Eight outstanding professionals awarded PRINZ Fellow status

22 March 2016

The Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) has recognised excellence in the fields of public relations and communications, with the induction of eight new Fellows from across New Zealand.

PRINZ Fellows are chosen based upon their significant contribution to the public relations industry.

The new Fellows are: Auckland: Julien Leys, SenateSHJ, Peter Parussini, ANZ Bank, Suzanne McNamara, Cadence Communications, Karl Ferguson, Auckland Council and Carolyn Kerr, Anthem; Tauranga: Amanda Weatherley, Tauranga City Council; Christchurch: Leigh Harris, Convergence and Erin Jamieson, Convergence.

Each new Fellow will be recognised at an awards ceremony on May 12 in Auckland where they will be inducted by PRINZ president, Bruce Fraser and chair of the College of Fellows, Brenda Saunders.

From the nominations:

Julien Leys is an outstanding practitioner, whose energy for our profession – and the professional body that represents it – is infectious and inspiring.

Julien has devoted more than 20 years to the communications industry. A qualified lawyer, Julien soon realised that his true passion lay elsewhere. His first job in his new profession was the perfect mix of law and communications: an advisory role to the Minister of Local Government, during the heady days of New Zealand's first MMP Parliament.

A long career as a consultant followed, and then, ten years ago, he took the plunge and started his own business, JML Communications (later known as PR Partners).

Julien’s energy and expertise are the secret to his success and that of his clients. After a decade of hard work and business growth, PR Partners merged with SenateSHJ in July 2015, and Julien is now a partner and shareholder in the New Zealand business, and serves as General Manager of SenateSHJ’s Auckland office.

He has won the respect of his clients for his integrity, insight and advice and is thoroughly deserving of the title “trusted advisor”. He can always be relied upon to give the very best advice, even when it’s something that clients may prefer not to hear.

Julien has also contributed to the development of the industry, serving over the years as an advisor to UNITEC’s communications studies programme, as a regular speaker at the APR body of knowledge seminar series and as committee member of PRINZ Northern Division.

Julien is passionate about our work, our profession, and the people that he works with, both clients and colleagues. He leads by example, brings huge energy to everything that he does and encourages all around him to do their best possible work and have fun while doing it.

Peter Parussini is responsible for ANZ Bank New Zealand’s external and internal communications, CSR, government relations and customer complaints, and is on the company’s New Zealand Leadership Team.

Peter recently led the communications work around the merger of The National Bank and ANZ, New Zealand’s biggest brand change project. His more than 30 years of experience spans journalism, sports marketing, university lecturing, sponsorships, branding, broadcasting, politics and international affairs.

Peter and his team have won the PRINZ “Corporate Public Relations” and “Supreme” awards, IABC Gold Quill excellence and merit awards, Global Alliance COMM Prix awards and a “Silver Stevie” at the International Business Awards.

He has spoken at several PRINZ conferences and was part of the governance group for the PRINZ pitch to host the WPRF here in 2018.

In 2005 Peter was a “Fellow In Residence” at Furman University’s Richard Riley Institute for Politics and Education in Greenville, South Carolina, and in 2008 won a Commonwealth Broadcasters Association bursary to look at public service broadcasting in Britain. He has been an adjunct professor at The George Washington University and given guest lectures at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Peter was recognised recently for his contribution to education in low decile communities with an “Outstanding Service” Award by the "Achievement In Multi-Cultural High Schools" group. He has been the Chair of the Board of Trustees for Southern Cross Campus School in Mangere since 2008, is on the international advisory board of APEC’s youth programme “Voices” and was a founding Trustee of South Auckland youth mentoring initiative The Rising Foundation. Peter has also served a term as a Wellington City Councillor.

He leads by example and is a senior professional who well-deserves this accolade.

Suzanne McNamara is a highly experienced practitioner, who has around two decades’ PR, media relations, marketing and marketing communication experience in the arts, culture, sustainability, commercial and not-for-profit sectors. In addition to working in-house at TVNZ, Suzanne has also run two successful PR consultancies; the Auckland arm of Convergence for 9 years and, since late 2014 has been the co-owner of Cadence Communications.

She has supported the industry in a number of ways, including mentoring a young practitioner, hiring interns and through active involvement in PRINZ’s Northern Committee.

During her time on the committee she has planned and run a number of events, including: the highly successful Andrea Vance event, the women in PR event, the October 2015 lobbying event and the 2014 PRINZ Christmas events.

Suzanne is an ethical and responsible practitioner who is tenacious and goes to great lengths to achieve results for her clients and for PRINZ. Her tenacity and the high quality of her PR practice have been recognised through two PRINZ awards (2010 Special Project Award and 2014 Limited Budget Award).

Karl Ferguson is a consummate public relations professional. With a degree in Political Science and Public Policy he has a thorough understanding of the theory of public service and a practical knowledge and experience borne of serving in several key communication roles. From Corporate Communications with Inland Revenue to wrestling with school rationalisation measures in the Ministry of Education, Karl has brought a calm and thoughtful approach to his work. A discerning operator with high standards he is known for recruiting teams of high calibre.

He is highly regarded at many levels and was a key figure in crisis management in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake and later with the Rena grounding. In Christchurch he selflessly put his busy Wellington based role as National Manager Strategic Engagement and Communications with the New Zealand Transport Agency on hold to serve as part of a dynamic duo with Spiro Anastasiou. They rotated communications management shifts on behalf of the National Controller of Civil Defence.

In recent years Karl has been a key figure in the State Sector Heads of Communications group. He was appointed a Deputy Head of the Communications Profession by the State Services Commission, an extra-curricular role in which he has been instrumental in promoting the function amongst sector leaders.

In recognition of the regard in which he is held his current employer, Auckland Council, agreed with the State Services Commission to allow Karl to continue in his Deputy Head of Communications role and to act as a key liaison manager between the Auckland Local Authority and Central Government.

With his belief in the importance of public relations, Karl is a keen supporter of PRINZ and advocates membership of our professional body among his team. Last year he served on the APR panel, a further example of his desire to see growth in the numbers of highly skilled and ethical public relations practitioners.

Carolyn Kerr is a sought-out public relations leader and strategist with a breadth of skills in marketing and corporate communications. This enables her to devise strategies and campaigns ranging from stakeholder engagement, issues management, investor relations and financial communications, internal communications to marketing and sponsorships.

With experience across a number of sectors including travel and tourism, financial services, agriculture, insurance, property and food and beverage, Carolyn has undertaken strategic and innovative work for some leading international and local companies such as Visa, IAG, Stride Property, Auckland Airport and Hawaiian Airlines.

Working closely with the world’s largest payments technology and publicly-listed company, Visa, for the past ten years. Carolyn has been responsible for leading the development and execution of Visa New Zealand’s communications strategy, covering corporate communications, government relations and marketing communications.

She was a key driver in helping New Zealand’s largest private insurer, IAG, develop its strategy for introducing changes in home insurance following the Christchurch earthquakes, which resulted in the award-winning customer educational campaign Need2Know.

Carolyn’s intuition and relationship skills, hallmark client service and commitment to always going beyond the brief have made her much loved by her clients who call her nothing less than a ‘miracle worker’. She is a business owner of Anthem and is in high demand due to the calm, attentive and authoritative service she delivers to clients. She has attracted many clients to the agency due to her ability to span the breadth of our discipline, her strategic nous, solutions focus and exemplary client service ethic.

Carolyn is a PRINZ Accredited Public Relations practitioner and is the recipient of many industry awards. She has participated on Viva Voce panels as part of the PRINZ APR course and has mentored PR students and graduates who have blossomed into seasoned professionals.

Amanda Weatherley is a PR practitioner who has earned a high level of respect, admiration and trust from those she has worked for and with over 19 years of practice, both in New Zealand and overseas.

She has worked directly for private and listed commercial sector businesses, central and local government organisations, not for profits, and as a self-employed consultant, for organisations covering all of those. Her work has earned her a reputation as a professional with high standards, a fantastic worth ethic, excellent communication and interpersonal skills amongst stakeholders covering a wide range of publics.

Amanda has held communications roles for local government, corporate and agencies in New Zealand and the UK, including Telecom, The Carphone Warehouse, Zespri, BUPA and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. Amanda was on the PRINZ National Council from 2006 to 2014 and led the BOP Communicators’ Forum during that time. Amanda is currently a Group Communication Advisor at Tauranga City Council.

Fellow professionals admire and respect Amanda for both her work ethic and her achievements, and regard her as a shining example of what a true PR and communication professional should be, and a fantastic ambassador for the profession.

Leigh Harris is managing partner of Convergence Communications – a Christchurch-based consultancy. Leigh has 25 years’ experience in PR consultancy, corporate communications, and TV journalism and production. She joined business partner Erin Jamieson in 2001 when Convergence was established, and together they have guided it to become one of the region’s largest and most respected PR firms. Convergence has a diverse client base throughout New Zealand.

Prior to launching Convergence, Leigh was communications manager for Wools of New Zealand – the international marketing division of the New Zealand Wool Board, a reporter and director at Canterbury Television, and communications manager of Christchurch’s Park Royal Hotel.

In her role as co-owner of Convergence, Leigh has mentored many young practitioners as they have developed their professional careers. She is known for giving extra support and time to assisting in her staff’s professional and personal development.

She is outspoken in her support for the communications profession along with the need for professionalism, and is a staunch supporter and promoter of the APR qualification. Leigh completed her APR in 1999.

For five years Leigh was on the Southern Region PRINZ committee and played a key role in organising the 2001 PRINZ conference in Christchurch.

Leigh regularly attends branch events and encourages her staff to do the same.

Convergence has entered the PRINZ awards on numerous occasions, with many of their entries receiving honours including co-winner of the Supreme national award in 2012.

Erin Jamieson is a respected communications practitioner with a diverse career and excellent communications skills.

Her award-winning company, Convergence, continues to produce excellent work for a huge variety of clients. Erin is committed to professional development in staff and expects no less of herself, with an impressive CV of continuing education in the field. She’s a supporter of PRINZ, encourages membership and participates at a senior and mentor level locally.

Erin is known for bringing a creative approach to communications, along with sound experience in strategic planning. She is an award-winning practitioner and has worked internationally with some of the world’s leading brands. As a consultant she provides strategic communications advice to businesses and organisations across many sectors.

Erin has an excellent understanding of the business of PR and commands the respect of her peers.