Grayling Prize winners announced

The Eclat team (From left to right) Laura Miller, Lauren Burke, Lydia Cambata and Kimberley Toulson

Final year Leeds Metropolitan University students have battled it out to win the prestigious Grayling Prize 2010 which awards public relations excellence amongst students.

The annual competition, launched 16 years ago, offers students the opportunity to showcase their professional abilities in a competitive board room environment whilst also identifying the PR talent of the future. Over 50 public relations students from Leeds Metropolitan were provided with the brief for one of Grayling’s current clients; the task was to create a strategic PR plan to establish the client brand at a national level.

After a competitive pitch at the University, four teams were short listed and invited to Grayling’s Leeds office to pitch in front of a panel of judges including Grayling Divisional Director, Justin McKeown, and Leeds Metropolitan’s Senior Lecturer in PR and Marketing, Shirley Beresford. The standard was so high, two teams shared the prize – Stark PR, comprising of Amanda Fox, Lauren Foster, Alice Harper, Adam Lewis 22 from Manchester and Gwen Youlden 22 from Lichfield, and Lauren Burke 22 from Chester-Le-Street, Lydia Cambata 22 from Hitchin, Kimberley Toulson 22 from Congleton and Laura Miller 22 from Epworth from Eclat.

Leeds Metropolitan PR alumnus Justin McKeown said: “This year’s competition was one of the most aggressive yet, hence Grayling being unable to pick only one winning team. All the teams were noted as having performed exceptionally well in this ‘real life’ competition with ‘real’ clients and ‘real’ situations.”

The Stark Team (From left to right) Adam Lewis, Lauren Foster, Amanda Fox, Alice Harper, Justin McKeown from Grayling and Gwen Youlden.

The winners will be presented with their £1,000 prize at the Leeds Metropolitan Business School graduation ceremony this summer.

Lecturer Shirley Beresford said: “Grayling’s sponsorship of the student competitive pitch prize is vitally important to the reputation of the PR degree, preparing our students for their entrance into the PR industry. In the increasingly competitive world of work, ongoing employer collaborations and relationships of this type are crucial when equipping our PR students with the experience and skills that will set them apart from others in their career. We are enormously grateful for Grayling’s support for the young PR professionals of the future.”

Amanda Fox of Stark PR said: “We are all thrilled to have won the pitch against such tough opposition. Competing in a real pitch situation was the perfect opportunity to showcase our progression throughout the course in preparation for our transition into full time employment. We’d all like to thank both Leeds Metropolitan and Grayling for providing us with such a fantastic project!”


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