Below are details of the current members of the North East Group's committee. You can also Tweet us @CIPR_NorthEast
Chair, Anne-Marie Lacey MCIPR
Once described by Stephen Waddington, past President of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations as a ‘leading light’, Anne-Marie has gained a reputation across the UK as an exceptional communicator, most recently earning the title of Outstanding Young Communicator at the CIPR Excellence Awards 2017.
Having found her first job in PR through her student blog, Raising the Profile, Anne-Marie progressed quickly through the ranks of agency life. She now runs her own company, Filament PR, a creative communications consultancy putting her clients firmly in the spotlight so they can shine above and beyond their competition.
Anne-Marie's work has won many awards including gold at both the CIPR North East and North West PRide Awards.
An active member Chartered by the CIPR, as well as an Academic Tutor at the University of Sunderland, and Dissertation Supervisor at Newcastle University, Anne-Marie is passionate about CPD, driving up standards within the profession and paying it forwards to the next generation of PR practitioners. She is the co-founder of the national Young Communicators Forum, and is happy to be contacted by students to discuss dissertation topics on: social media, digital PR, and futureproofing the industry.
Vice Chair, Deb Sharratt MCIPR, Accredited Practitioner
Deb is an award-winning independent PR practitioner in the North East, with more than 20 years’ PR, marketing, and communications experience, and has run her successful business, DebSharratt Communications for more than seven years.
As well as being Vice Chair, she also is the PRide Awards coordinator in the North East and manages the committee’s social media channels. In 2019-21 Deb will also be part of the CIPR Council
Deb’s PR & Marketing strategies and campaigns have won many awards for her former employers, and also her own clients as a freelance practitioner. The recipient of the Best Independent PR Practitioner of the Year award twice, most recently at the 2018 PRide Awards, she specialises in both corporate and consumer communication in leisure, travel and tourism, theatre, music, and sport – equally at home with small and not for profit organisations as well as larger businesses. Previous roles include One North East, Pubmaster and Children North East.
In addition to PR and marketing activity, Deb also delivers the CIPR PR qualifications for approved CIPR training provider, nesma and works at Newcastle and Sunderland Universities too. In addition, she manages entertainment group Acropolis. In her spare time, she also writes a successful family, lifestyle, travel and food blog - My Boys Club, and is working within the blogging world to further and promote ethical influencer relations.
Treasurer, Matt Watson MCIPR
Matt works for the Labour Party as Regional Communications Officer. He covers a full range of public relations activity including press, social media, stakeholder engagement, and campaigns across the region.
He previously provided policy and communications support for the Leader of Newcastle City Council. He was involved in major issues such as setting the council's budget, and the adoption of the long term planning framework for the city, as well as significant internal change programmes.
Secretary, Laura Archer MCIPR
Lauren is a Freelance Brand Marketing & PR Consultant, working with Digital and Technology companies to help them realise the scale of their ambitions. She set up on her own in June 2018, following a decade of climbing the ranks at a number of digital agencies and technology businesses, as well as working in financial services and for a local authority.
She's received recognition for her work across the digital industry, from being featured in The Drum's 'Top 50 women in digital under 30' (2015) to The Journal's 'Top 35 under 35 North East Business Talent' in 2016 and most recently, a place on the shortlist in the international Women in Marketing Awards (2017) for an 'Outstanding contribution to agency marketing'.
Lauren also runs the multi-award-winning food blog, Scran on the Tyne, in her spare time, which she set up back in August 2013. The blog has received national acclaim and allowed her to work on campaigns with exciting brands such as French Connection, Nespresso, Fentimans, Travelodge, Brewdog, Craft Gin Club, BBC Good Food and Hungry House.
Her professional interests include gender equality, emerging technology, security in the digital age and marketing personalisation. In addition to the CIPR North East committee, Lauren also sits on the NECC's Women's Advisory Board.
Becky Beaumont MCIPR
Currently, Account Director at W North, Becky works with a wide range of consumer brands and corporate organisations both on a national and regional level. The first hire of W North in May 2017, Becky has worked with the Head of W North to grow the team rapidly, as well as overseeing their growing roster of clients.
A graduate of Northumbria University and with a regular intake of graduates at W North, Becky is keen to retain talent in the North East, ensuring new graduates are aware of the job opportunities in the region.
To add to this, part of Becky’s role within the committee is to provide practitioners and graduates with an opportunity to meet others within the industry on a regular basis.
Laurel Hetherington FCIPR
Laurel is a CIPR trainer, a PR lecturer at Newcastle University, and is course leader for the CIPR professional qualifications delivered in the north east through nesma. She started her career as a press officer, coming from a marketing background, and has worked as an independent practitioner offering training both regionally and nationally since the 1980s.
In 1998 she was awarded a CIPR Fellowship in recognition of her work in PR education. She was previously treasurer of the North East group, a role she first carried out in 2003, and was a committee member for several years before that. She is also a Pride judge and continues to represent students on the CIPR NE group.
Huw Lewis MCIPR
Huw is Customer Services Director for Nexus and leads communications, marketing, customer service and retail for the Tyne and Wear Metro - one of Britain's busiest rail networks – as well as Nexus as a local public transport executive. Huw’s first career was as a newspaper journalist and executive on regional, national and international titles; he led projects to launch or relaunch Metro newspapers throughout the world. He moved from being Associate Editor of The Journal in Newcastle to become Head of Media and External Affairs for Nexus in 2005, and has since expanded his role and moved into the senior leadership team, reflecting the growing importance of communications to all parts of the business. Huw has a post-graduate diploma in public relations from the University of Sunderland, which he found invaluable to recycle chunks from to help towards an MA in applied management from Newcastle Business School a few years later.
Laura Richards, MCIPR, Accredited Practitioner
Laura has held a variety of communications roles both in the UK and overseas. Beginning her career in broadcast media before moving into PR, she is currently Head of Communications for Sunderland Software City. Laura also sits on the ‘AI in PR’ panel, alongside past-President, Stephen Waddington.
Laura was invited to join the committee after being announced as the winner of the Outstanding Young Communicator of the Year at 2016's PRide North East Awards. She co-founded the #ExPRience events, aimed at plugging the gap between university and working life for students interested in a career in PR, and also guest lectures in media and branding at Newcastle and Northumbria universities. She also contributed to Platinum.
Laura is passionate about diversity in the workplace and a supporter of women in STEM initiatives. She is an Accredited Member of the CIPR, is a Squared Online graduate and holds an MA in Media & Public Relations from Newcastle University
Tony Bradley FCIPR
Originally training as a journalist, Tony Bradley moved into public relations 40 years ago and has worked in consultancy and senior in-house roles in the UK and overseas. He founded Bradley O'Mahoney Public Relations in 1991, before establishing the Cloud-based consultancy publicrelationsconsultancy.com
Tony was national President of the CIPR in 2006 – its first from an agency outside London – and spent much of that year speaking at international conferences across the globe.
In 2010/11 he was 'International Delegate at Large' for the Public Relations Society of America – the world's largest PR organisation – and the first non-US citizen ever to fill that role. For the last two years, Tony has been a trustee of the CIPR benevolent fund, iprovision.
In 2000 he was awarded Fellowship of the CIPR, and at the CIPR PRide Awards in 2007 received a special award in recognition of achievements for the Institute and the North East's public relations profession. This was followed by a civic reception hosted by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle to mark his contribution to PR in the region.
Lisa van Heereveld MCIPR
Lisa recently joined the PR industry, working as Marketing and PR Officer with local housing association, Byker Community Trust.
Alongside her role, she is also supporting Plan Digital, who organise Newcastle Startup Week and Founder's Friday, and Social Enterprise Acumen and Acumen Community Buildings, all on a voluntary basis.
Lisa is originally from the Netherlands and moved to the UK in 2013 to pursue a degree in Media Communications at Newcastle University. Since then she has interned with various local SMEs in marketing and PR until settling into her full-time role.
Kayleigh Hepburn MCIPR
Kayleigh was invited to join the committee after being named Outstanding Young Communicator at the North East PRide Awards in 2017.
A Senior Account Manager at O Communications in Newcastle working with the agency’s travel, hospitality and leisure clients, she started her career in the public sector within the press office at Northumberland County Council, and is a University of Sunderland alumni with a degree in Public Relations.
Committed to playing a role in inspiring the next generation of PR practitioners, she engages with the region’s universities and coordinates work experience opportunities for students. Additionally, she is passionate about health and wellbeing in the workplace and leads a programme of initiatives.