Name: Donna Castle
Job title: Head of Public Affairs and Policy
Employer: Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
Find Donna on Twitter: @donnacastle
How I got started in Public Affairs
By accident. After university I got a job as an account executive at a PR agency expecting most of my work to be media relations, but one of the accounts I was assigned to had a public affairs programme which I really enjoyed delivering. When the time came to move on, I decided to look for a public affairs role.
What I do
It's really hard to say, every day is different. I could be developing a campaign strategy, advising senior colleagues and members on an issue, writing a policy paper, meeting with external stakeholders or politicians, attending an event or conference… All days will involve keeping abreast of the news agenda and what is going on in the four UK political administrations, meetings with colleagues and a lot of emails!
My favourite campaign
There are a number of campaigns that I am really proud of, but probably the most high profile one is the campaign for the ban on smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces, when I was working at the British Lung Foundation. It was a real team effort working with colleagues from a range of different third sector organisations and it has made such a difference to people's lives and health outcomes.
What motivates me in my job
I am motivated by seeking to right injustices, such as people living with a health condition not being able to access the services they need. I enjoy getting to grips with an issue, understanding the policy drivers, developing a case for change and then communicating it to stakeholders and decision makers, finding different ways and opportunities to present the arguments. It is really rewarding when you have campaigned for something, sometimes for several years, and you finally win!
Why I enrolled in CIPR CPD and became an Accredited Practitioner
Being an Accredited Practitioner means you undertake a significant amount of CPD each year, and that has definitely added value as it means I devote time to learning, networking with colleagues and keeping up to date.
Advice for someone starting out in Public Relations
People will keep telling you that you need a five-year plan or a 10-year plan. You don't, just learn to identify opportunities when they arise and grab them with both hands.