Clare Latham shortlist 2016

The Clare Latham award was created in our 2014 #insidestory awards in partnership with the team at scarlettabbott who were looking for a way to remember Clare, their dear friend and colleague, who passed away in 2013. Clare was an incredible communicator and so an award was a perfect way to remember her professionalism.


This year the award became a nominated award and we received a lot of wonderful nominations for many fantastic communicators.


The nominees provided answers to five questions, and these were assessed by our judges to create the below shortlist. Now it’s over to you to cast your votes and help us decide who should win this very special award. You can read their answers to these questions below.

This is a very special award recognising individual contribution to internal communication. You can read a blog from the previous two winners here.

Please cast your votes by 6pm on Friday 5 February.#insidestory awards



Read all about the top five nominees who made the shortlist below.

Asif Choudry

Gloria Lombardi

John Townsend

Kevin Ruck

Sue Dewhurst


Asif Choudry, Resource Print solutions (Comms Hero creator)


“Asif founded @commshero. This was founded as he saw a need in the industry (typically housing) to celebrate the work of internal comms professionals. To show and offer them industry breaking solutions to communicate their messages and ultimately DELIVER. He has also organised and successfully delivered six #commshero events that have all been sold out and are in the process of delivering a national elevator pitch for the housing industry.

Asif should be celebrated as he has dared enter a sector as an ‘outsider’ and embrace, and help existing comms departments. Work with them to ensure they are dynamic enough to survive and thrive given the external environment, and elevate the internal communication functions within housing organisations as heroic.

This in turn has empowered internal comms functions to be their own heroes and have a forum to turn to. This forum offers support, collaboration and the joint desire to make a difference in the housing sector”. Amy Nettleton

Asif’s answers to our five questions:

  1. What do you believe makes great internal communication?

Engagement, creativity and a desire and drive to constantly make a difference. An awareness of the varied needs of all clients who require internal comms, and to ensure that all communication needs are met. Not all people can and do engage in the same way. A multi-channel approach is essential to ensure engagement. People want to feel like they are being listened to – IC makes this happen and conveys the businesses strategy in ways that the people who are responsible for its delivery understand. Valued and cared for people work harder and are happier – IC makes this happen.

  1. What are the two things you are most proud of in your internal communications career?
  • #commshero. Comms professionals need to come together, share best practice and celebrate success. IC teams are fun, engaging and creative, this should be harnessed and celebrated.  There was a void for the unsung heroes. The one department that shouted about everybody else, but who was shouting about them? #commshero made that happen. Since May’14 we have ran 6 sold out events.
  • I am an extension to IC teams for 100’s of organisations. Recognising what they need, delivering and challenging them in their thinking. My role brings external knowledge and challenge internally. We certainly don’t do what we have always done.
  1. What do you do to keep ahead of the game when it comes to your professional development and/or being a champion for internal communication?

IC is about people. What interests and motivates people? how do they engage? Therefore how can the function be delivered with a personal edge and regarded as critical in an organisation?

I tirelessly engage and connect like-minded people through social media. The personal touch is vital – if I can show this to the IC team, and see how it makes them feel, this then transcends through the work they deliver internally. You need to feel special to make others feel special – to do this you need to know your clients. I make it my job too.

  1. In your view, what’s next for internal communications?

It needs to be brave and bold. Brave and bold in continued ideas, and execution. Desire to challenge the status quo and not continue to produce the same outputs because ‘we’ve always done it that way’. They are the creative engines in the organisations, they need to ensure that they get a seat at the table that matters. Demonstrating the importance of effective internal comms, and the impacts that it has on areas such as staff retention, sickness and morale – all of these cost £1,000s every year in lost productivity. IC is the function to make everyone feel like someone.

  1. What are your top tips for measuring the success of internal communication?

Did it meet the objective?

To answer this it is vital that clear strategy and planning of communication and delivery is undertaken. We need to know what the objective was and why.

What do the clients want?

Ultimately they are the people you are communicating with – have you listened to them, and does your strategy and plan demonstrate this?

Are people engaging?

Communication is a two way process – we need to have something back to continue the conversation. Are we engaging or just merely broadcasting to get an item off our to do list?

Revisit “Stop, Start, Continue” constantly.


Gloria Lombardi, Independent


“Whenever I am asked by colleagues who they might follow on Twitter to get the inside track on internal communications I reel off a couple of handles – Gloria is one of them!  Quite simply, in the space of a few years she has become the go-to-person for keeping up with trends in the industry. But tweeting is just a small aspect of Gloria’s offer. She is a one-stop-megastore for so much more – be it digital communications, employee engagement, or well-being at work to name but a few areas!

“Her output is prolific; her work ethic prodigious. When she is not tweeting, she’s writing articles, reporting live from conferences, interviewing thought leaders, authoring a chapter for a book, speaking to students on CIPR courses, judging industry awards, and keeping her Marginalia blog buzzing with articles. Phew!

“Gloria is a credible ambassador for internal communications and deserves to be recognized as an #ICHero!” Krishan Lathigra

Gloria’s answers to our five questions:

  1. What do you believe makes great internal communication?

Great internal communication starts with the audience in mind and every intervention is based on robust insight. It is only effective if it includes all staff and is aligned with an organisation’s goals. It keeps all employees informed and embraces a continuous loop of feedback to help build positive employee engagement. It empowers employee voice and an open dialogue between leadership and staff as well as between peers. It also, certainly, includes the measurement and evaluation of all activities. And, for me, it is not afraid to explore the latest theory and tools to enable the organisation to adapt to change effectively and timely. Boiled down to its essentials, great internal communication is transparent, authentic and positively stimulates employees to feel they are adding value and are themselves valued.

  1. What are the two things you are most proud of in your internal communications career?

As a passionate writer on the subject, I am proud of co-authoring a chapter for the third edition of ‘Exploring Internal Communication’. This textbook provides both practitioners and students with robust academic thinking as well as practical and strategic advice to make internal communication successful and effective. I had myself read the previous two editions. My chapter focuses on the revolution brought by internal social media in the workplace – a theme which strengthens employee voice and collaboration.

I am also proud of creating and sharing the latest thinking and developments in internal communication in order to spread best practice and increase the capabilities of practitioners around the world. I love meeting dedicated and passionate professionals who readily share their experiences – what worked, what didn’t work and how they tangibly contribute within their organisations.

  1. What do you do to keep ahead of the game when it comes to your professional development and/or being a champion for internal communication?

I treasure learning. I am curious and committed to self-development. Because of the nature of my job, I continuously research, analyse, and publish content on internal communication. I interview international companies and professionals in the field and I produce case studies, white papers, products, events and book reviews. I also report from national and global conferences. I am very keen on social media and I ensure that I share my work with the community. My ultimate desire – what I also like to call my ‘personal mission’- is to provide people, organisations, and associations with resources that hopefully are useful and beneficial for their job. While these activities allow me to learn and develop my knowledge and skills continuously, at the same time they have become a way for me to ‘give back’ and champion internal communication.

  1. In your view, what’s next for internal communications?

In 2016, internal communication will focus more and more on mobile applications and the connected workforce. A mobile-first business strategy has become a prerequisite for the effectiveness of a digital and collaborative workplace. The profession has an opportunity to advise the business in selecting the most appropriate employee apps, including that they add genuine value. That means considering both the needs of the organisation as well as of the staff.

Also, as more advanced technology is entering the workplace, internal communication will benefit from more intelligent uses of data and real-time measurement capability. The opportunity is to enable personalised, timely and effective communications that empower teams wherever they are. Ultimately, internal communication will be strengthened as it will contribute to successful business outcomes, whether in the public or in the private sectors.

  1. What are your top tips for measuring the success of internal communication?

For me, one of the best ways to measure the value of any communication is to show that it has led to some kind of behavioural change and positive business outcomes for organisations.

Just looking at the exact number of clicks on an internal news article is not enough, and it misses the point. More useful would be to see if employees have taken action as a consequence of accessing that article. It can start from sharing it with other colleagues, commenting and giving feedback, co-creating further content, using that information to make some changes at work, or establishing new relationships.

Another important way to prove the success of internal communication is to show that has had real business impact. For instance, decreasing the cost of work, improving productivity and workflow, boosting innovation, saving money, or creating the conditions for clarity around a company’s goals.


John Townsend, Children’s Society


“No matter what is going on, how much pressure he’s under or how challenging a situation is, John remains serenely calm and infectiously positive. Since he joined The Children’s Society in 2013, John has transformed the internal communications function from a barely-there necessity to a fully-fledged, slick and effective internal comms powerhouse.

John is continually devising innovative ideas to engage and motivate staff, bringing them closer together. He understands his audience incredibly well, and people across the organisation greatly respect and trust him. He has lead a number of difficult projects, from a change in organisational strategy to a pay and grading review, but these have actively involved staff and made absolute sure that their opinions matter. He has also introduced various light-hearted initiatives to unify staff.

Ultimately, John will fight, politely and calmly, for what he believes in and to make sure the best outcome is always achieved for staff.” Lily Holman-Brant

John’s answers to our five questions:

  1. What do you believe makes great internal communication?

There’s a Chinese proverb which states: ““Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand.” They were evidently internal communications pioneers in ancient China as I think this quote sums it up perfectly. You need to work to understand your different audiences, inspire their curiosity and recognise what engages them. Then, by giving people opportunities to share their thoughts, collaborate and get involved, you can potentially unify a workforce and inspire people to work towards a common goal. Hopefully all with a smile on their face!

  1. What are the two things you are most proud of in your internal communications career?

Our team developed and ran storytelling workshops at the NSPCC which were fantastic to be involved with. Over 90% of the first 700 staff who attended subsequently felt more positive about the organisation’s work, which was a great result. This also meant that they were really uplifting courses to facilitate and highlighted to me the importance of keeping internal communications fun and positive wherever possible. The workshops were recognised with a CIPR award which was nice too! Secondly I’d say building a successful team at The Children’s Society from scratch, who were recently recognised with an internal peer-nominated award themselves.

  1. What do you do to keep ahead of the game when it comes to your professional development and/or being a champion for internal communication?

The best and most innovative ideas tend to come from learning from different people and industries. The skills needed for internal communications today encompass such a broad range that I find I can draw on any number of interesting sources for inspiration from the world of journalism, to new digital trends, to the storytelling techniques of comedians, politicians and entertainers. Not to mention great event planning ideas by going to parties! Of course there are also many fantastic networks now available to help us IC types meet and share our ideas and the community is very open and helpful.

  1. In your view, what’s next for internal communications?

We’re at an interesting point in internal communications. Changing business practices and new technologies; mobile employees; leaders who increasingly see the importance of an engaged workforce and are prepared to listen and involve them – all this means that the remit of internal communication is changing, albeit at different paces for different people. We have an interesting challenge ahead to harness digital technologies while remembering the importance of more traditional, face-face communications. And I think that internal communications teams are increasingly taking responsibility for shaping employee culture, through storytelling, events and facilitating collaboration.

  1. What are your top tips for measuring the success of internal communication?

There’s so much data available now that I think it’s almost more a question of how you use, interpret and share results than how you measure activities. One tip I would suggest is that if you can tie your metrics to business goals your results are inevitably better understood by the rest of the organisation – particularly senior leaders. On a less scientific basis the importance of the anecdotal water cooler conversations shouldn’t be forgotten amidst the analytics. Sometimes you can learn a key insight that doesn’t come through on a graph from a worried tone or a raised eyebrow!

Kevin Ruck, PR Academy


“I would like to nominate Kevin Ruck for the Clare Latham award, as I believe he deserves to be recognised for his outstanding individual contribution to the internal communication discipline. Among the many initiatives and projects he developed, Kevin – the Co-Founder of The PR Academy – initiated and designed the internal communication qualifications accredited by the CIPR.

“Kevin is also the Editor of ‘Exploring Internal Communication’, now at its third edition – this significant text book provides both practitioners and students with robust academic thinking as well as practical and strategic advice to make internal communication successful and effective.

“Kevin led the development of the Measurement Matrix for internal communication practitioners in 2012, when he was chair of CIPR Inside.

“Last but not least Kevin has undertaken a PhD in internal communication at the University of Central Lancashire, further contributing to the academic research in internal communications that support employee engagement and the achievement of business objectives.” Gloria Lombardi.


Kevin’s answers to our five questions:

  1. What do you believe makes great internal communication?

It’s a combination of keeping employees informed and giving them a voice that is treated seriously. Simple enough in some respects, except that it’s incredibly difficult to get the combination right. Great internal communication also takes an employee-centric perspective. This requires a deep understanding of what communication employees want and recognising the different expectations that various groups have.

  1. What are the two things you are most proud of in your internal communications career?
  • Initiating and designing the CIPR Internal Communication Certificate and Diploma courses in 2009. It’s hard to believe, but up to this point there were no internal communication qualifications available from a recognised professional UK body.
  • Putting together the first text book for internal communication in the UK and successfully developing this into three editions. The book is a collaboration with academics and practitioners aimed at establishing a sound theoretical underpinning for practice.
  1. What do you do to keep ahead of the game when it comes to your professional development and/or being a champion for internal communication?

I’m a bit of a study junky, so for the last six years I have been doing a PhD on internal communication and that’s opened up a whole new perspective on practice. I am also a member of the British Psychological Society and the Chartered Management Institute. I get a lot of different perspectives from reading the research that they produce which I think informs internal communication thinking. And, of course, I also learn a lot from the students that I teach.

  1. In your view, what’s next for internal communications?

It’s hard to make firm predictions; things invariably don’t pan out quite as you expect. However, if we look at the history of internal communication practice there is a clear trend of moving away from an emphasis on the carefully crafted written word. Employees prefer informal communication provided in a range of formats. This suggests that internal social media will become much more mainstream than it is now. I would also expect to see more emphasis on employee voice in the future. Internal Communication managers have a great opportunity to become specialists in how to facilitate this well.

  1. What are your top tips for measuring the success of internal communication?

Well, looking at the Measurement Matrix (that I created with a panel of experts when I was chair of CIPR Inside) is a good place to start! It’s much easier to measure outputs than outcomes, so a good first step is to set up some key output indicators. Then monitor them regularly on a dashboard to identify trends.  Try to see what actions have affected the results and then add some outcome based measures.  Regular short pulse surveys with small samples of employees work well – with the data fed into monthly senior management meetings.


Sue Dewhurst, SD Group


“Sue was my professional soulmate when we both worked in house; she was the woman to whom I turned when I needed inspiration.  So when we were thinking about creating Blackbelt it was obvious that we’d work together.

“The thing that Sue brings is not just her astonishing work ethic and powerful concern for individuals, but her obsession with the practical.  She endlessly asks “what do I do with it?” when presented with the latest brilliant new idea or piece consultant waffle around theory.  Her models and tools are developed with the practitioner in mind – always giving sensible advice about making things happen.  In the last decade Sue must have helped hundreds of practitioners on a personal level.  When she teaches and coaches her advice is always selfless and designed to help the person in front of her achieve more.

“Not only is she the model practitioner, she is an example of generosity”. Liam Fitzpatrick

Sue’s answers to our five questions:

  1. What do you believe makes great internal communication?

Great internal communication helps organisations solve problems and builds mutual understanding and trust. It can work at so many levels, from helping an organisation enhance its reputation or improve its customer service; to helping managers build better relationships within their teams; to making a difference to the way it feels for people to come to work every day. It is not about ‘sending out messages’; it’s about using professional communication skills and judgment to make a real and practical difference where it counts.

  1. What are the two things you are most proud of in your internal communications career?

–           Being in the horrible position of having to help an organisation announce redundancies just before Christmas, and feeling so humbled and emotional about the many supportive messages we received from people about the way we communicated it that I cut and paste every single message into an MS Word document and left them on the CEO’s desk one morning. He asked for a copy of the document to take with him a year later when he left the organisation. I still have the copy with it I made for myself when I left a couple of years later. It has always stuck in my mind of an example of the difference we can make at ‘moments of truth’ – even in the most difficult circumstances.

–           Every single time someone leaves one of my workshops saying they feel more personally confident about themselves or feels better equipped to do their jobs when they go back. It doesn’t matter how many times I experience it – every one reminds me why I do what I do.

  1. What do you do to keep ahead of the game when it comes to your professional development and/or being a champion for internal communication?

I’ve tried to broaden my experience and skills beyond ‘pure’ internal communication, training as a coach and more recently gaining an MSc in applied positive psychology. I read anything and everything. And I continually learn so much from the participants in my workshops, be they professional communicators or leaders/line managers – the examples, case studies and insights they bring continually give me food for thought and new ways of looking at things.

  1. In your view, what’s next for internal communications?

I think we’re very good at always looking for ‘what’s next’, but I think there’s also a danger of getting carried away with what seems to be ‘new and shiny’. Technology will continue to bring us new ways of connecting across geographies, enabling everyone to collaborate and have a voice, and giving us new tools to help make things meaningful and more accessible. At the same time, the core principles of being able to build effective partnerships, be good business people as well as skilled communicators, and develop well-thought through and sound plans that work, will stand the test of time.

  1. What are your top tips for measuring the success of internal communication?

-Start with getting a solid understanding of the business need that you’re trying to impact and set really good SMART objectives – good measurement begins with being clear about what you want to achieve in the first place.

– Track the linked business measures but don’t take total ownership of them – there are usually other things that will impact them as well as communication

– set ‘know, feel, do’ objectives and think about how you’ll measure those. What’s the question(s) you need to get the answer to, to understand whether you’ve met the objective? Do you need to use a quantitative or qualitative method (or both) to get you the answer to the question? What specific method will you choose?

– Don’t leave measurement to the end when it’s too late to do anything about it.

– Don’t measure anything you don’t intend to act on.