Influencing the Board – Sarah Pinch and Bridge Aherne
An honest and enlightening session on working with the board and influencing at the most senior level in an organisation with two past winners of the CIPR and IoD Public Relations Director of the Year Award.
Sarah Pinch and Bridget Aherne, winners in 2011 and 2015 respectively, will talk about their high-calibre work, acknowledged by winning this award, how they delivered, the challenges they dealt with along the way and the opportunities the award opened up for them.
Sarah Pinch Chart.PR, FCIPR, MIoD
Sarah is an experienced corporate communications and marketing expert. She started her career as a journalist for the BBC and after 11 years left in 2000 to work in PR. Her experience includes the private, public and not for profit sectors. In 2011 she won the inaugural Institute of Directors and Chartered Institute of Public Relations PR Director of the Year award for her work with the board at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust; where she worked as Head of Communications for five years.
Her experience also includes working with an international development agency, a regional children’s charity and FirstGroup plc, the transport provider.
She is Managing Director of Pinch Point Communications, Past President of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (2015) and a Non-Executive Director of the Health and Safety Executive.
Bridget Aherne MCIPR
Bridget Aherne began her career as a journalist in the 1990s, working for a brief time in radio journalism before gaining her NCTJ qualifications and moving into print. She rapidly progressed through the ranks at the independent Ashton Weekly Newspapers.
Social affairs having been Bridget’s passion, she made a considered move to Greater Manchester Police’s press office in 2008. There she led communications plans for high-profile murders, international manhunts and for operations to disrupt and capture organised crime gangs. She was part of the GMP 24 event, one of the first public sector tweetathons that gave an insight into every incident the force responded to during a 24-hour period in 2010, and she made a significant contribution to the response to 2011 riots.
Bridget took up a senior post with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service in 2011 and helped embed a new communications function, where the team rapidly transformed the way in which the service engaged with staff and its communities, and resulted in a number of award wins. Bridget supported the service in dealing the tragic death of colleague Firefighter Stephen Hunt, who lost his life tackling a fire in July 2013.
Seizing the opportunity to work as Head of Communications and Administration at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service in October 2013, Bridget quickly delivered a number of essential changes to move communications from a tactical to a more strategic function. She also took on a national role on the fire communicators’ network, FirePRO, committee and acted as chair of the group in 2015. Her work there was recognised at the 2015 CIPR Excellence Awards and she was awarded the title of CIPR & IoD PR Director of the Year from a strong all-female shortlist.
Bridget returned to Greater Manchester in January 2016 to head up communications for Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which has led the way with English devolution agreements and is preparing for the first election of a metropolitan mayor. In October 2016, she joined innovation and improvement science centre Haelo as Director of Communications.