LONDON — Sue Hardwick and Angela Oakes, the co-founders of networking and mentoring organisation Global Women in PR, are among this year’s recipients of the PRovoke Media Individual Achievement SABRE Award.

Hardwick (pictured, left) will be presented with the award on behalf of both herself and, posthumously, Oakes (right), at the EMEA SABRE Awards on 17 April in London.

Both passionate about campaigning against the lack of women in the boardroom and other major issues affecting women working in the PR industry, eight years ago Oakes and Hardwick co-founded Global Women in PR (GWPR) as a not-for-profit organisation.

Oakes had had a successful career in PR running her own London-based agency for more than 25 years, specialising in global brand communications, and was a past president of Women in PR (WPR) UK. She sadly died last year after a short illness linked to her battle with cancer.

Hardwick was a board director at Affinity (part of Porter Novelli Countrywide) and Media Square, before running run her own independent agency, Hardwick PR, specialising in sport sponsorship, luxury goods, education and telecommunications.

Founded to connect, champion and support women in senior PR and communication roles, Oakes and Hardwick were driven by a desire to change the landscape for women working in the industry.

The organisation’s members now come from agencies, in-house and independents around the world, with groups and affiliates in the UK, across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Central America, Australia and Asia.

‘Supporting, connecting and championing’ was the mantra on which GWPR was founded, and it was this that led to two of the organisation’s key initiatives: the Annual Index research, which tracks the changing experiences of women working in the communications industry, and Empower, the only global cross border mentoring programme for mid-career women in PR.

Cornela Kunze, chair of GWPR’s international board, founder of communications firm I-Sekai and former Edelman leader, said: “Angela and Sue have been two visionaries who not only foresaw the potential for a global network of women in PR, but also poured their hearts and souls into making it a reality. Their foresight, their network, and their undeniable influence have empowered countless women in our profession across the world.

“Global Woman in PR stands as a testament to their unwavering commitment to fostering a supportive community for women in a profession that – despite strides made - continues to grapple with unconscious bias, gender-specific limitations, and outright discrimination. We miss Angela and will always remember that together, she and Sue built a remarkable legacy that continues to empower all of us.”

GWPR board member Sonya Madeira, founder of Singapore-based Rice Communications, added: “I was a fan of Global Women in PR from the time I heard about it. It takes an amazing woman to build a network of connections and collaborations working towards a common purpose that will long outlast her and that is exactly what both Angela and Sue have done. Both women could have sailed off into the sunset, but instead they chose to stay in the industry as a mentors and role models and create something far bigger than themselves.

“We need more women championing women, and Angela and Sue really have been flag bearers in this regard. I have nothing but admiration for them and am so delighted to see their efforts being acknowledged.”

Tickets for the EMEA Summit and SABRE Awards on 17 April in London can be found here. The other recipients of the Individual Achievement SABRE Award at this year’s ceremony will be Jim Donaldson, Bashar AlKadhi and Richard Bagnall.