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Lighting a spark: what inspires our Inspiring Communicators?

8 September 2015

Last year's CharityComms' Inspiring Communicator Awards celebrated 11 of the sector's most passionate communicators. 

We asked some of our past winners what's lit their inner fire in their careers. 

You might notice there’s a bit of a theme… the charity sector seems to be a pretty inspiring place (which is why we started these awards)!

Life-changing communicators

“Great communicators change the course of a life. I was lucky to meet two people who altered how I thought and acted. The first, a senior Irish politician, took my speech off me right before I addressed 3,000 people. ‘Now you will have to make them laugh,’ he told me. ‘People will remember your humour and forget your facts. Your job is to become synonymous with your message.’ I made the speech from the heart and that’s how I learned to engage with people as a communicator. The second person told me that I was a disgrace and I needed to stop drinking and instead help blind young people live a life like everyone else. I did and his inspiration lives on in everything I do today.” 
Tom Pey, chief executive, RLSB


“Working in the charity sector, I’m inspired every day. The clients we support on a daily basis are truly inspirational: having been through such troubled times and to still be smiling and enjoying life is amazing. The staff I work with inspire me; to give their all on a daily basis, going above and beyond the call of duty to change lives is humbling. My comms colleagues across the charity sector inspire me with their ideas, passion, support and innovative approaches. To sum up, I like people. People inspire me!”

Andrew Regan, communications manager, P3 Charity

Overcoming hardship

“My tough personal experience of growing up without clean water and getting diarrhoea often but not being able to buy medicine is my first motivation, because for me my job is a personal fight too. I have mixed feelings when I visit communities where WaterAid works. I’m sad because life is so difficult and I’m reminded of my childhood experiences. We take things for granted but seeing children drinking unsafe water and knowing it could kill them is very challenging. And yet I am inspired by this –  because I want above all to help change their lives. And when WaterAid has worked in an area, lives are changed. It’s so inspiring to meet and see people whose lives have changed because of our work. Seeing children and communities’ faces smiling and drinking safe water for the first time fuels my passion.” 
Ernest Randriarimalala, Voices from the Field communications officer, WaterAid Madagascar

The charity sector

“I feel incredibly lucky to work in the charity sector, because I’m exposed to the best of humanity on a daily basis. Even in the most dire of circumstances, there are people across the world doing their best to help each other and to make their communities better places to live and work. And in every charity I’ve worked with, my colleagues are dedicated to making it easier for those people to make the changes they need. It’s hugely inspiring.” 
Sally Wrench, brand and marketing communications manager, Plan UK

My managers

“It was an immense honour to win an Inspiring Communicator Award last year from CharityComms. I have had a varied career where I’ve been lucky to work with some fantastic managers who were skilful and creative communicators. These managers trusted me with the freedom to develop my own communications skills and also trusted my decisions and leaps of faith – especially into the new world of digital communications. I am now a manager too and I try to mentor and inspire the people and projects I manage with the same ethos.” 
Sarah Birkett-Wendes, PR and communication manager, The Anaphylaxis Campaign

Duncan Hatfield

former projects manager, CharityComms

Duncan left CharityComms in 2018 to pursue an MA in Public and Social Policy. Over three years at CharityComms, Duncan moved from communications officer to project manager, successfully delivering projects such as the new-look Digital Benchmark platform and Communications Benchmark 2017 report. Duncan also volunteers with Turn2us to support people in need to gain access to benefits and grants.