Meet Miranda Sykes

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Miranda is Head of Communications and Marketing for the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) and has graduated with a CIPR Professional PR Diploma (Level 7).

Why did you choose to study this qualification?

I started as a journalist and then moved into the PR industry almost 20 years ago. It’s been so long since I’ve done any formal studying, I felt I needed to gain a professional qualification to validate my experience.

What did you discover about yourself in the process?

I started the qualification in February 2020, and we had two face-to-face sessions before the coronavirus pandemic well and truly hit, and then everything quickly moved online. I’m more resilient than I thought, as I was incredibly proud of the results I achieved while doing the course during the pandemic and leading the NHSBSA’s communications response at the same time.

How has studying with nesma helped you?

I feel much more confident about my decision making, and that’s something that colleagues have noticed since I’ve been studying. I always felt that my experience and moral compass would guide me towards the right path, but now this is confirmed with the theory I’ve learnt while studying.

What did you enjoy most about studying with us?

I was a bit apprehensive about studying after such a long time, but I needn’t have worried. I enjoyed setting aside time to research and write and really think about what I was doing. It was also great to be supported and challenged by the tutors and peers, who you also learn from.

What are you doing differently as a result of your studies?

I make sure evaluation is a part of every key activity we undertake, and I use data and insight much more than I ever have. I can now explain the theory behind my decisions and cite examples that I’ve picked up during my studies. I’ve joined CIPR as a result of doing the qualification which has opened up further learning and networks to me, and I’m much more interested in keeping up to date with industry changes and trends.

What advice would you give anyone considering a career in marketing/PR?

There are so many different specialisms within the industry now, and I would say go into the area you’re passionate about. You can’t promote something if you don’t fully believe in it. I’ve always worked in public sector communications, and it’s so rewarding to know that I’m making a difference. Don’t give up if you get rejected. Keep trying, and if it’s meant to happen, it will. Having a supportive employer makes a big difference, too, so always ask about their commitment to your personal development.

What are the significant changes within your industry at present?

Many things have changed – all our events are online, we spend a lot of time on Teams, and we currently haven’t got that collaborative thinking and brainstorming space we used to have back in the office. Our industry is also still dealing with the response to the crisis while businesses try and get back to normal. So there are still many challenges to work through.

What do you enjoy when you aren’t doing the day job?

I enjoy early morning gym classes, which set me up for the day, and I love walking by the coast when I can.

The CIPR Professional PR Diploma is aimed at the more experienced professional, and assessed at postgraduate level, the course focuses on strategic public relations and students will be encouraged to analyse critically and appreciate PR as an integral part of successful business practice.