As Founder and Chair of The PR Trust, Allard W. van Veen has over fifty years of experience in the global communications and public relations industries. From 1967–1996, Allard was Chair and Founder of The Noram Group which owned advertising, public relations, graphic design, marketing research, exhibition services and management consulting companies operating from seven offices across Canada. He is a Founding Partner, former Global Chairman and Managing Director of PROI Worldwide (1970 – ), the world’s largest partnership of independent integrated communications companies, with 2021 net fee income of US$ 1.2 billion. Allard also founded and led North American companies involved in technology, medical equipment, and real estate, and from 1979–1986 he was the Agent General for The West Midlands (UK) in Canada and the US. He was recognized as a Fellow and Honorary Life Member of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) and as a Fellow of The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), the world’s largest association of public relations professionals based in London, England. He is the recipient of an Outstanding Individual Achievement SABRE Award from Provoke and the inaugural Founder’s Award from PROI Worldwide. Among various voluntary roles, he is a former Honorary Representative for the Canada–UK Chamber of Commerce.
Richard is Chairman of SPRG Asia, and an investor relations and public relations veteran with over 25 years of industry experience. He founded Strategic Public Relations Group (“SPRG”) in 1995, now the largest PR consultancy in Hong Kong, and one of the largest PR networks in Asia, with offices in Singapore, China, Malaysia and Taiwan. Richard holds over 40 board, committee and advisory positions with religious organisations, NGOs and academic institutions. Accolades that Richard have earned include the 2003 “Young Entrepreneur Award” by DHL/SCMP Hong Kong Business Awards; “Excellence in Achievement of World Chinese Youth Entrepreneurs,” presented by Yazhou Zhoukan and World Federation of Chinese Entrepreneurs Organisation in 2009; and “Outstanding Individual Achievement” at the 2012 Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards.
Madan Bahal is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Adfactors PR, India’s largest and most awarded public relations firm. Adfactors PR is also the youngest and the only independent firm in its peer group in India. In November 2017, the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) inducted Mr Bahal into its Hall of Fame. The Holmes Report has named Mr. Bahal as one of sixteen professionals from the international marketing communications and public relations industries poised to make waves in 2016, and in 2013 he was recognised for “Individual Outstanding Achievement” in the Asia-Pacific region. PRWeek too has been including Mr Bahal in its Global Power Book since June 2015. In 2016, Adfactors PR won all five Agency of the Year awards for India, and The Holmes Report has conferred the firm with awards for Asia-Pacific Corporate-PA Consultancy in 2018, Global Corporate Agency in 2016, Global Financial Agency in 2015, and Asia-Pac Financial Consultancy of the Year in 2015 and 2013. Mr Bahal is a member of the esteemed Arthur W. Page Society as well as of the governing council for The Yoga Institute, Mumbai. The Institute is the world’s oldest body of organised yoga teaching.
Andreas Fischer-Appelt is Founder and Trustee, Managing Director and owner of fischerAppelt AG, one of the largest German agency groups with agencies in the field of PR, advertising, TV production, design, live marketing, strategic consulting and digital communications. The agency group was founded in 1986 and is one of the leading communication groups in Germany. The agency has more than 450 employees and offices in Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich and Doha (Qatar). Andreas is a specialist for brand management, corporate communications and dedicated to providing consultancy services for both big businesses as well as for start-ups. He has been awarded with several PR awards including the Cannes Lions, the European Excellence Awards and the London International Awards. He was a jury member at the Deutscher PR Preis, the leading PR award in the German-speaking area.
Peter Finn is Founding Managing Partner of Finn Partners, building what began as a small agency in 2011 into one of the largest independent agencies in the world. Over the years his contributions have included the recruitment of key executives and the orchestration of domestic and global acquisitions of agencies specializing in technology, health, consumer marketing, tourism, education, professional and financial services, branding, public affairs and social and digital practices. Under Peter’s direction, Finn Partners was selected by the prestigious Holmes Report as “Best New Agency” in 2012 and later “Midsize Agency of the Year” by PR News and Holmes Report, and was named Health Agency of the Year by the Holmes Report in 2018. Prior to launching Finn Partners, Peter was Co-CEO of Ruder Finn, Inc. He first joined Ruder Finn in 1976 and played a key role since the 1980s in turning the firm into one of the largest independently owned public relations firms in the world. Peter is co-founder, with his wife Sarah, and Chairman of the Catskill Mountain Foundation, one of the largest arts organizations in the upstate New York, where he continues to work with public officials at the local, state and federal level, impacting the region’s economic development. He is the recipient of the 2017 Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts award, and holds an M.A. from Columbia University in English Literature.
Joanne Painter is Group Managing Director of Icon Agency, one of Australia’s leading integrated agencies, offering best-in-class PR, digital and creative services across four Australian locations in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, and Brisbane. Joanne drives Icon’s strategic growth while nurturing its purpose-driven culture. With 30 years of experience across media, strategic communications, and public relations, Joanne is a recognised sector leader in Australia, serving on several industry boards, including the national Board of the Public Relations Institute of Australia. Joanne specialises in behaviour change communications, purpose-led marketing and digital transformation, and has a keen interest in mentoring young public relations professionals. In 2022, the prestigious PR Asia Awards recognised her excellent leadership by naming her PR Agency Head of the Year. Under her guidance, Icon Agency has garnered numerous awards including Best Large PR Agency at the 2021 and 2022 Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) Golden Target Awards; ABA100 Winner for Business Excellence in The Australian Business Awards 2022; PR Agency of the Year at the Campaign Asia ANZ Awards; and 2022 Australasian PR Consultancy of the Year at the annual PRovoke SABRE Awards.
Angela Scaffidi is a Founder and Managing Partner of SenateSHJ, one of Australasia’s leading independent communication consultancies, specializing in reputation, change management, public affairs, digital and insights, with four offices across Australia and New Zealand. She is a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, a member of Chief Executive Women, and is Global Chair Elect for PROI Worldwide, the largest international partnership of independent communication consultancies. Angela has supported education and health outreach throughout her career, and is Deputy Chair of Challenge: supporting kids with cancer, one of Australia’s longest running children’s cancer charities, and Chair of The Missed Foundation, Australia’s only not-for-profit that supports the families of long-term missing Australians. Since its founding in 2002, SenateSHJ has garnered multiple awards recognising agency and workplace excellence, including the 2022 PRovoke Asia-Pacific Corporate/Public Affairs Consultancy of the Year; the 2020 Mumbrella CommsCon Winner of the Pro Bono Campaign of the Year; and the highest independent Australasian consultancy in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Holmes Report of Global Top 250 PR Agencies.
Carlson is president of Tucker/Hall, one of Florida’s leading public relations/public affairs firms. He advises major corporations and government agencies in the US and Latin America. Carlson holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Tampa and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School. He also studied in the MBA program at the National University of Singapore as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. He has been very involved in the community and currently serves on the boards of the Salvador Dali Museum, the Florida Chamber, Florida Taxwatch and the Tampa Arts Alliance. Carlson has also served as an elected official in the City of Tampa and was Global Chair of PROI, the world’s largest network of independent public relations firms.