Cornelius Alexander awarded the Sir Stephen Tallents Medal
CIPR President Sarah Hall Chart.PR, FCIPR has presented diversity in PR campaigner Cornelius Alexander Found.Chart.PR, FCIPR with the Sir Stephen Tallents medal for outstanding contribution in public relations.
Alexander is a founding member and former Chair of the CIPR’s Diversity and Inclusion Forum (formerly known as the Diversity Working Group). He began his media career as a journalist working on his local paper, East End News, at the age of 16 before crossing into media relations and landing a role with the Metropolitan Police 24-hour press bureau.
A media role for the Mayor of London followed before a chance meeting at a networking event in Canada led to an invite to join the Vancouver chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society; years later a similar meeting led to an invite to join the CIPR’s Greater London Group. Cornelius would eventually sit on other groups and committees and serve twice on the CIPR Council.
The Diversity and Inclusion Forum has been in existence since March 2010 and although its work is ongoing, under Cornelius' leadership it completed a number of research projects and developed a clear set of “asks” of the profession which will drive change. Cornelius has remained active on the committee and arguably its biggest success to date is helping to keep the focus of the PR industry on the main prize – improved diversity in Public Relations.
This is a fantastic (and unexpected) honour. One for which many people can rightly claim to have played a part. Don MacLachlan in Vancouver to Lisa Shaddick and Paul Mylrea here in London, all taught me the importance, value and enjoyment of volunteering.
Bieneosa Ebite and the team at Ignite and of course the great people who have been part of the Diversity and Inclusion Forum over the years who have inspired me and helped keep me going when it might have been easier to give up and say enough.
Although the business case for diversity has become more widely accepted there is still much to do in terms of the glass ceiling, mental health concerns, ageism and social mobility; but I believe with the continued support of the wider PR community that we will become more diverse and inclusive.
The award was presented during a reception honouring the CIPR's 70th anniversary. Previous award winners include Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Rt Hon Lord McNally.
About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)
Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America. By size of turnover and number of individually registered members, we are the leading representative body for the PR profession and industry in Europe.
The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).