Rhona Blake, Managing Director, FleishmanHillard Ireland and Chairman, Public Relations Consultants Association (Ireland) welcomes PR leaders to the ICCO Summit in Dublin, Ireland, a country punching above its weight and playing its part in shaping the future of PR.
It is my pleasure to welcome our colleagues from across the world to Dublin for the ICCO Global Summit 2018. In our native language, Gaeilge, we say céad míle fáilte – a hundred thousand welcomes.
This Summit takes place within days of the tenth anniversary of what, for many, was the beginning of public awareness of a recession that would leave few, if any, of our nations untouched – the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Ireland was more deeply impacted than many economies, however, ten years on, it is very much back and open for business. The Global Innovation Index, co-published by Cornell University, ranks this small nation fourth in the world in infrastructure, knowledge, and technology outputs, and tenth for market sophistication. We also score highly in areas such as tech exports and foreign direct investment. The number of people at work is now higher than before the crash and our Central Statistics Office recently announced that the number of Irish emigrants moving back to the country has overtaken the numbers leaving, for the first time since 2008.
So, these are times of optimism for our small island. And in our role as advisors to local and global brands and organisations we have a responsibility to avoid complacency and to look ahead to the next decade.
Certainly, we are living in interesting, disrupted and disruptive times. On this island, Brexit is a game-changer, whatever shape it takes. World trade wars reach into our businesses and those of our clients. Shifts in climate, technology, and political ideologies alter the contexts in which we work. There are inter-generational divides in western economies of a nature we have not seen before. We focus a lot on the so-called ‘millennial’ generation but in this country, for example, the over 50s are the fastest growing segment of the population and the most affluent. Indeed, young people in many developed economies no longer expect to be better off than their parents.
These are some of the reasons why the theme of ICCO 2018, Shaping the Future, is so apt. I look forward to sharing and learning from our peers across the world as to how best we can prepare ourselves to help and counsel our clients and to do what we do best, take care of business. As Abraham Lincoln said: ‘the best way to predict the future is to create it’.
I hope you enjoy the 2018 ICCO Global Summit and your visit to Ireland.
Rhona Blake, Chairman of PRCA Ireland