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PR association in HK elects new board

Published on Wednesday, 10 Jul 2013
Rachel Catanach, incoming chairman of the Council of Public Relations Firms of Hong Kong

HONG KONG: The Council of Public Relations Firms of Hong Kong (cPRfHK) has announced its new board for 2013-2014, appointing Rachel Catanach as chairman with Simeon Mellalieu continuing on the board as deputy chairman.

The association is dedicated to promoting best practices among its members and stakeholders, serving as a voice and forum for Hong Kong PR consultancies. The council represents the majority of consultancies in the city, with almost 30 member firms.

Catanach said the council will continue to build awareness within the industry of the value proposition offered by public relations, in addition to both supporting and developing consistently high professional standards within the PR industry. 

“The role of public relations and strategic communications is ever more important today, especially with Hong Kong acting as a hub for many consultancies in the region. Public relations firms here face a unique set of challenges as they seek to uphold best practice, attract young emerging talent and manage communications in a variety of cultural contexts,” Catanach said.

Over 2012-2013, the council has sustained initiatives such as the PR competition for young PR students and professionals, which is now in its third year. The competition attracted a record number of high quality entries in both categories, with the winners announced in May 2013.

For the first time, the cPRfHK has also opened up a position on the board for a student representative, Elizabeth Fung, who won the Young PR Professionals’ Competition 2013.

“In 2013-2014, the council aims to build on the success of the PR competition by working closely with the universities to align the competition with their curriculum and holding training seminars for graduates and young professionals to raise awareness of public relations as a profession and build understanding among students of the requisite skills for success,” Catanach said.

She added that the council also aims to increase the number of activities that engage agencies, professionals and clients, such as the introduction of the association’s inaugural “Double Happiness Awards” in 2012, designed to recognise in-house practitioners who demonstrate best practice agency management and encourage PR agency strategic thinking and creativity. The awards acknowledge the mutual benefits that accrue when there is a strong partnership between in-house and agency PR professionals.

“By highlighting the role of PR agencies as the guardians of trusted relationships between brands and consumers, combined with taking a leading role in developing standards in areas such as social media, we hope to dispel the notion that PR is the poor cousin of creative agencies. We believe these initiatives are a key way we can develop the profession and its professionals so the value they provide is fully recognised,” Catanach said.

The 2013 cPRfHK board of directors include: FleishmanHillard’s Rachel Catanach as chairman, Ketchum’s Simeon Mellalieu as deputy chairman, APCO’s Mark Michelson as honorary secretary, Newell’s David Croasdale as honorary treasurer, APCO’s Amy Wendholt as accreditation chair, Laykin’s Joel Laykin as external relations chair, Ketchum’s Josh Nova as issues chair, Hamilton Advisors’ Robert Grieves as membership chair, CRED Communications’s Mandy Queen as programmes chair, GHC Asia’s Nicola Monks as PR and marketing chair and Edelman’s Andrew Kirk as training chair.

The other directors are Felix Poon of VIS, Tony Wong of PR ASIA, Jane Morgan of Ketchum, Rosemary Merz of Bite, Alastair Hetherington of RLM Finsbury, Clara Shek of Ogilvy, Geoff Bilbrough of FleishmanHillard, and Rachel Chan of Hill+Knowlton Strategies. 

The new position of young PR professionals’ representation is occupied by FleishmanHillard’s Elizabeth Fung, the 2013 Young PR Professionals’ Competition winner. 

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