ESR Senior Communications Advisor, Ryan Willoughby is the 2021 PRINZ Young PR Practitioner of the Year in reflection of the stellar contribution he is making to public relations in Aotearoa.
For the past 18 months, Ryan has provided communications expertise at ESR, particularly to the Health & Environment Group. A huge part of his work during this time has been supporting ESR in managing the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19 as ESR’s public information manager.
Through this, Ryan has ensured all New Zealanders can access timely, factual information about COVID-19 - information that has helped inform Aotearoa’s applauded COVID-19 response.
Ryan spoke at the awards ceremony about how he is focussed on encouraging young communications practitioners to overcome hurdles and have faith in themselves, something he has struggled with.
Ryan says the public relations profession needs to encourage more self-perceived 'imposters' to pursue their passion in communications.
“This brings a diversity of skill sets to our vocations and society. I have pushed this idea by getting up in front of young people to talk, and I hope to continue this.
“I encourage everyone to use their skills to spread this message in whatever way they can.
“It was a privilege receiving this award from my peers, and I’m grateful to everyone who has supported me over the years,” said Ryan.
Dr Jill Vintiner, ESR’s Joint Group Manager Health & Environment – Health, attended the awards ceremony and says Ryan richly deserved the recognition.
“Ryan has made a massive contribution to ESR, especially as Public Information Manager at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
“His cool head and the strategic advice he’s given during even the most challenging of times mean he thoroughly deserved the recognition of this award,” said Jill.
For their efforts, Ryan and his team-mates overseeing ESR’s COVID-19 response also earned the Supreme Award at the 2020 Science New Zealand Awards.
Read more about the PRINZ Awards.