PRWeek Awards 2011: Young PR Professional of the Year

Victoria Blakeley's career progression has been startling. Just four years ago she joined Weber Shandwick North on work experience before being offered a job as a PR assistant. Now, aged 25, she is on the senior management team of the Manchester-based agency.

Young PR Professional of the Year: Victoria Blakeley, Weber Shandwick

A year into her tenure, Blakeley was pivotal in securing the North West's biggest PR win of 2008 – the £1m Aldi account, which still ranks as one of the global agency's top three European accounts. Blakeley also smoothed Aldi's launch in the US, making sure her American counterparts understood 'The Aldi way'.

However, her biggest success with Aldi was making so many people visit its Wrinkle Stop website – which gave them a glimpse of how they might look in 25 years – that an extra server had to be acquired to cope with the 50 uploads a minute it received.


An amazing candidate

Rebecca Gudgeon, business development director, Grayling

A digital guru, trendsetter and trendspotter – Blakeley was Weber Shandwick's first Twitter correspondent – she also leads Weber Shandwick North's video and film offering, selling the idea of TV-led PR to the agency's biggest international client, a project she is now delivering with her studio team.

Quick to adapt to new challenges, Blakeley was chosen to spearhead Weber Shandwick North's bitesize PR, which offers selected PR skill sets to clients with smaller budgets. By the end of 2009, the year in which she was chosen to be involved in the project, she had delivered bitesize campaigns for five new clients.

Already acting with seniority beyond her years, Blakeley uses her experience to help manage and inspire young people who join the agency, mentoring individuals to help them reach their full potential in the same way she has.

'I am passionate about sharing my learning with others,' says Blakeley. 'Young PR professionals are the future of the industry and I believe it's important to support each other to be the best we can.'

As all those who have worked alongside Blakeley will agree, there are few better examples of the PR industry's bright future than Blakeley herself.

The Awards 2011 book will be available in this week's issue of PRWeek

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