The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) inducted UK Government Communication Executive Director Alex Aiken, Nigerian PR trailblazer Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, and Global Women in PR co-founders Angela Oakes and Susan Hardwick into its exclusive Hall of Fame during today’s ICCO Global Awards ceremony.
Established in 2003, the ICCO Hall of Fame recognises those who have made exceptional progress in the internationalisation of the public relations industry, and who have combined cultural sensitivity with commercial acumen to create agencies that share global reach with local relevance.
The 2021 Class joins industry greats like Harold Burson, Richard Edelman, and Margery Kraus.
Alex Aiken, Executive Director for UK Government Communication, said:
“It’s an honour to be recognised alongside leaders of our industry like David Gallagher, Karen van Bergen and Barry Leggeter. And I’ve learnt from the work of many people that the ICCO have already recognised, from Harold Burson to the Edelman’s, and the late Lord Bell. I’m grateful to the ICCO and will use this recognition to redouble my efforts to promote effective, ethical and enterprising communication around the world.”
Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, President, African Public Relations Association (APRA), Group Managing Director, CMC Connect (Perception Managers), said:
“I am deeply humbled and honoured to have been elected into this famed hall of achievers in public relations. As I celebrate it, I am quickly reminded of how much more work we still have to do to ensure public relations is rightly valued. Many of our clients relate with us with great levels of ambiguity, which blunts our competitiveness. We as practitioners must collectively correct this anomaly through Affirmative Public Relations. I thank ICCO for recognizing Africa through me and as a continent, promise to continue our contributions to the advancement of global practice.”
GWPR Co-Founders Angela Oakes and Susan Hardwick said:
“We are both absolutely delighted to accept this award in recognition of the networking organisation we founded and developed – GWPR. Sue and I launched GWPR as a not-for-profit membership organisation in 2015. Our goal is to champion, connect and support women in senior roles in PR and Communications all over the world.
“Over the last six years we have successfully built a truly global membership organisation, with GWPR national networking groups and affiliates across Europe, Russia, India, Africa, the Middle East, Central America and Asia Pacific. And in 2022 we are thrilled that the US will also be joining the GWPR global network.
“The gender issue of ‘women in the boardroom’ is high on the business agenda globally and although PR women dominate this industry worldwide, there remains a significant imbalance in the boardroom. We strongly believe that creating a better balance is important; not just for women, but for business as a whole. Not only do we shine a light on these issues, but we drive activity programmes to come up with solutions and help make change.
“Finally, we would wholeheartedly like to thank ICCO – and in particular Francis Ingham – for having faith in us and supporting us since the very beginning.”
Further information about the 2021 ICCO Hall of Fame Inductees:
Alex Aiken is the Executive Director for Government Communication covering international issues and national security. He is part of the leadership of the Government Communication Service and was appointed in December 2012. He had led the biggest government campaigns of the last decade on Covid, Brexit, and the GREAT Britain campaign. Between 2000 and 2012, he was Director of Communications and Strategy for Westminster City Council. Before joining Westminster he worked in Parliament and for Conservative Party. He has trained and advised politicians and officials in countries and states around the world in the practice of government and communications.
Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, or YBO, as he is popularly called, is one of the premier PR practitioners in Nigeria and Africa, with more than 30 years of experience. Having founded CMC Connect Limited in 1992, Yomi has consulted for many multinationals and governments in Nigeria and abroad in areas of government relations & legislative affairs, perception management, marketing, advertising, PR and crisis communications. He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) where he was past Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter. He also sits on the boards of several blue-chip companies in Nigeria. As part of his continued efforts at mainstreaming Africa into global PR practice, YBO has served as a Board Member of the International Public Relations Association (IPRA).
His love for Africa is evident in his selfless service to the African Public Relations Association (APRA) where he served as a two-term Secretary-General and is the current President. He was recently appointed as West Africa Chair for the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA). He has bagged several awards in his profession including the prestigious PR Golden Eagle Award as the Most Outstanding Public Relations Person of the Year 2010.
Angela Oakes is a PR professional with an impressive track record working with global multi-nationals on strategic brand development and integrated consumer campaigns. In the 1980s, Angela worked at several London-based PR agencies including Hill & Knowlton, Catalyst Communications and the Grayling Company, where she worked with the Grayling founder to help develop the business. This invaluable experience of seeing a successful agency being built from scratch led her to subsequently launch her own PR agency Oakes Bacot, later re-branded Treehouse PR.
Angela’s personal experience of the value of a networking organisation like WPR, at a time when she was juggling her own business with childcare responsibilities, spearheaded her decision to work with Sue Hardwick on launching Global Women in PR in 2015. She believes this is her legacy to the global PR industry and a clear demonstration of her passion to empower the next generation of PR women to become senior leaders.
Susan Hardwick was formerly a board director at one of the UK’s top PR consultancies (owned by Countrywide Porter Novelli), head of communications for a large retail chain, and ran her own business (Hardwick PR).
An experienced advisor on brand development and issues management, Sue handled a wide portfolio of UK and international clients. Clients ranged from FTSE 100 companies to top international sporting events. Whilst being primarily based in the UK her work was of a global nature masterminding communications programmes throughout Europe and the USA.
Being involved with Women in PR provided a very important support network when juggling running a business with being a mother. To have had the chance to then develop GWPR has been a significant part of Sue’s involvement in the PR industry. Networking remains an essential part of business life and to have helped to generate a worldwide group of organisations, supporting each other, has been a real high point and an important part of supporting women in an industry she loves.