as well.

    it seems that the more Mumbrella becomes an events and marketing education company, the less it is able to maintain the integrity of an independent publisher

  23. mumbrella
    24 Jan 13
    2:29 pm

  24. Hi Nell,

    I did try to email you on the address you supplied to explain why we were unable to run your previous comment but got an error message. If you’d like to contact me with an email address that it current, I’d be happy to set out our comment policy.


    Tim – Mumbrella