Industry News

Fellowship is the highest accolade from the IoIC, recognising the experience, impact and effectiveness of those in the industry, and judged by an independent panel of peers.


Five of this year’s IoIC Fellowship awards were presented by IoIC presdient Suzanne Peck at the ICon event at London Stock Exchange this week.
 
We are thrilled to have awarded Fellowships this year to Andy Holt, Jo Godfrey, Justin Robbins, Karen Dempster, Rich Baker, Richard Donovan and Tracy Keates. 
 
Our new IoIC Fellows  
 
Andy Holt
Andy describes himself as an ‘accidental Internal Communicator’. His road to IC began as a designer at art college, moving on to design and brand agencies, then newspapers. He joined Words&Pictures 23 years ago as Creative Director, initially concentrating on educational and corporate marketing before turning his creative skills to internal communications. He says: ‘Rather than being the poor cousin of marketing, IC was a far more interesting, exciting and innovative space in which to work.”
 
At W&P he’s helped to deepen IC understanding and deliver impactful communications, fuelling his obsession with creating communications that work and connect with employees.
 
He’s also helping to shape the future landscape of communications, an advocate for IC, mobiliser and mentor and an active supporter of IoIC including much appreciated work in re-igniting IoIC North.
 
Jo Godfrey
Jo is Head of Internal Communications at Nestlé.With more than 20 years of experience in advising a range of blue chip companies, including WHSmith, Schroders, HSBC and American Express, she’s  at ease working with leadership and frontline people.
 
Her current role is leading the internal communications team for Nestlé with 8,000 employees in the UK and Ireland.  Since joining a year ago, she’s created an internal communications strategy to support key priorities and is developing a strategy to engage people in Nestle’s new narrative and purpose at a time when the food and drink industry is going through significant change.
Although she’s worked across all communications disciplines in her career, her clear passion is in internal communications and she is generous with her time, passing on her knowledge and enthusiasm to others.
 
Justin Robbins
Justin ‘chose’ the path of internal communication. He says: ‘I saw an absolute need for any organisation, no matter what size, to communicate well with its employees’ and that’s what he has spent the last 15 years doing, including working with Pearson and the Zurich Insurance Group.
 
He says he believes firmly in listening before speaking and practices this by developing a listening model for the work that he does with organisations.
 
He co-founded Fit2Communicate in 2014, with the vision of helping schools to achieve better results by raising the bar on their communication. He’s also co-authored a book called ‘How to build communication success in your school – a guide for school leaders’ which was published in March this year.
Colleagues say of Justin that his openness to new ideas and flawless delivery always shine through.
 
Karen Dempster
Karen has more than 20 years’ experience of helping organisations to communicate and achieve better results, 10 of those years in senior, global comms roles in Pearson and Zurich, working with highly complex audiences. Unlocking people is her mission, engaging them to be at their best so individuals and organisations can succeed.
 
She set up her company, Fit2Communicate, in 2015 with Justin focusing on corporate, charity and education communication. Their work is leading a new approach to communication from the inside out supporting schools so students can succeed.  Former colleagues say that Karen is invaluable, a very strong partner who creates impactful, simple and memorable communication. She has lots ofenergy and is totally unflappable, can easily sift through complexity and detail, creating clarity and simplicity.

Rich Baker

For Rich, internal communication isn't just his job, it’s his passion. He began his career outside of communications and has worked at a junior and then senior level in operations, logistics, and customer service, which has given him an excellent insight into the realities of working life, and the way internal communication can help - and hinder - progress.
 
He’s worked with Virgin Trains on transformation projects,  at London Midland where he built an internal communications and engagement function from scratch and launched the world’s first corporate donation platform, called London Midland Giving, He then headed up communication for Carlsberg UK, repositioning the function as a strategic partner and supporting delivery of the business strategy during unprecedented change. He then joined a consultancy, setting up their IC offer, and worked with brands including Boots and Vision Express on projects to help communicate vision, organisational change and improve how people communicate with each other.
 
This year he was jointly responsible for the IoIC Central and North Awards, the best attended regional event in its history, and has held roles that include Head of Internal Campaigns at HS2, and Head of Internal Communications at Northgate PLC, as well as currently at National Grid. Rich also leads the regional volunteer teams for the IoIC, and runs an IC consultancy. 
 
Richard Donovan
Having spent the majority of his 19-year working career in internal communications, he says he’s encountered most of the scenarios an IC practitioner is likely to face. By leading teams at Egg, Capital One, Citibank and now at Experian, he has significant experience in developing and delivering Internal Communications strategies that align to business goals, and partnering with the most senior stakeholders in the companies I’ve worked for. 
 
Since joining Experian in 2012 he has also spoken at an IOIC Central conference and with the team received a number of IOIC award wins, which recognised the effort we went through to transform the role of the Internal Communication team in the UK&I. His central belief is that we learn to share and says that at every opportunity he tries to support, coach and share his own experiences with others and in developing others. “We all have something to learn and I’ve consistently pushed myself to learn new skills, be it formal learning like my MBA, becoming a Myers Briggs practitioner, and more recently taking my NLP diploma, or by putting myself into new scenarios, such as my position on the Board and the Audit Committee for one of the largest colleges in the UK – Nottingham College”.

Tracy Keates
Tracy didn’t expect to stay in internal communication when 15 years ago she was asked to join a brand new team at the Halifax, building an intranet. With her background in project management it made sense, but when time came to move back into change management, she didn’t go.
 
She’d found her ‘calling’.
 
From that small intranet team a communication team grew, she moved into events, first a leadership conference then, through various mergers, acquisitions of credit card and insurance companies, she continued her development and IC knowledge, working across the Lloyds Banking Group.
She’s now director of strategic communication at Limehouse TV, working with different organisations with new challenges and new teams.
 
Tracy says that the IOIC has been with her every step of her journey, a member from the start of her IC career and she’s given back as a supporter, as the North Region’s director for a couple of years, and with time on the IoIC Board.

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