Tell us about your Company.
The Irish Academy of Public Relations (www.irishacademy.com
), specialises in communications training – mostly PR, journalism, event management, radio and tv presenting skills – online. We teach in six languages – English, French, Spanish, Russian, Polish and Arabic (through a joint venture in the Middle East which created www.opacademy.com).We have graduates in 50 countries and tutors in eleven countries around the world. All of our tutors are professionals who work in the field that they teach.
Over the years, WebPort Global (WPG) has provided me with a platform to reach businesses who want to upskill their staff in communications areas.
At the moment, WPG is helping me to find professional associations, business groups, universities and colleges who might be interested in offering our new suite of short courses to their members. Our newest courses are all self-taught (along the lines of Udemy courses) and are rich in specially created video, audio and downloadable text. Each of the courses has a single and very practical focus. They will allow any professional, anywhere in the world, to access cutting-edge, up-to-the-minute assistance with things like negotiating sponsorship, shooting professional quality video footage with your smartphone, voice-training for radio, negotiating sponsorships etc. The idea is that, even hours before you are due to pitch, you can access the most up-to-date information which will help you nail it!
My business is online and global. I have found WPG and the World Trade Centre networks invaluable over the years.
I am currently bringing business into the group – something I had not anticipated when I first joined. The third edition of my academic text – Public Relations a practical approach – has just been published by Macmillan International Higher Education. They want to licence publishers, around the world, to publish the text in multiple languages. I am using WPG to help source those publishers.
Over the years my business has grown and developed into different areas that I would not have originally anticipated. Over that time, WPG has been a constant support to it.
How did you become an entrepreneur?
I became an entrepreneur because I saw a gap in the market (25 years ago) for PR courses to be taught outside of Dublin (Ireland). At the time, I was involved with the PR Institute and suggested that they should spread their wings. They were not interested, so the Irish Academy of Public Relations was born.
Since, we have developed nationally recognised post-Graduate courses in PR and added journalism, event management, radio and television along the way. We have licenced Irish, Nigerian and Greek colleges to teach our courses on our behalf. We have developed online courses in six languages. I have written the (Irish) core text in public relations, and now an international text which has been well received by my peers. I have presented my own radio show for the last 13 years and am chairperson of the board of directors of Dublin City fm radio station for my third term now. And all of this came about from a business opportunity that landed in my lap!
The question of what being a business owner means to me is a much deeper one. I am one of those people who gets most of my personality from my business. I really enjoy what I do. I rarely feel that I am actually working. I found a niche, or it found me, that I love learning more about every single day. Being a business owner is who I am. It is so intrinsically interwoven with the fabric of my life that I couldn’t imagine not being one. It is as much a part of me as breathing.
How has trade shaped your business?
When I began, my vision was to offer taught courses, on university campuses throughout Ireland.
The development of my business since, leads me to often describe it as an octopus. I am the body in the middle, but the ‘legs’ extend into online education (www.irishacademy.com
), corporate training (www.irishacademytraining.com
) , speaking engagements (www.ellengunning.com
), authoring books, summer media camps and school courses for teenagers, teaching in multiple languages, preparing businesses to handle crisis communications with media and linking with professionals worldwide.
My business has grown from an inward-looking small vision of enhancing education in Ireland, to a vision of world domination in the online communications field for professionals.
Trade has brought me into contact with multiple cultures, multiple currencies and an awareness of a global market that I would not have had without my business.
In the years in which I have been a member of WebPort Global it is the connectivity that has been most beneficial to me and my business.
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