Heather Yaxley

Based in: Salisbury, England

Email: hyaxley at supanet dot com

Twitter: @greenbanana – and you can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Current Role

I am proud to be a rhizomatic academic-educator-consultant-practitioner – a 21st century portfolio worker with a range of interests and commitments across public relations and professional development.

After more than a decade at the sharp-end of PR practice in the motor industry, in 2000, I established Applause Consultancy to provide strategic consultancy and educational initiatives. My clients have included large multinationals, trade bodies, public sector organisations, PR/marketing consultancies, not-for-profits and a number of very interesting small-medium enterprises (SMEs).

I was appointed General Secretary of the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association in 2004 and have helped transform this 40-something-year old body representing communicators in the motor industry into a professional company recognised as a learned society, representing over 400 professional communicators.  With an elected board of directors, I manage membership development, training and networking initiatives, financial matters and guiding the long-term strategic operation of the association – plus the day-to-day communications and other activities.  Check out www.mipaa.com and @mipaa.

Academic Activities

In April 2017, I submitted my PhD in career strategies in public relations for examination in late June. I am grateful for the guidance of my academic supervisors, Professor Tom Watson and Professor Candida Yates at Bournemouth University.  My work has provided insight into this under-researched area that combines academic understanding of career theory and real-world PR practice at one of the most dynamic times for occupational development.  I have presented papers at the International History of Public Relations conference, two of which have been published in Public Relations Review, and a third has informed a co-authored book chapter.  Abstracts and papers (proceedings) can be found on the IHPRC site: http://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/historyofpr/ (2011: The Origins of Careers in Public Relations. 2012: Life on Mars – Career experiences of women in British PR in 1970s and 1980s. 2013: Tracking the rise and rise of internal communications from the 1980s – with Kevin Ruck).

I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, and acted as the original external examiner of the CIPR Foundation Award and the first tutor for the CIPR Diploma in Bulgaria in 2007.  I have worked with a number of Universities, including Bournemouth and the London College of Communications in the UK plus others overseas.  I never cease to be amazed at the standard of practitioners entering this exciting occupation who have benefited from gaining a specialist qualification.

Another role in my portfolio is  more than a decade’s experience delivering CIPR qualifications and developing online education resources, which have supported excellent results. I am proud to be part of the team at PR Academy as one of its experienced faculty of tutors and assessors.  My core courses are the CIPR Public Affairs Diploma and a digital communications/social media course offered by the University of Chester. I also am a tutor for the CIPR PR Advanced Certificate and Diploma courses. I have particularly enjoyed working with online students and creating blended learning materials.  In 2012, I created an Internal Communications Masters online course unit for Kent State University.

In 2006, I developed a professional development initiative, Greenbanana, to highlight best practice in academic and vocational understanding of public relations. Its main public focus is my blog, www.greenbanana.wordpress.com. The name Greenbanana reflects my educational ethos, that if you’re green, you’re growing..  I have a few other online initiatives – that I hope to give more attention to when I get the time.

I am a published author (see above) with two chapters in the 4th and 5th editions of Alison Theaker’s Public Relations Handbook (on risk, issues and crisis management, and digital public relations); co-author of  The Public Relations Strategic Toolkit (a ‘how-to’ book with brains – 2nd edition due in 2017), and chapter author of The Public Relations Perspective of Promotional Culture in Promotional Culture and Convergence, all published by Routledge.


As well as being an active participant in new media, I am a voracious reader (anything and everything) – online and printed media. I am fascinated by perspectives on thinking processes (critical, intuitive, reasoned and creative) and my hobbies include a futile attempt to practice canine psychology, hypnotically watching the sea and the social sin of enjoying driving. I have a marvellous sense of direction, oodles of common sense and a sense of humour. Whilst recognising my personal and professional impact on the planet, I am conscious of the challenge presented by encouraging others to develop their PR career in a sustainable and responsible motor industry.

Professional Background

With a degree in psychology, my entry into PR came through working as an industry analyst at the Motor Industry Research Unit, which was part of the University of East Anglia. On the basis of a series of publications and reports studying the global automotive industry, I was appointed as Public Relations Officer at Peugeot Motor Company Limited. My career progressed through roles at National Breakdown (now Green Flag) and Toyota GB Limited. I also worked as a Business Unit Leader at PRISM LLC (a WPP communications consultancy), notably managing the Henry Ford European Conservation Awards and Ford’s cause related marketing initiative with Breakthrough Breast Cancer in the UK.  I now enjoy being my own boss taking full advantage of the global opportunities offered to entrepreneurial PR practitioners.

Professional Community Activities

I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, and became an Accredited Practitioner in 2006. I was awarded honorary membership of MIPAA Limited.

Awards and qualifications

BSc Honours in Psychology, RSA Diploma in Business Administration, CAM Advanced Diploma and Higher Diploma in Public Relations (received Women in PR award, IPR award + Certificate of Merit from Worshipful Company of Marketors). PGCert in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, ABC Certificate in Information Technology: Image Production and Web Design.  Hoping to be awarded my PhD in 2017.

Why PR Conversations?

As an avid reader of this collaborative blog, I was honoured to be asked to present some UK perspectives to the global audience of conversationalists. This is an exciting time for public relations, and PR Conversations provides a great opportunity to connect with others who are keen to expand their knowledge and understanding of the profession.  I later became part of a new editorial team and now have the additional responsibility for the technical site of the blog site.

I look forward to some light chit-chat as well as more formal reflection on the major challenges facing the profession of PR. Opinions expressed are entirely my own, and not reflective of any of the organisations with which I am associated.

I hope to highlight some of the people, practices and principles that make the UK a dynamic PR environment and look forward to hearing from you regarding any topic you would be interested in discussing. Let the conversation begin.