Alison  Theaker Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Alison Theaker

CEO, Founder
The Spark

I have over 30 years experience in public relations as a practitioner, academic and author. I teach on the CIPR Diploma which I helped to develop when I was the first Head of Education and Training and am Chief Examiner for the Internal Communications qualifications. I run my own consultancy which works with businesses to help them be the best they can be, using communications, action learning, coaching, mentoring and training in communications, interpersonal skills and strategic management.


Business Mentor, Coach and Trainer, The Spark
July 2009 to date
Accredited by Devon & Somerset Trading Standards Buy With Confidence scheme
Shortlisted for Teacher, Tutor or Mentor who most inspires others to Learn Award in 2012 South Devon Business Awards.
ILM Level 7 Certificate in Executive Coaching and Mentoring. Focussed coaching to achieve business solutions for individuals and teams.
Accredited Action Learning facilitator with the Institute of Leadership and Management. Facilitation for Women's Development Unlimited. Facilitation of sets with Open College Network, Yorkshire. Founding and facililtation of action learning set for small businesses in Kingsbridge.
Delivery of business skills workshops in cost-effective marketing, media relations skills, soft selling and customer care for Plymouth Chamber of Commerce; North Devon Plus; Women's Development Unlimited; Women Do Business; Business Information Point.
NLP Coaching Practitioner accredited by ANLP. Focussed individual coaching to improve confidence and change old patterns.
Delivery of interpersonal and professional skills training in better presentations and assertive communication.

Senior Lecturer, College of St Mark & St John, Plymouth
August 2004 – July 2009
Delivering undergraduate teaching on BA Public Relations and BA Management
Undertaking course redevelopment, and design of FDA top up and MA in Corporate Communications
Co-ordinated Behind the Spin, the first Conference for PR practitioners in the SW, September 2006. 120 practitioners attended over 2 days.
Collaborating with colleagues in Australia on writing skills.

Senior Lecturer, Worcester Business School, University of Worcester
February – July 2009
Delivery of courses in Integrated Marketing Communications and PR Practice.

Course Tutor, CIPR Diploma, Bristol
September 2004 – August 2007, and from September 2009 to date
Delivery of Diploma sessions for up to 25 professional practitioners

Scholar in Residence and Co-director Integrated Marketing Communications MA, Emerson College, Boston MA, USA
January 2002 – August 2003
Delivered UG and PG courses in Principles of PR, PR Writing, Global PR

Head of Education & Training, Chartered Institute of Public Relations, London
December 1999- March 2001
Developed CIPR PG professional qualifications, Diploma and Advanced Certificate
Devised Developing Excellence, first CPD scheme for PR industry in Europe, incorporating nationally recognized Training Framework
Improved, maintained and expanded relationships with Approved Courses in the UK
Developed Approved Training status and created relationships with other PR training organizations

Principal Lecturer and Course Leader, PR Studies, Leeds Business School
September 1995- August 1998
Senior Lecturer, Public Relations Studies, Leeds Business School
July 1990-August 1994
First lecturer to deliver BA in PR
Development of UG programmes
Creating links with European institutions through Erasmus, plus US and Australia
Management of academic staff team

Public Relations Practitioner, executive to director level
October 1982 – June 1990
Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale:Senior PR Officer
National Museum of Photography: Press Officer
Institute of Housing: Deputy Editor
Association of Photographers: PR Director
Performing Right Society: PR Executive

Freelance journalist
1984 – 1990
Regular contributor to Creative Review, British Journal of Photography, The Photographer, Photography. Occasional articles for The Independent, the Guardian, Marxism Today, Best.


    BA Politics University of York, 1980
    MA, Leeds Metropolitan University, 1995

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Public relations, marketing, management strategy.
    Action Learning facilitation
    Mentoring small businesses and start ups
    Training in interpersonal skills - assertiveness, motivation, business writing, marketing, media relations, presentation skills, people skills for new managers.

Personal Interests

    Walking, especially on the South West Coast Path. Swimming in the sea. Paddleboarding, ceroc, bellydance.


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