The CIPR Awards!

So! Friday night, we had a bit of a party. A PR party!

The party started in the office really, as thanks to mounting excitement levels and a pretty substantial supply of Halloween mini rolls (Oh Waitrose, how we love thee), nobody really did much work on Friday afternoon…

After managing to lock myself in my workmate’s spare room while getting changed (not even joking – her housemate shoulder-barged the door down…) we made it to The Hilton to meet the rest of the team. We glam up rather well, don’t you think!?

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We were up for 2 awards, and we’ve never really had a team night out before, so we were all quite buzzy and excited from the start. Though my boss’s bubble was punctured when he had to pay £7 for a G&T  at the bar… then rounded the corner and saw the free wine. Woops.

I couldn’t help but be aware that basically everyone who works in PR in Cardiff was in the same room. It added to the buzz, I think – eyeing up the competition! It was also a corker of a networking opportunity for me… But more on that later!

There were a lot of intros and speeches and (randomly) a pub quiz of sorts to get through before we got to what we were all after … FOOD! I’d been to dos at the Hilton (*clang*) back in my Student Media days so I was expecting big things – and they didn’t disappoint! Pork terrine and piccalilli, stuffed chicken breast wrapped in parma ham, and (my personal fave) a gorgeous tangy lemon mousse and shortbread biccie. I could have eaten it all twice. And had to stop myself hoovering up Eira’s biccie too. Then – awards time!

The host was Matt Johnson from This Morning and he was, err… merry to say the least! I don’t know if all “PR dos” are that rowdy, or if it was just his hosting skills getting the room going. Well – I’m not sure swearing at a company who were nominated lots but didn’t win anything (awkward) and offering bottles of champers to the loudest table in the room (a man genuinely stood on his chair, waving a candleabra) can be called hosting skills… But still!!

There were quite a lot of categories to get through, and they dotted about the list – which kept it fresh, but also meant I never knew whether my category would be next! My heart would pause ever so slightly when the applause died down and the next one was announced… but it turned out I wasn’t til quite near the end.

I was up for Outstanding Young Communicator, and went to a panel interview back in the summer after making the shortlist. On the night it was down to just 3 of us – and they made us stand up in front of the whole toom! Which they didn’t do for any other category. So in terms of literal exposure, it was fantastic – I was so glad I wore a brightly-coloured dress!

My heart really was pounding by this point, and my arms felt all wobbly. It felt very, very quiet in the room, and my cheeks were suddenly very warm. It was exciting. I have to say it, standing up in front of a whole roomful of PR professionals, singled out among them – I was really quite proud of myself. Everything I said on my application form was true. I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am.

I didn’t win, but that didn’t make me any less proud. I am sure everyone says this when they don’t win something, but I honestly didn’t expect to! I said well done to the guy who did win (networking 😉 ), and as we were chatting he asked me how old I was. Turns out he’s 5 years older than me! And I’m fairly sure the person who won it last year was about the same age.

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Making the final 3, at my age, having worked for just 2 years… that’s not bad. We didn’t win in our other category either, Outstanding Small Consultancy – but we can be proud of ourselves there too. We are not just small, we’re tiny – there’s 4 of us – and we’re doing some really good work. We’re holding our own! We were still on that list – we were, and are, still competition. It was recognition of all of those things. It showed others not to disregard us, and showed us not to disregard ourselves.

And we kicked ass at the karaoke afterwards.

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I’ve always said, travelling or no travelling, it was still time to move on. But I am going to miss these guys!

Tweeting a few people the next morning (always on!), the Director of another agency sent me a really lovely message to say how well I’d done to be a finalist, ending, “your time will come”. This has shown me that, after this far, people think something of me. Now, people expect something of me.

My time will come? Damn right it will!

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