The Public Relations Institute of Australia appoints new national president

The Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) has elected Shane Allison as its national president and Helen Hutchings as its deputy national president.

Allison is an experienced communicator who has served on the PRIA’s board as NSW president and most recently honorary treasurer. His company, Public Address, provides a media relationship management platform used by communicators across Australia.

PRIA national president, Shane Allison

Hutchings has been elected to a third term as deputy president, to drive the ongoing member consultation to consider the most appropriate identity for the association. She has 20 years experience in the public relations and communications industry and is a group executive director with Phillips Group in Queensland.

Allison commented on his appointment: “I believe that our industry needs to be represented by a strong industry association that advocates for our industry, celebrates our success, promotes best practice, provides industry leading training and shapes the future of our profession.

“We must provide effective leadership and advocacy for our industry as we chart new waters of influence and impact – ensuring we help give our members a strong voice at every table.”

In May, PRIA announced the appointed of its new chief executive officer, Louise Harland-Cox.

In August, the Australian media intelligence organisation, iSentia, entered a partnership with PRIA, to deliver exclusive content and share industry insights with its members.

Allison said: “With the appointment of CEO Louise Harland-Cox, the execution of our new strategy and a committed and engaged board, I believe that we can build on the progress to date and build an association that is forward-facing and ready for the challenges that our profession faces.

“I am incredibly thankful to Helen for stepping into a historic third term as deputy president, to drive member consultation on our identity.”

Allison paid tribute to immediate past president, Leigh McClusky, for her leadership during some of the association’s most trying years.

“Leigh has steered our association through some of the most difficult years in our history, tackling the challenge of a transition to a digital model with the passion and energy that are her trademarks,” said Allison.

“To say that we might not be here without Leigh’s hard work and dedication is an understatement. The PRIA is in a position to tackle the disruption and change that we face largely due to her hard work,” he added.

McClucky said: “There is plenty of work to do and I’m confident that Shane is the leader that our industry needs today. During his time as Honorary Treasurer he has shown unfailing support for our organisation, helping drive more effective member engagement and bringing renewed energy and enthusiasm to everything he touches.”

As newly appointed leaders of the PRIA, Allison and Hutchings are focused on delivering value to members through implementing the PRIA’s new strategy, resolving the consultation on the PRIA’s identity and preparing the organisation for a decade of growth.

Hutchings said she was delighted to have the opportunity for a third term as deputy president and was looking forward to leading the consultation process around the organisation’s identity.

“PRIA has delivered significant member value over the past two years and we are seeing a renewed vigour within the organisation. In 2021, we released a strategic plan for the organisation which focuses on leading the industry, delivering member value and strengthening professional relationships,” Hutchings explained.

“I am looking forward to the continued engagement with our members and broader industry as to how PRIA can deliver this strategy and whether a new identity is required to reflect the broad skills and experience within our industry.”

Allison thanked the board, PRIA office staff and members for their support. “I’d like to thank the PRIA’s staff for their continued hard work, my fellow directors for volunteering their time, energy and enthusiasm to our association, and our members for their continued support,” said Allison.

“There’s work to be done in the core delivery of services to members, across networking, training and recognition. Much of this work is underway and anecdotal feedback suggests that our industry’s impressions of your Institute are changing – rapidly – and we are well positioned for growth,” concluded Allison.


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