Executive Board

GWPR was founded by Sue Hardwick and Angela Oakes, former Presidents of WiPR UK (Women in PR) – a powerful UK networking association founded in 1962.

Sue Hardwick

Co-Founder GWPR

Sue was a board director at Affinity (part of Porter Novelli Countrywide) and Media Square. She has run her own independent PR business specialising in,sport sponsorship, luxury goods, education and telecommunications.

Sue has strong organisational and creative abilities, is a good communicator and excellent strategic thinker. An experienced advisor on communications issues, Sue has handled a wide portfolio of UK and international clients in the drinks industry, the sport and leisure sector, education and telecommunications.

Melissa Arulappan

Melissa Arulappan

GWPR Annual Index lead

Melissa is Director of Communications for Target in India. In career spanning over three decades, Melissa has had challenging and exciting roles in both the corporate and consultancy sector, She has worked on entry strategies for large multinational organisations, helped launch Indian and multinational brands and worked with organisations through complex and challenging crisis communication assignments.

Melissa is passionate about nurturing communications talent and is actively involved in PR academia and knowledge sharing platforms.

Claire Foster

Claire Foster

Head of Media

Claire has spent the last 20 years working in both consumer and corporate communications for several listed companies and on many personal finance and motoring brands. Claire has won PRCA City and Financial Professional of the year, PRCA In-House Professional of the year and Headline Money’s PR Professional of the Year.

Claire served as Vice President of Women in PR UK and was previously featured as a global role model for women in business on the HERoes Women Role Model list.

Samantha Grocutt

Samantha Grocutt

Global Groups Liaison

Owner of London-based boutique hair, beauty and lifestyle agency Essence PR, Samantha has over 20 years of experience in the PR world.

Alongside her hands-on approach to running a successful agency, Samantha is very active within the industry. She is a former President of The Hairdressers’ Charity alongside other voluntary positions within the Prince’s Trust, Women in PR, the Fragrance Foundation, and the Hair & BarberCouncil Think Tank.

Cornelia Kunze

Cornelia Kunze

Chair of the GWPR International Board and responsible for New Group Development

Founder and Chief Advisor of I -sekai, Cornelia is an independent communications advisor to international businesses, acting as sparring partner, challenger and external project leader in the field of strategic communications, brand building and sustainability. She supports and enables in-house teams, whilst helping to develop vision, purpose and a ‘course map’ for global brands and reputation in a fluid environment.

Prior to setting up her own business Cornelia held several senior roles at Edelman including Vice Chair of Global Client Management.

Soya Madeira

Sonya Madeira

International Groups and New Markets

Sonya is the Founder of award-winning consultancy RICE based in Singapore, with offices across Asia. She has close to three decades of experience in communications working largely agency side, with global networks and local firms before she set up her own firm in 2009. Having worked in India and Singapore, and now based in the United Kingdom, she enjoys building relationships and connecting people around the world. Sonya has held various Advisory and Board positions in the past and will focus on international groups and new markets.

Pema Seely

Pema Seely

Events Manager

Pema started her career in consumer PR before making the move to corporate and brand communications. For the first part of her career, she worked in agencies working with clients from sectors including technology, financial services, government, retail, travel and tourism. In early 2020, she made the move in-house and currently works for Alibaba. She is Senior International Communications Manager for the EMEA region.

From 2017 to 2019, Pema chaired the PRCA’S Diversity Network. During this time, she launched the PRCA’s Diversity Guidelines and worked as part of a think tank to encourage and support diversity within the PR industry.

Bianca Sodala

Bianca Sodala

Social Media Support

Bianca is a PR Account Executive for Halpern London. During the past four years she has worked with a range of large FMCG Beauty companies as well as working on some large global mastermind campaigns. In addition she has helped launch various beauty brands into the UK market.

Bianca has been closely involved in the wider PR industry having worked on the social team for the UK’s Hair and Beauty Charity as well as a Content Creator for various brands including Revlon, Eylure and Rimmel London.