The Estonian Public Relations Association (EPRA) awarded this year’s title of PR Manager of the Year to President Kersti Kaljulaid, who has helped maintain focus on values important to Estonian society with great clarity and vigour both during her term of office and afterwards thanks to her active communication activities.
“The toolbox that comes with the office of the President of Estonia consists almost exclusively of communication solutions because the power of words is their only lever of power. President Kaljulaid used this power in Estonia and in the wider world in a distinctively value-based, effective and selfless manner, leaving a deeply positive mark on both our daily lives and the current and future expectations of the President of the Republic in our society,” President of EPRA Margus Mets explains the decision. President Kaljulaid’s activities in both domestic and international media as the protector and keeper of the image of Estonia, even when the words and actions of some other state leaders offended the sense of justice of the majority of society, are also worth acknowledging.
President Kaljulaid thanked the association for the acknowledgement. “When I took office, I promised that I would not remain silent when our security is in question, when our freedoms are at stake or when those weaker than us are treated unjustly, and this is the creed I followed during those five years. However, back when I worded this principle, I did not expect the topic of freedoms to become so central during my term in office – I guess that shows that many of the freedoms that were once carefully and presciently written into the constitution have not actually been thoroughly discussed, understood, worded and, where necessary, disputed in our society. This work will keep both me and the sitting heads of state busy in the future,” said President Kaljulaid when accepting the award.
When I took office, I promised that I would not remain silent when our security is in question, when our freedoms are at stake or when those weaker than us are treated unjustly
According to Mets, the president’s choice of when to speak up and on what topics and when to remain silent is a message in itself. “Likewise, the president’s choice of words, tone and performance also have value as a separate message. This is what constitutes the main task of every leader and manager, including PR managers – to find the right moment and the right words and to lead or explain the content and background of a decision in a way that enables the audience to take time to delve into details and increases their willingness to understand. Our professional association believes that Kersti Kaljulaid has been very good at this, which is why we want to thank her and highlight her as an example,” Mets notes. “President Kaljulaid has been a statesman in the truest and broadest meaning of the word, sending necessary messages even when everyone around her understood that these would not boost her personal popularity or bring any conjunctural political benefits in the short term. I would like to see more of this kind of selflessness in the speeches of our state leaders and less of the cynical-pragmatic political technological approach that prevails.
Last year, the EPRA annual award was given to Estonian medical professionals because in addition to doing their main jobs, doctors, nurses and carers played a crucial role in the coronavirus crisis, providing objective information to the society, quelling fears and providing science-based explanations of the reality that surrounds us both in the media and individually to each of their patients and charges. The award was accepted by Dr Arkadi Popov, who became the spokesman for the sector during the pandemic.
The Estonian Public Relations Association awards the annual PR award to a person or organisation whose communicative activities have had the greatest impact in Estonia. Candidates submitted for the award may but do not have to work in the field of public relations, but their activities and public appearances must widely resonate in Estonian society.