Committee members are all volunteers and are appointed each year at the CIPR Scotland AGM. Please scroll below to view their profiles and social media links. To get in touch with the committee please email us via the contact us section.
- Laura Sutherland (Chair)
- Nicki Sturzaker (Vice Chair)
- Grant Thoms (Treasurer)
- Joe Walton (Secretary)
- Caroline Binnie
- Cristina Dello Sterpaio
- Neil Jones
- Laura Berry
- Jo-Anne HamiltonX
- Candace Watermeyer
- Ruth Fry
- Kenny McDonald
Laura Sutherland (nee Campbell), 31, is managing director of Aura PR (Scotland) Ltd and founder and director of Dynamic Young Women. In 2008, along with co-director and Fellow of the CIPR, Flora Martin, Laura set up Aura PR.
Laura is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and an Individual Member of the PRCA. She was a finalist in the 2009/10 Young Communicator of the Year Award and served as vice chairman of CIPR Scotland in 2010/11. Laura comes armed with over ten years experience in the PR industry, both in-house and agency and will admit that she likes to work using all the communications tools, being innovative in her approach to a brief.
Laura’s key areas of expertise are planning and strategy, strategic partnerships, consumer and business-to-business media relations, event management and social networking. She has worked across a number of industries with clients such as LK Bennett, Laing the Jeweller, Morris Furniture, Scottish Leather Group, Black & Lizars, Strathclyde Safety Camera Partnership, Riverside Inverclyde, Lotus Cars, RPM Morgan, Glasgow Audi, Friends of the Beatson, The Waverley and most recently, has commenced work on the West End Festival.
Caroline has over 20 years experience in corporate communications, predominantly in the public sector. As Communications Manager at Falkirk Council since 1997, she leads a corporate team delivering public and media relations, digital communications, engagement and crisis communications, focussing on creativity, effectiveness and value for money. During this time, Caroline has been responsible for shaping the Council’s communications response to a wide range of issues, from the first cases of swine flu in the UK to Scotland’s most successful lottery bid which secured £25m for the Helix project.
A graduate of Edinburgh University, she has a particular interest in communications resilience and chairs the communications sub group of the Central Scotland Strategic Co-ordinating Group. She currently represents the Regional Counting Officer for Scotland on the UK communications network set up to prepare for the referendum on the alternative voting system. Falkirk Council’s team has won a range of industry awards, including CIPR Scotland’s Public Sector Team of the Year in 2004 and 2009.
Cristina Dello Sterpaio
Cristina is a Communications Officer for the Scottish Social Services Council, the regulatory body for social care in Scotland, where her role involves supporting and advising colleagues on internal and external communication. Within her role she also monitors and promotes the organisation through the media.
Cristina has a BA (Hons) in Communications, Advertising and PR from the Edinburgh Napier University. She has also worked in various roles within both private and public sector.
Neil Jones has worked in communications for 35 years, in both internal and external roles and as a marketing manager and as a journalist. Based in Montrose he currently provides internal and external communications services for BP and Shell. He also works with a leading specialist crisis communications consultancy in Aberdeen providing 24/7 media response cover for several oil industry operating companies, including Hess, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Nexen. He is a freelance contributor to a number of specialist industry magazines as well as writing for the world’s leading opera magazine and occasionally contributing to The Sunday Times, The Times and Scottish nationals. One of only two CIPR Approved Trainers in Scotland, Neil delivers PR and writing skills courses all over the UK.
Nicki has over 14 years’ experience in consultancy and in-house public relations. She is a seasoned marketing communications specialist with strategic expertise in corporate, stakeholder and consumer programmes. Nicki has spent the past 10 years working for various consultancies in London and has held several director positions with agencies including The Communication Group and Text 100. Prior to moving south she began her career in the marketing department of Scottish Borders Tourist Board in Selkirk.
Her experience crosses many industry sectors from tourism and transport to retail and leisure, public sector and the environment. An honours graduate in Marketing from the University of Stirling, Nicki also completed the CIPR post-graduate diploma at Queen Margaret University. Since joining BIG in 2010, Nicki has worked on a number of high-profile accounts and campaigns, including Energy UK, the Institute of Directors, Balhousie Care Group, Forth Ports, Zero Waste Scotland and DLA Piper.
Grant Thoms MCIPR & Accredited Practitioner
Grant is self-employed as a lobbyist and political consultant primarily working in the renewables sector, reflecting his past six years as Public Affairs Manager for Scottish Renewables. Grant’s experience lies in political monitoring, lobbying and parliamentary relations, including briefing parliamentarians and councillors, and providing the secretariat for the cross party group in the Scottish Parliament on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Grant is also a part-time lecturer in public relations at Edinburgh Napier University.
Previously Grant was head of campaigns for the Scottish National Party from 2002-2005. Grant is board director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, committee member of a number of local organisations, a former Glasgow City Councillor. Grant has a degree in hotel management from Edinburgh Napier University, a postgraduate certificate in public relations from Queen Margaret University and won the overall course award for his CIPR Public Affairs Diploma with Distinction in 2011.
Joe Walton is a director at Real PR. He has been with the company since joining as a graduate trainee in 2005. Originally from Northumberland, he settled in Scotland after completing a postgraduate degree in Public Relations at Stirling University and an undergraduate degree in Psychology at St Andrews.
During his career he has worked with wide variety of clients including: charities, blue-chip and public sector organisations, specialist finance companies and tourism groups. Joe has also spent time on secondment as PR Manager at Matthews Marketing and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. His work on several campaigns has been recognised at the Scottish PRide awards. He was a runner up in the young communicator of the year category in 2010.
Originally from Liverpool, Laura Berry is a PR Account Manager at Holyrood Partnership and has been with the agency since 2010 when she joined after completing a post graduate degree in Public Relations at Queen Margaret University and an undergraduate degree in English Literature and Language at the University of Edinburgh.
Since joining Holyrood PR Laura has worked on a variety of clients, including public sector, food and drink, health and beauty, property, education and more. She also works on social media, media relations and reputation management for clients. Laura was named the CIPR Scotland Young Communicator of the Year in October 2011.
Details to follow
Candace Watermeyer, MCIPR
Candy is a South African with lofty ambitions of developing a Scottish accent. In her day job she looks after communication, marketing and PR for a national membership organisation. After hours you will probably find her talking, laughing, horse riding, or watching Pixar – sometimes all at the same time.
Ruth Fry MCIPR
Ruth is an Accredited Practitioner of the CIPR and has over ten years’ experience in public sector PR. She started her career with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and for the past six years has worked in local government in Scotland, leading award-winning communications for the Lothian Pension Fund and successful projects for Clackmannanshire Council, including communications around the re-opening of Alloa rail station.
She is currently Corporate Communications Manager of Perth & Kinross Council. A graduate of the University of St Andrews and holder of the CIPR Diploma, Ruth has a particular interest in internal and change communications and in partnership working.
Kenny has a wealth of public sector experience across a range of communications and marketing disciplines. His first taste of PR, events and marketing was at Dundee Contemporary Arts. In the 10 years since, he has been immersed in health and care, spending equally enjoyable times at Hertfordshire County Council, Department of Health in Whitehall, and now NHSScotland.
Currently, he is Communications Manager for NHS Health Scotland, the national agency for health improvement. Kenny’s varied role involves working with people from all sectors and levels to develop and implement strategies to help tackle the single biggest health challenge facing Scotland – our enduring and growing health inequalities gap.
Kenny lives in Dundee and spends most working days in Edinburgh or Glasgow. He is a full CIPR Member, Accredited Practitioner, and in addition to his MA (Hons) Politics, was awarded CIPR Diploma with Merit.