PR award for Carrick-born Kerri

Kerri Young, winner of the Outstanding Young Communicator award.  INCT 44-740-CON
Kerri Young, winner of the Outstanding Young Communicator award. INCT 44-740-CON

A Carrick-born PR professional has proved she is at the top of her field after picking up a prestigious award last weekend.

Kerri Young is a senior accounts manager with Holywood-based firm Smarts Communicate.

The University of Ulster graduate was chosen as the Gold Winner in the Outstanding Young Communicator category during the CIPR Northern Ireland PRide Awards at the Culloden Hotel and Spa.

A former pupil of Carrickfergus Grammar, Kerri is originally from the Hillview area of the town.

She started with Smarts Communicate six years ago after graduating with a BSc Hons in Public Relations from the University of Ulster Jordanstown.

The 29-year-old faced stiff competition from three other young PR professionals during Friday night’s awards ceremony, hosted by broadcaster Pete Snodden.

“I was in complete disbelief; I didn’t expect to win,” said Kerri, who currently lives in Belfast.

“Our company is really successful and I’ve picked up awards before as part of a team, but that’s it.

“My husband David encouraged me to enter in the first place, after my bosses at Smarts suggested I should; I wasn’t going to due to work pressures.

“He is very supportive and made sure I did get the entry in.”

A member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), Kerri’s work with Smarts Communicate has seen her involved with a number of world-leading brands, including campaigns for Bushmills and Johnnie Walker.

She was also involved in the campaign to launch David Beckham’s Haig Club whisky in duty free last year.

Commenting on Kerri’s win, the CIPR said: “In a highly competitive category, Kerri is without doubt, an outstanding young communicator.

“Her commitment, drive and determination to achieve and indeed exceed expectations was truly inspiring.

“A creative outlook coupled with a desire to innovate and engage has consistently resulted in ground-breaking campaigns, whilst her commitment to nurturing young talent should also be commended.

Meanwhile, Smarts Communicate picked up a number of other accolades on the night, including silver in the Best Use of Media Relations and Outstanding Public Relations Consultancy categories.