North Tyneside businesswoman honoured in Queen's Birthday Honours
A leading figure in public relations has been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Astute.Work founder and managing director Sarah Waddington has been awarded a CBE for services to public relations and voluntary sectors.
Astute.Work is a management consultancy and public relations business based in Newcastle whose clients include the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Children’s Cancer North, FW Capital, The Common Room of the Great North, GBB, Health Education England and Cloudfm.
Sarah, 44, from West Allotment, has also spent more than 20 years volunteering for the professional body, the CIPR, where she was President of the Institute in its 70th anniversary year in 2018.
Sarah said: “This honour is incredibly humbling and I’m grateful to all those who were involved in making it happen.
"I’m surrounded by many fantastic leaders who are also doing their bit to create a fairer society and level the playing field.
"That’s a group I admire and am privileged to be part of.”
Sarah – who is married to Stephen and has two children and three step-children – developed and funded the #FuturePRoof community in 2015 to share management expertise, skills and case studies with practitioners in a bid to improve social mobility in the comms sector.
She is chair of the PRCA’s Borderlands and North East group and an advisory board member for The Blueprint, an initiative devised by Elizabeth Bananuka to promote Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Ethnic Minority diversity in PR and communications.
Sarah’s other voluntary activities have included a role as Trustee of the Sunshine Fund, an IoD ambassador in the North East of England, and part of the advisory group which has overseen Max and Keira's Law.
Francis Ingham, Director General, PRCA, said: “Nobody in PR deserves a CBE more than Sarah.
"Her contribution to professionalising our industry has been enormous, and has helped to transform it into the power for good that it is today.
"I congratulate her on this fantastically well-deserved recognition of her many achievements.”
Claire Riley, Executive Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Delighted for Sarah that she has been rightly recognised in this year’s Queens Birthday Honours for services to public relations and the voluntary sectors.
"As a trojan of the PR industry she has supported so many, led the way to challenge the norms and raised standards to influence us all.
"It is a privilege to have had the opportunity to work with Sarah over the years and an even bigger treat to call her my friend.”
Jen Robson, Head of Communications, North East LEP, said: “Sarah is an outstanding practitioner – her commitment, rigour and passion is present in everything she does.
"It is brilliant to see a female North East leader and friend recognised in this way.”
Richard Bagnall, co-managing partner of CARMA International and Chair of international communications evaluation professional body AMEC, added: “I can’t think of a PR professional more deserving of this recognition.
"She has a tireless energy and an infectious enthusiasm for supporting, developing and encouraging those less advantaged.”