Listen now

21 November 2023

28 Min

S9 - E7: We the Women – Michelle Canning and Sarah McCracken

Women in PR Northern Ireland was born out of a CIPR panel discussion in Belfast, organised by Sara, which explored the barriers affecting women working in the communications industry. It was clear there was an appetite for that conversation to continue. Michelle was on the panel and approached Sara afterwards. And so, the independent initiative that is now Women in PR was started.

Research reveals that while women hold over 60% of all PR jobs, the majority of senior leaders continue to be men. At the core of our vision is inspiration and aspiration – helping to promote the changes needed to support gender balance, nurturing female talent and supporting aspiring leaders. Our membership comes from across the public sector, in-house agencies, consultancies and independent practitioners.

Michelle Canning

Michelle is an award-winning comms specialist, having worked in the private, public and voluntary sectors for the last 30 years across Ireland, the US and Europe. Working at the most senior levels of public life, she was a special adviser to the joint head of government in the north of Ireland during the height of the COVID19 pandemic.

She is co-founder of Women in PR. Michelle also co-founded the NI Public Sector Communications Forum working with senior public sector leaders and GCS to develop a professional framework for communications excellence across the public sector. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and a Fellow of the Centre for Democracy and Peacebuilding.

She is a former head of communications with the largest social housing body in Western Europe, specialising in telling the story of its post-conflict work. Prior to that, Michelle worked in the media industry for over 20 years as a journalist, assistant editor of three regional newspapers before joining the BBC as a broadcast journalist. She also spent time working with Gannett, the largest US newspaper publisher. Currently working in criminal justice, she is studying for a Masters in law in her spare time.

Sara McCracken FCIPR

Sara is an award-winning communications specialist with 20+ years experience in different areas including environment, health, education, politics, equestrian and agri-rural businesses.

She started her career studying zoology with genetics and has undertaken research into sheep.  Sara has worked in a range of businesses – a trade union, charities, political party, membership organisations and an alpaca farm, and is currently Vice Chair of Pure Mental NI, a young person-led mental health charity.

Developing strategies that effect change are key for Sara, including implementing creative solutions and processes to manage reputation and raise profile.

An activist at heart, Sara has been involved in many campaigns over the years, including for smoke free workplaces; organ donation; minimum pricing of alcohol; chest, heart and stroke illnesses; care of older people; education; children and young people; mental health; and the environment.

More recently, she led the CIPR double-award winning Revive our World campaign for RSPB NI, which resulted in climate change legislation being passed in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Sara is committed to personal development, and was awarded an MBA with distinction and CIM Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership in December 2021.  She is a Fellow of CIPR and Chart. PR.

Podcast questions

  1. So, how and why did Women in PR Northern Ireland get started?
  2. What are challenges and solutions for women in the industry? Are they different in Northern Ireland than in other areas?
  3. What do you do to help women achieve their ambitions?
  4. Importance of networks?
  5. How has the pandemic impacted on women?
  6. What’s next and how will you change things?
Transcript

Disclaimer: this is an automated transcript. Please don’t call the grammar police on us. You never know, we may have ChatGPT writing our next one…

Transcript:

Hello, and welcome to a new episode of the You’re My commsHERO podcast. And I’m your host, Asif Choudry. Today we have two guests, Michelle Canning and Sarah McCracken. Uh, let me just give you a bit of bios by way of intro. So, Michelle, uh, with or without, uh, with one E or one L or two Ls? We don’t know this, uh, Michelle most things, but Michelle is an award-winning comms specialist, having worked in the private, public and voluntary sectors for the last 30 years across Ireland, the US and Europe, working at the most senior levels of public life. She was a special advisor to the joint head of government in the north of Ireland during the height of the C Ovid 19 pandemic. She’s co-founder of the women in pr, and Michelle also co-founded the Northern Island Public Sector Communications Forum, um, working with senior public sector leaders and GCS to develop a professional framework for communications excellence across the public sector.

Asif Choudry (01:07):

She’s a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and a fellow of the Center for Democracy and Peace Building. That’s a real roll call of accolades there, Michelle. So, um, you’re also a former head of communications with the largest social housing body in Western Europe, specializing, telling, and specializing in telling the story of its post-conflict work. And prior to that, Michelle worked in the media industry for over 20 years as a journalist, assistant editor of three regional newspapers Before joining the BBC is a broadcast journalist. She also spent time working with Gannet, the largest US newspaper publisher, and currently working in criminal justice. She’s studying for a master’s, um, in law in her spare time. Where do you get the spare time, Michelle? So Sarah, I’ll introduce Sarah now as well. Um, and Sarah’s also an award-winning communication specialist for 20 plus years experience in different areas, including environment, health, education, politics, equestrian and agri rural businesses.

Asif Choudry (02:07):

She started her career studying zoology with genetics and has undertaken research into sheep. Um, Sarah has worked in a range of businesses, trade union, charities, political party, uh, membership organizations, and, um, an alpaca farm, believe it or not. Uh, and is currently Vice-chair of Pure Mental Northern Ireland. A young person led mental health charity. Um, Sarah’s an activist at heart and has been involved in many campaigns over the years, including, uh, uh, smoke-free workplaces, organ donation, minimum pricing for alcohol, um, chest heart and stroke illnesses, care of older people, uh, mental health and the environment. And more recently, she led the CIPR double award-winning Revive Our World Campaign for RSPB, Northern Ireland, which resulted in climate change legislation being passed in the northern island Assembly of all places. And finally, Sarah’s committed to personal development and was awarded an MBA with distinction and CI m’s. Level seven diploma in Strategic Management Leadership in 2021. And is a fellow of the CIPR and a chartered PR practitioner. So hell of an intro. Welcome to you both.

Michelle Canning (03:23):

Thank you very much. I, I dunno about you, Sarah, but you know, when things like that are red, aren’t you talking really talking about me? And then I think I sound really old when you say over 30, over 30 years experience <laugh>.

Asif Choudry (03:35):

No, a real,

Sara McCracken (03:38):

We started young, what can

Asif Choudry (03:39):

I say? A real role, full of experience there. So, um, let’s, let’s give the listeners and myself a chance to get to know you both a little bit. So I’ve got a few quickfire questions. Um, so let’s kick off Michelle with you. So tell us your most played song on your Spotify playlist list.

Michelle Canning (03:56):

Oh, it has to be Flip With Mac.

Asif Choudry (03:58):

Okay.

Michelle Canning (03:58):

So, yeah, I love, I love Stevie Next, so it would have to be little, uh, lies or go your own way, one or the other. Yeah,

Asif Choudry (04:06):

Sarah, for you, it can be podcasts or songs, whatever you prefer.

Sara McCracken (04:11):

Oh, song wise, I do love Wee bit of Bon Jovi living on a prayer. Um, but I’m into podcast at the minute, so I have been listening to your my Comms Hero podcast, um, which has been brilliant. Just, just to learn about different aspects of the industry, but also listening to arranges for business podcasts at the minute. You know, I just find it’s a really good way when you’re driving along just to learn something new rather than listening to the songs in

Asif Choudry (04:33):

The radio. And, sorry, I’m gonna come back to you for the next one. Which famous person would you invite to dinner,

Sara McCracken (04:41):

Sir David Attenborough. Without a shadow of the Doubt, good shout there. Obviously been part of the RSPB, we’ve just been involved in, uh, wild is the documentary, and I was in the room with Sir David a number of weeks ago. Didn’t get a chance to speak to him, but I just think his knowledge and experience, it would just be completely awesome to sit down and have a chat with him about, about the natural world.

Michelle Canning (05:00):

I knew you were gonna say that <laugh>

Asif Choudry (05:04):

Michelle, can you guess who’s getting your, uh, who’s getting your invite? Michelle

Michelle Canning (05:09):

Mines is completely methodological, so I, I I love the Irish language. Uh, so, so, so real cultural, uh, vibes. So mines would have to be somebody like <inaudible>, who was, um, a methodological goddess and basically was goddess of, of Ireland and the Earth. And the actual English name for Ireland is where that derived from. So yeah, she would’ve been from what’s called the <inaudible>, which is the, um, tribes, so the tribe of the Gods, and that’s really where, where that would come from. So it’d have to be somebody like that really kind, rocking, rocking her stuff along before feminism was in place, you

Asif Choudry (05:49):

Know? Yeah. Fantastic. That. And then final one, Sarah, for you three words to describe you.

Sara McCracken (05:58):

Only three. Oh my goodness. <laugh>, um, energetic, lots of energy, week, cup of tea. There’s always a cup of tea on the go. And, um, I just love chatting to people. I love chatting and getting to know people. So chatting with energy over a week of tea.

Asif Choudry (06:14):

There you go. Michelle.

Michelle Canning (06:17):

Mines is very straightforward, just force of nature. <laugh>, <laugh>, <laugh>, as most people around me will testify. Now, while you take that to be positive or negative, that’s again, entirely up to you,

Asif Choudry (06:30):

A force of nature. I love that. Three ways, uh, amazing. So thank you for that. And that’s been, uh, an eyeopener for me, and it will have been for the listeners too. So getting onto the matter at hand there. So I’m gonna give an intro into, um, what we’re gonna be talking about. So, uh, women in pr, Northern Ireland was born out of A-C-I-P-R panel discussion in Belfast, organized by Sarah, which explored the barriers affecting women working in the communications industry. It was clear there was an appetite for that conversation to continue, and Michelle was on the panel and approached Sarah afterwards. And so the independent initiative that is now Women in PR was started, uh, research reveals that while women hold over 60% of all PR jobs, the majority of senior leaders continue to be men. And at the core of their vision is inspiration and aspiration, helping to promote the changes needed to support gender balance, nurturing female talent and supporting aspiring leaders. And their membership comes from across the public sector in-house agencies, consultancies, and independent practitioners. So I’m gonna kick off with the first question then. So how and why did women in PR Northern Ireland get started? So, um, Michelle, do you want me to kick off with you on that one?

Michelle Canning (07:44):

Yeah, sure. Well, look, I had moved, uh, 2013 from journalism and the pr, it’s my, my first foray really into the formal communications industry. And so, you know, journalism is, is, is a fairly male dominated profession, but the reality was I kind of operated at a senior level. So when I went down the communications, I was really aware that all around me were lots of really effective, talented women, but they weren’t in the most senior positions in the world of communications. And I kind of couldn’t get my head around that. And I think Sarah had obviously picked up on that when she decided to do a panel discussion for CIPR, which we were both part of around that very topic. So when Sarah, and, and, and I’ll let Sarah speak to the motivations of, of why she did the panel, but um, after that event, um, quite a few women approached me, well, what different issues?

Michelle Canning (08:40):

And I mean, things I see like, you know, kind of how do they get on in their career, you know, what kind of advice? So it was like really fairly basic stuff that women just didn’t really have an avenue that they could pursue in terms of furthering their, their own own careers. So as I said, Sarah, Sarah had had done the, um, panel, so I spoke to Sarah, and between that, I suppose between both of us having kind of the same frustrations and the same experiences that either that, um, women of PR was born and basically this year on International Women’s Day, we marked the, the fifth year of it.

Asif Choudry (09:17):

Fab, anything to add to that, Sarah?

Sara McCracken (09:22):

Just to really echo what Michelle said there, they just became apparent there was a real need for an opportunity to bring women in particular together, um, in the PR industry. And it really just exploded from there. The, the feedback from the panel discussion was phenomenal. We couldn’t get the room cleared, you know, people wanted to continue the discussion, the conversation, which is then obviously they chatted to Michelle and then we got our heads together about it. But it’s just, we just tapped into a real need Yeah, yeah. At that particular moment in time and it, and it really just took off and it’s, yeah,

Michelle Canning (09:51):

And, and it’s worth quite now. I see. I mean, we, we ended up with about 250 women and that might not seem a massive amount of women, you know, if you’re in a study in England, but look, you know, we’re in a fairly small place, is the reality for us. And, and then the industry makes up a fairly small percentage in terms of professions here. So, and the fact that we had 250 women at one stage on the books really kind of gives you an idea of, of the appetite for, for what it is, you know, that, that, that we do.

Asif Choudry (10:20):

Amazing. So, Sarah, coming to you on the next question then. What, what are the challenges and solutions for women in the industry? And are they different in Northern Ireland than in other areas?

Sara McCracken (10:34):

I’ll start with the second one is I don’t think they’re necessarily different to other areas, but in terms of the challenges, I mean, we, we kicked off women in PR with, with a workshop. So we invited our peers and colleagues in to actually tell us what they saw the issues to be. So again, we, we produced a report on that. I’m, I’m really proud of that report, um, which really just laid out. So I mean, I have it here in front of me. So they were coming up with things like, um, small organiz, working in small organizations, you have to be jack of all trades, and then who do you talk to, you know, if you have an issue rising. So it’s that peer to peer and support was missing. Um, there was imposter syndrome, um, it was, you know, how do you keep up with changes in the industry and, you know, time pressures and everything’s very Belfast centric in Northern Ireland.

Sara McCracken (11:20):

So again, when once you moved out with Belfast, where were the opportunities there? And I think certainly the pandemic has opened up a lot of opportunities for people with, with new hybrid and, and remote working. So a lot of other things you might expect you need for flexibility in working. We have this, you know, 24 called culture, which can be very difficult to navigate, but I think the upshot is networking and, and peer support came out really loud in care. And then how do we build the confidence of women in the industry to help them move on in their career aspirations? Whatever those happen happened to be, we, we, we were happy to support everybody.

Asif Choudry (11:55):

Yeah. And then Michelle going on to, so what do you, what do you actually, what’s the group do to help women achieve their ambitions?

Michelle Canning (12:04):

Yeah, can I, can I just add to what

Asif Choudry (12:06):

Yeah, please do. Yeah,

Michelle Canning (12:07):

What Sarah said there, just because I think there’s challenges, you know, uh, from, from a gender perspective across the board, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re operating in, in the world of PR and communications or, or where you’re operating, but like 67% of women, uh, make up the PR profession. Yeah.

Asif Choudry (12:24):

We,

Michelle Canning (12:24):

We, you know, PR has a gender problem. It also has a problem with class on a problem with diversity. And so, so that there are lots of issues there. And then they’re further complicated than when we take gender into perspective and further complicated here in somewhere like the north because it is so small. So I would say it’s probably a lot more progressive in terms of what’s happening and, um, the rest of Britain, you know, that, that kind of, that, that there’s a lot more work happening, probably all driven by, by, by huge numbers. So we’re kinda, I don’t know if we always feel like maybe we’re at the end of that progressive change. Um, so I think, you know, as, as Sarah says, it’s not necessarily different. Sometimes it may just, um, be, um, exacerbated and then you add into that transparency around pay, you know, kind of the perception that the ha people have of women in professions, ageism, you know, we could go on and on and on in terms of the, the challenges. So I suppose for us, it really has been about identifying solutions, and that’s really looking at, um, support, uh, looking at mentoring, um, enabling women to kind of take, um, charge. The thing we always say to women when we go out to speak to ’em is, look, we can’t change their world. They, they’re in control of their own circumstances, but what we’re here to do is provide practical, um, support, you know, training advice, things that will allow them to take control of their own professions and drive it forward. Yeah.

Asif Choudry (13:55):

And that’s amazing. That’s lots of support and help there. And then you’ve mentioned, Sarah, you mentioned in one of your previous answers there about network. So what, what’s the importance of networks in in, in all of this that you, you’re doing to help, um, this community within Northern Ireland?

Sara McCracken (14:14):

I think your network is fairly fundamental. Um, certainly I have appreciated the support that I’ve got from women in pr just ’cause we started, it doesn’t mean we haven’t benefited personally, but it’s, it’s getting that peer support in place so that you can pick up the phone to someone and have a really confidential conversation, you know, to find out have they, you know, had this challenge or issue and potential solutions to that. So it’s just a safe space to talk, but equally it’s the getting out and the socializing aspect of it. Um, we, we ran a series of program or series of events over the course of a year, and it was, it was the energy of bringing people together and, and seeing them progress and building their own networks as a result of that was really, really important. Obviously, three years of pandemic hasn’t helped that networking. Um, I think, uh, some of the industry in particular think there’s a lack of visibility. We did another survey on that more recently. Um, so again, it’s how do we build that visibility back up and build those networks back up to help people get to where, where they should be. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>.

Asif Choudry (15:11):

Yeah. Have you got anything to add to that, Michelle?

Michelle Canning (15:14):

Well, I think just, you know, everything that Sarah has said, but, you know, networks are, are, uh, an empowering format for women. You know, it enables them to make connections. I think, you know, men have a, have a greater tendency to, you know, collate around issues of interest to them in a way that women have had to kind of balance, obviously domestic and professional and not necessarily have the time. I, I remember reading something that was really just kind of struck with me, that for a woman, every time she says yes to something means she had to say no to something else. Yeah. If you know what I mean. So that networking thing for me is absolutely crucial. And it doesn’t matter what level you’re operating at because the reality is all, all of humanity is relational. We all need, um, relationships, connections, knowledge, and also networks, I think provide huge reassurance, particularly when you’re talking about the likes of imposter syndrome or Yeah,

Asif Choudry (16:09):

Absolutely.

Michelle Canning (16:09):

You know, you know, topics like that. So they’re, they’re just fundamental, I think, to, to everybody, not just women.

Asif Choudry (16:15):

Yeah. So Michelle, I’ll ask you, um, in Sarah’s previous answer, she talked about the, the pandemic there. So how has the pandemic impacted, um, on women?

Michelle Canning (16:25):

Yeah. Well here, women have been disproportionately impacted societally, um, by, uh, the pandemic. I think that, you know, there, there’s evidence, um, to, to substantiate that. I think we, we, like, we did a survey for International Women’s Day during the pandemic, we have managed to keep in touch with our members through digital platforms, which have been absolutely amazing just managing to keep conversations going. But, you know, it was a real mixed bag, wasn’t it, Sarah? In terms of what people came back, we had a bit of SSA women reporting burnout, and that was on the back of the Senda ard and obviously Nicholas Sturgeon subsequently. Um, you know, so there’s about 19% of women who folded out, talked about that. But on the other hand, you know, I think, was it Sarah, there was then, and around 50%, more than 50% of women who had been promoted, you know, there was huge numbers of women who felt more visible, huge numbers of women who thought they had more opportunity. So it almost skewed, I suppose, what the societal picture was saying. It was a wee bit different from some of our members, which was really, really interesting. And you know, what, it was, it was reassuring too, in the same respect that maybe lockdown had offered some women a bit of an opportunity to kinda step up, be more visible, and being able to de make that work-life balance work much better for them and in, in their careers. Yeah, I don’t know if you might want to add to that, Sarah.

Sara McCracken (17:52):

Yeah, I think, yeah, I mean it was great that it was a mixed bag, so it really challenged a lot of assumptions, but, um, hybrid working and flexibility are now the norm within the profession. So I think, you know, 71% of respondents had a better work-life balance off the back of Covid that that’s to be welcomed, I think. Um, so it’ll be interest to see how that settles, if it ever settles over over time. Um, you know, a lot have the freedom to work from home as and when, or only be in the office maybe one day a week. So again, it’s really interesting to see those mixes. And I think going forward, there is a difficulty of recruiting talented comms professionals at the minute. So that type of flexibility and hybrid work, and it’s going to form a real part of packages in the future.

Sara McCracken (18:31):

So I think the employers need to sit up and take note of that, whether you’re agency based or, you know, in an in-house, um, role. Um, looking ahead, you know, I over a third still thought that there’s no opportunity progress to progress within their current employer. So again, that’s gonna be an interesting shift for, for the industry. Um, and some might have opportunities for progression. So I think employers as a whole, again in-house or agency, need to be looking at the whole package in its entirety. And are they creating the opportunities, the flexibility, the training needs, um, the network and, and support, you know, to bring, you know, any employee in not just women. ’cause obviously everybody has caring responsibilities to some description or another, but, um, from, from our perspective, I think there’s huge opportunity there to, to reshape the industry into something more balanced.

Asif Choudry (19:19):

Yeah. And you’ve got, um, so it seems some really good stats and stuff and a lot of research you’ve spent on really understanding the audience and the membership and what you can, what the makeup is and what you can do with them and the challenges. So tell us then, um, what’s next and how will you change things? Michelle will kick off with you on that.

Michelle Canning (19:42):

Okay. Well, I think our premise has always been that it’s, we we’re not the people who dictate the solutions. The reality is we, you know, we, we go out and we speak to the women who are working in the industry to find out what exactly do they need and then build a program around that. So as we go forward, I think it will look very different to what we’ve done before. A lot of the work we did, um, previously was in-person events, you know, us and, and, and, and, and trying to kind of manage them around round a working day. So I think, you know, the, the dynamic has changed in terms of relationships, but so too, you know, are the demands. So I think for us it will be very much around that kind of mentoring piece and trying to work the hybrid model of in-person online and having the, the, the beautiful thing about digital is that we can bring in expertise and, um, you know, knowledge from right across the board doesn’t matter where you are now, because people are so accustomed to access and, you know, platforms like the dreaded word Zoom or teams, you know, that we’ve all spent most of lockdown on and nobody wants to hear it again.

Michelle Canning (20:53):

But the reality is, it’s, it makes it much more accessible. And when we set out in this project, it was very much about women having access to support and to training and to advice. And, and, and I think that, you know, we will be able to do that on, on a much better scale and work a much better, um, ar around schedules. But as I said, it’s for the women to tell us what exactly they need and it’s then the job of me and Sarah to go <laugh>. Yeah.

Asif Choudry (21:20):

To

Michelle Canning (21:20):

Go and find it and find it for free, really, because we, we, we’ve always operated on a model where everybody, there’s no barriers. It doesn’t matter what you’re paid or what level you’re at, that if we can provide something to you, you know, that’s practicable in your work and life, then you know, we, we will exhaust all of our contacts and networks and avenues and expertise to do the same.

Asif Choudry (21:43):

Excellent.

Michelle Canning (21:44):

So you’ll probably want to add a wee bit more to that,

Sara McCracken (21:49):

Just if anybody’s listening and they’d like to sponsor, we’d love to talk to you, <laugh>. Um, but, but your question about how will you change things, we’ve already changed things. So it’s about building on that. I mean, I, I love our Facebook group and you see, you know, uh, job opportunities come in, people asking for help, sharing contacts. Um, I also, I’m sure you do as well, Michelle, get contacted behind the scenes of people looking at advice and support. And we’ve had really good feedback from, from our network saying, you know, this has really helped me to progress. So it has, it has changed our worlds, which is what it’s all about. I say, I have benefited from this no end as well. So I love that we’ve already changed things, we’ve shaken things up a wee bit. Um, but again, going, going forward, it’s how we build on that. And like Michelle has said, it’s not for us to tell our peer group what they need. They will tell us what they need and, and, and we will go out and, and put that in, please. Yeah,

Asif Choudry (22:40):

That’s brilliant. And it’s, you’re doing some fantastic work and I hope that the listeners, um, and when this podcast goes live, that it just brings more people to your network and your community. And speaking of community, that’s why we’re here. You’re part of the comms hero, um, network and community. So tell us, and why, uh, is Comms Hero important to you, and what do you recommend people working in comms and marketing to be part of it? And Sarah will kick off with you on that one.

Sara McCracken (23:09):

Oh, oh, I love Comms Hero. Um, I, I, I like genuinely no, I, I like the network associated with it. I like the crack that C-R-A-I-C for our, our English colleagues, not C-R-I-C-C. Um, so, so it’s that, um, ability, if, if you need something, you can go out and seek it. And, and the feedback, and as if, I dunno if you remember, but during the pandemic, CIPR ran a competition to design the cover of CIPR magazine, and it was actually my, my youngest Yeah. Isabelle who won that, and I tweeted she was my comms hero and you really kindly sent her some,

Asif Choudry (23:41):

Yeah,

Sara McCracken (23:41):

Some merch. Much sought after. So she’s still got her weep in badge, she’s got her notebooks and just, it’s that kindness and, and that inclusivity that is just brilliant. Amazing. So I, I just have that about amazing.

Asif Choudry (23:52):

Thank you. Anything to add, Michelle?

Michelle Canning (23:55):

Yeah, what you do, ya is amazing. You, the, the, the reality is, I mean, I, I’ve been to Comms Hero, so, uh, to to, to one of the events, I think it was, it was Birmingham. Yeah. I don’t know because my geography of England is very poor. I might add, so excuse me for, for any of your English listeners, but, but you know what I, what do you know, what I love most about it is that it, it has changed the perception of what communications is. It it, it is neither this kind of fluffy piece of work. Uh, it’s not this thing, you know, that these kind of, we women are over here doing. And, you know, it’s, it’s not very important, but you’ve managed to do it, you know, with kind of humor. You’ve managed to do it. That, that the really serious message that you know, that that narrative of that storytelling, uh, aspect is there.

Michelle Canning (24:44):

And, uh, like there, there was lots of, uh, Mer Envy when I was in the Heisen executive because Catherine McCloskey used to have loads of <laugh>. She used to have loads of stuff. I said, well, where’s mine <laugh>? I didn’t get any because had come over to see us. So look, you know, it, it, it’s, it’s, it’s what you do is is absolutely amazing. And it’s back to, as you say, it’s that community, um, aspect of things that’s really, really important now, like Sarah showing, showing off for me. See, I, I’ve gotten off them, but, um, no like, like kudos, you know, to, to use for, for forgetting that out there and, and for just providing another platform that enables people, you know, to, to connect and, and, and to have a community where it’s relevant and where, where we’re able to learn. Um, you know, lots of stuff. So, so huge thanks and shout out to you for that.

Asif Choudry (25:36):

Thank you for that. That feedback’s always important. It’s welcomed. And as we approach our ninth birthday, which is gonna be on the 13th of, um, may, this podcast episode will will be published after that point. But yeah, nine years and still, um, still going strong. So genuinely it’s, thank you so much for sharing that. And in the interest of networks and connection, um, we want people to connect with our guests when they appear on the podcast. So, um, where will they find you? What the social handles they’ll be looking for and also for the, for the network, the community group itself as well, where will they find the details? So Sarah, do you wanna kick us off with that?

Sara McCracken (26:17):

Yep. We have a LinkedIn group, uh, women in pr. Um, Michelle and I are both on LinkedIn, so please, please connect up with us. Um, we have a really active Facebook group, um, if people wanna source us that way as well. It, it is very Northern Ireland focused, I will say that. So possibly LinkedIn might be a better option for, for the networking. Um, and I’m on Instagram as well at Sarah McCracken pr,

Michelle Canning (26:40):

We’re also on Twitter. You can find women in PR and I on Twitter and you’ll find me on Twitter at mi canning. See the way I left the LS out of that one so it wasn’t too complicated. <laugh> and, uh, <laugh> and if you’re looking for me in LinkedIn, you find me with two Ls, I think, but I’m never quite sure. But, um, but yeah, look, it’s, it’s not hard to find us. Um, and anybody look as Sarah says, you know, we’re mostly concerned with the community here in the north ’cause that’s just obviously where we are. But that doesn’t mean if somebody needs advice or support or, or needs signpost somewhere, you know what gives us a shout? We’re, we’re, we’re easy to find. Oh,

Asif Choudry (27:19):

That’s brilliant. And um,

Sara McCracken (27:21):

And we’re always happy. I was gonna say happy to learn off other colleagues as well. So if somebody has something to offer our community here, you know, we can set up an online speaking opportunity. So yeah, happy to have the conversations. Absolutely.

Asif Choudry (27:34):

We complete, absolutely call for speakers, sponsors, get yourselves involved and um, help the fantastic help Michelle and Sarah co continue to do the fantastic work that we’re doing. So, um, you’ll find this podcast on Spotify, apple and your chosen platform, um, and on our website com zero.com. You can follow us on twitter com, zero. And if you do listen on Apple, Spotify, please leave a rating, uh, under review and hit the follow and subscribe button so you get the new episodes, which at the moment are every two weeks. So all that remains for me is, uh, Michelle, Sarah, has been absolutely fascinating. Definitely something I want our Comm zero community to get involved and support you. So thank you so much and it’s been a pleasure.

Sara McCracken (28:18):

Thank you,

Speaker 4 (28:19):

Ashley,

Sara McCracken (28:20):

For the opportunity. Thank you so.

Got something
for a podcast?