2017 Inspiration finalist: Camilla Swain

2017 Inspiration finalist: Camilla Swain

Camilla Swain, PR Manager, Girlguiding was nominated for the Suzy Spirit Inspiration award by members of her team, Charlotte Kelloway and Laura Payne.

Despite the fact that Camilla has only been with the organisation for less than a year, she’s completely changed the way the team work and think about things, as Charlotte says; ” she does everything with energy, creativity and encourages us to think outside the box.”

The winner of the Suzy Spirit Inspiration award will be announced on March 17.

A day in the life of a senior health promotion officer at BCUK

A day in the life of a senior health promotion officer at BCUK

Reema HuzairReema Huzair is a Senior Health Promotion and Training Officer at Bowel Cancer UK, and the money raised through the Suzy Spirit Award contributes to the important work that she does. This is a day in her life.

7am: I wake up and start the day with a green or purple smoothie. It’s a great time of day to get a big dose of vitamins and fibre. I like to boost my immunity this way, particularly with potential viruses and packed tube journeys ahead of me.

9am: I leave my home in Walthamstow and head into work, on the way in I check my emails for any new volunteers signing up. These volunteers are vital to raising awareness of bowel cancer in local communities, and a large part of my role at the charity is to identify pockets of communities where there is a low intake of bowel cancer screening for the over 60s (and over 50s in Scotland).

Screening is the first step of testing for bowel cancer. If diagnosed at the earliest stage, bowel cancer can be treated successfully, with nine out of ten people surviving for more than five years. However, only one in ten people are diagnosed at this stage. I train volunteers to give talks about the importance of taking their screening test, which is delivered to them at heir home.

10.30am: I’m in a meeting with the NHS to see how we can best assist health workers. This involves discussing targets for screening, budgets and weighing-up effective interventions. The outcome of these meetings may be that educational materials or our health professional training will be part of a wider campaign, which also includes different forms of health promotion.

12.30am: I grab my packed lunch from the office fridge. It’s always a big salad with fish, beans or a meat replacement product. My intention is to move from a pescetarian to a vegetarian diet in the next few months. There is often a bit of cake lurking in the office which I will be sure to sample if it is an exercise day! I will have lunch as I look on the internet for flats to view as I am trying to buy a place in East London.

1pm: I travel into central London to meet with a local council where screening uptake is low. We discuss their targets for screening, budgets and weigh up effective health campaigns.

3pm: I’m back in the office, researching and preparing slides and handouts for upcoming talks as well as emailing volunteers, most of whom are bowel cancer survivors. Regular contact is important so they feel motivated to stay with us. I congratulate them on their talks and keep them up-to-date about research findings that will affect their awareness discussions. They often mention bits and pieces about cancer prevention that they may have come across in the news.


5pm: I finish work on time, grab my dance kit and head off to my dance class in Covent Garden for a 6pm start.  It’s usually some variation of hip hop as there’s nothing better than slamming your body around to a heavy bassline after a long day.

9pm: I get home and get on with preparing dinner. This is usually a vegetable stir fry, as I’ve had a protein shake after class. As it’s cooking, I go to YouTube to see the uploaded dance routines from class just earlier. It is sometimes cringe-worthy, but occasionally I pull out a good one! Dinner is almost always viewed with the latest episode of Eastenders on catch up.

10pm: It’s time to make my lunchbox for the next day, and pack tomorrow’s dance kit. I’ll check out the health sections of New Scientist and get ready for my 12pm bedtime.

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Meet the Suzy Spirit judging panel

Meet the Suzy Spirit judging panel


Sally O’Neill
I had the fortune of working with Suzy for more than 10 years. I’ve seen the positive impact she had on colleagues and clients in the UK and globally over many years. I am privileged to be part of this award, which recognises her integrity and determination, and the inspiration she was to so many.

Jeremy Thompson
I’m the MD of Cision EMEA and have had firsthand experience of bowel cancer in my family. I feel privileged to be associated with the Suzy Spirit Award because, in an industry which is full of awards, this one is different; it recognises individuals who are good at their job but are also inspirational outside of the workplace. I’m looking forward to working with the rest of the judging panel to find two stars of 2017.

Henry Playfoot
I’m the winner of the 2016 Suzy Spirit Award and I’m delighted to join the judging panel this year, it will be such a privilege to hear stories about people who make a difference in the lives of those around them. We all go on about PR and comms being about people but the Suzy Spirit Awards are the only ones that let us recognise our colleagues for who they are, and how they make us feel.

John Carter
A former BBC producer and journalist, I have been running communications for the church in part of the Yorkshire region for 16 years. Both as Suzy’s father and being involved in public relations, I hope the award can honour someone of integrity and leadership who encourages and inspires those around them.

Alex Ferguson
I’m Suzy’s husband and I’m looking for someone with her character traits: hard working, attention to detail, passion and kindness. She loved her job and loved her colleagues. The person you nominate should love both of these too!

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Henry Playfoot confirmed as fifth judge for 2017

Henry Playfoot confirmed as fifth judge for 2017

Henry PlayfootHenry Playfoot, the winner of the 2016 Suzy Spirit Award joins the panel of judges in their quest to find two exceptional PR and comms professionals for 2017.

We met him to discuss all the things he’s been up to since he won, and to find out what he’s looking for in this year’s candidates.

We’re thrilled that you’ll be on the judging panel, what are you particularly looking forward to?
It’s a privilege to hear stories about people who make a difference in the lives of those around them, and seeing the respect and affection that people have for their nominees is very uplifting.

How did you feel when you found out you had been nominated?
A sense of disbelief, followed by embarrassment which gave way to feeling ever so slightly pleased with myself. That last feeling disappeared when I told my family and friends about the nomination and they said things like ‘Really? It’s definitely you, not some other bald guy called Henry?”.

What have you been up to since you won the Suzy Spirit Award last year?
As well as working on some great accounts, the biggest thing I’ve worked on was Claremont’s Purpose in Practice report, a serious piece of work looking at the risk of ‘purpose wash’ in the purpose-driven business world.

What made you choose a career in comms?
I’m not sure I did choose a career in comms – but once it chose me it felt like a good fit…

Who has been the biggest inspiration in your career?
Jo Yarwood, my first boss who ran what was then the Health Education Authority’s national immunisation campaign. She taught me that you can’t go far wrong if you put the thinking and time in, and don’t take yourself too seriously.

Is there a quality you can spot in people just starting out their career that gives you an inkling that they’re going to be special?
It’s probably a willingness to go above and beyond what is asked of them – even with really simple tasks. And the people who are good to be around. They may not end up running the company, but they always do well.

What is the most important quality for a nominee to have?
Tough question. For me it’s probably kindness or compassion because these qualities lead to the actions that the Suzy Spirit Award recognises and embodies.

What’s the proudest moment of your career so far?
I like winning pitches where you’re the underdog. I feel very proud on those days.

During the nomination process you were praised for your ability to make everyone feel welcome and at ease, but how else have you been described by your colleagues at work?
I honestly don’t know. It probably varies. I try to be calm and open minded, and I do try to make people laugh. It’s important to see the humour, especially when the pressure is on.

Ben Caspersz, who nominated you, described you as “the man who lights up our lives”, do you care to comment on this wonderful accolade?
I can guarantee you that no one else will ever say that, or anything similar, ever again – I’m a 20 watt bulb.

Where can we take you for dinner, what’s your favourite restaurant ever?
It changes, but Jin Kichi in Hampstead is hard to beat. The food’s exquisite and the atmosphere is really special. I like great food in informal settings.

And what’s next for you?
I’ve reconfigured my professional life, and am now working part time for Claremont on strategic communication briefs and thought leadership work directly with clients, but I’m also helping people with pitch development through my consultancy agency Pitch Doctor. I’ve also been asked to join Carol Cone’s US-based Purpose Collaborative as senior counsel, so that might get interesting…

Finally, our favourite five very-important questions…
Twitter or Instagram? Twitter
Chocolate or crisps? Chocolate
Corrie or Eastenders? Neither
Beach or pool? Beach
Still or sparkling? Sparkling

This year, there are two categories for the award, so if you know someone extraordinary please nominate them today.

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The inspirational Miss Chloe Staniforth

The inspirational Miss Chloe Staniforth

Chloe Staniforth

Chloe Staniforth was the youngest ever person to be nominated for a Suzy Spirit Award and hers is one of the inspirational stories behind the new, rising star category for 2017.

It was Jane Whitham, director at Cream and Chloe’s boss who nominated her – and you can read exactly why the judges unanimously put her forward into the short list.

We talked to Chloe about what she’s been up to since we met her last year (a lot!) and what’s next.

What do you think is the most important quality for a nominee for the Suzy Spirit Award?
Supporting others. It doesn’t matter what stage of your career you’re at, you’re always in a position to help support and encourage those around you.

How did you feel when you found out you had been nominated?
Honoured. This award is so personal and there’s nothing else quite like it in the industry.

What have you been up to this year, and is there something you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of? 
It’s been a busy year – I’ve been promoted to junior account manager at Cream, named in PR Week’s 30 under 30 group for 2016, and been shortlisted for Outstanding Young Communicator at the Yorkshire & Lincolnshire CIPR PRide awards.

What’s next for you?
Settle into my new role and continue to climb the career ladder!

What made you choose PR?
I usually joke that PR found me – I started out as a business admin apprentice but soon found I had a natural love for storytelling, so here I am three years later!

What advice would you give to young people who want to work in PR?
Surround yourself with people who inspire you. The people you work with shape the type of professional you become, and having people to look up to, and learn from is key to becoming a PR pro!

What’s the most memorable moment in your career to date?
Cream was commissioned to provide independent PR and media support for Professor Alexis Jay OBE, author of an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham 1997 – 2013.

What do you think you’ll be doing in five years?
Still doing what I’m doing – but bigger and better! Hopefully I’ll have a promotion or two under my belt. I’m only 20 so there’s plenty of opportunities out there.

If we asked your team to describe you in five words, what would they be?
Hard working, focused, intuitive, passionate and fun!

And we’d like to buy you a drink, what do you fancy?
Espresso martini please!

And finally, our favourite five all-important questions…
Twitter or Instagram? Twitter
Chocolate or crisps? Chocolate
Corrie or Eastenders? Eastenders
Beach or pool? Beach
Still or sparkling? Still


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The Suzy Spirit Award 2016 Ceremony

The Suzy Spirit Award 2016 Ceremony

The third annual Suzy Ferguson Spirit Award took place at a special ceremony in London on Friday 18 March.

Henry Playfoot, Strategy Director at Claremont Comms was honoured for the inspiration and determinism he ignites in his colleagues, his self-effacing demeanour and his ability to light up a room.

He said: “The award is important because it recognises our qualities as people, and that really matters in the workplace.”

The judging panel consists of Sally O’ Neill from LEWIS, John Carter, Suzy’s father, Jeremy Thompson, MD of Cision EMEA, Stephen Waddington, Director at Ketchum Europe and Alex Ferguson, Suzy’s husband.

John praised Playfoot for his humbleness and said of the winner;” [he said] I’m not an inspirational person, but his colleagues clearly thought he was, and this is part of the criteria for the award – helping and mentoring people without expecting anything in return.”

Former winners were Nicola Green, Director of communications and reputation at O2 and Rosie Warin, CEO of Global Tolerance.