Leigh McClusky named as the new national president for PRIA

The Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) has elected Leigh McClusky as its national president and Helen Hutchings (fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia) as deputy national president for 2020.

McClusky and Hutchings take over from president, Sylvia Bell, and deputy president, Dr Donald Alexander, who have held the roles for the past 18 months. The pair will remain on the PRIA board as immediate past president and vice president, respectively.

Leigh McClusky is the new president of PRIA

Previous PRIA national presidents include Jennifer Muir, Mike Watson and Terri-Helen Gaynor.

McClusky and Hutchings were elected at PRIA’s annual general meeting on November 26.

McClusky is the managing director of McCo Group, an Adelaide-based public relations agency which services clients including the University of South Australia, Flinders University, Meals on Wheels, Princes Highway West Action Alliance, Holden and the City of Greater Geelong.

McClusky said the upcoming challenge for PRIA will be redefining its relevance in 2020.

“I’m keen to work with a team with a vision for a truly national organisation that expects and celebrates world’s best practice,” she said.

“The challenge for the PRIA is to redefine and invigorate its purpose and relevance in 2020 in line with the expectations of our existing and future members, who are clearly looking for tangible support in their career growth.”

She went on to thank Bell and Alexander for the work they did with the organisation to round out the decade.

“As we head into 2020, Sylvia and Donald – along with the National Board – have worked exceptionally hard to leave the organisation in a sound position to tackle the challenges of the next decade,” said McClusky.

“Our job is to continue their good work.”

McClusky was a member of the PRIA national board members which collectively resigned in 2014 following the appointment of Watson as president.

Hutchings is a group executive director at PR and digital marketing company, Phillips Group. She has been with the business since 2006, only taking 10 months out in 2009 to work overseas as a senior PR manager at Compass Group UK & Ireland. For the past two years, Hutchings has been the president for PRIA in Queensland.

Hutchings’ goal is to improve the engagement with PRIA’s members.

“My vision for PRIA in 2020 is to establish deeper and more meaningful engagement with our members,” Hutchings said.

“The goal will be to achieve this through the delivery of great content and thought leadership, insightful events and relevant professional development training.”

Earlier this year, PRIA issued a job ad on LinkedIn looking for a photographer to work for free at its upcoming Golden Target Awards. When directed to the industry body’s long-standing position to advocate for best practice and professionalism, PRIA admitted to Mumbrella that it “did not think through” the ramifications of the request.


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