A constellation of comms pros

Congratulations to all of the Rising Stars in comms who were recognised by recruiter VMA Group last week.

risingstarsThe event took place on Thursday night at their offices in London to reveal the winners of their inaugural contest to find the brightest new talent in four categories: internal communication, marketing, agency communications and digital.

I went along because I nominated Sarah Hodges @hodgessarah in the internal communication category (Sarah is in the orange dress in the pic on this page) and Steven Murgatroyd @steve_murg (who I’m pictured with top left) in the digital category.

Unfortunately they didn’t scoop the top prize in their categories, but well done to them both for making the shortlist. We had a good night celebrating their success alongside other comms pros, and it was lovely to see some of The IC Crowd members and lots of familiar faces in the room. VMA Group certainly know how to throw a party!

The winners had a star named in their honour, which I thought was a nice touch. The five were:

Digital Rising Star: Richard Atkinson @RichAtk, Senior Web Relations Manager, Barclaycard

“Richard has radically improved Barclaycard’s customer service model through engaging the online community around the brand”, Darren Caveney, @darrencaveney, who co-runs Comms2Point0, and was one of the Digital category Rising Stars judges.

Marketing Rising Star: Gareth Groarke, Senior Marketing Manager, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

“Flexible, positive, strategic, creative, consultative, cooperative and results-focused. Gareth’s entry really astounded the judges.” John Harte, Marketing Communications Consultant, VMA Group.

Agency Communications Rising Star: Lucy Miles, Account Director, Pelham Bell Pottinger

“A real expert who has established a vast array on contacts in a short space of time”, Nicky Young, Director at Salt and Rising Stars judge.

Internal Communications Rising Stars: Katie Stray, Internal Communications Officer, Housing 21 and Victoria Stuart, Communications Manager, Serco Docklands

“Katie and Victoria’s entries were both so compelling, we genuinely could not choose between them”, Michelle Morgan, Senior Consultant, Internal Communications Practice, VMA Group. The IC judges were Liz Cochrane and Jenny Davenport, who lead the post-graduate diploma in Internal Communication Management course at Kingston Uni (and were my tutors in 2008/9).

VMA Group held a Google+ hangout at the same time to ‘dial in’ some of the guest judges and people who had won but weren’t able to be there. You can see the 20 minute clip below, including Dan Slee @danslee, of Comms2point0.

You can see more images from the night via this Pinterest board.

If you missed out on the Rising Stars awards, don’t forget you still have time to enter the Top 30 under 30 awards from the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC). See my previous article and read all you need to know via the IoIC website. The deadline to get your entry in is 23 September. Good luck!


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