PRWEEK AWARDS 2003: People & Agencies - The Xchangeteam Award - Solo Practitioner of the Year


Many freelancers give up corporate status with the aim of achieving some kind of work/life balance, and then still end up slaving away seven days a week. Arman Alan Ali is not such a person.

Alan is committed to ensuring work does not take over his life. He restricts himself to working just two or three days a week, so he can spend time with his family and pursue interests including visiting art galleries, following Chelsea FC and learning Spanish.

He may have become an independent practitioner as a lifestyle choice, but his seven years working under the name of Ala'ddin Public Relations has also been a business success: he still manages to turn over between £30,000 and £35,000 a year.

He says he enjoys the combination of high-level strategic, tactical and hands-on work for clients. He can really get to know them and give the best possible service. Alan always asks for feedback from clients and builds in evaluation so clients can see the results of his work.

Alan specialises in the not-for-profit sector, from local authorities and charities to social entrepreneurs, and says real-life issues are his bread and butter. He has helped clients to success in four national award schemes. Winners include his communications support for the Boulevard Project, a £24m street improvement programme in Camden, north London.

Among his roles has been supplying press and PR support for the London Development Agency and the Employers' Organisation for Local Government.

He has also worked with the London Borough of Camden's Drug Action Response Team and its Parking Solutions Team, providing marketing and communications consultancy for its bid to run Cardiff's parking enforcement contract.

He has worked alongside agencies including Upward Curve Public Relations to support not-for-profit campaigns such as the launch of the UK's first Business Improvement District in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.

Alan may like a calm life, but this doesn't mean he is averse to crisis communications. In March he provided a two-day crisis news management service for drugs charity Addaction after two former workers resigned from their prison posts. He managed to keep coverage to a minimum.

Alan is debt-free, and this year even managed to do what most of us dream of - pay off his mortgage. This has given him the freedom to choose who he works with and which projects he takes on.

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