College of Fellows Welcome Newest Additions

The 2024 PRINZ Awards saw the formal introduction of four new additions to the PRINZ College of Fellows. Their official induction was held the night before at the annual Fellows dinner in Auckland. Although Phil was away last year, he was recognised as a 2023 Fellow at this year’s awards. Congratulations Simone, Rachael, Fred and Phil. 

Simone Bell, APR, FPRINZ

Simone Bell has made a significant contribution to both PRINZ and the wider profession. Simone started her career at Network PR as an account director and led a number of significant programmes of work for her clients.

After ten years she left and became PRINZ’s Chief Executive. Simone is now the Head of Communications at Blue Current (Bluecurrent is a leading smart meter service business, owned by Vector and QIC.) 

Simone remains an active supporter of PRINZ and continues to serve as an awards judge and as a mentor for APR candidates and PRINZ .  Next year will mark 25 years of service and membership of PRINZ, upholding the highest standards, delivering excellence in practice and navigating PRINZ through challenging times to a position of strength and stability.

Thank you to my nominators for this lovely surprise. It’s humbling to join a group where many of its members have been my mentors and colleagues. Ngā mihi nui, Simone

Rachael Joel, APR, FPRINZ

Rachael is a Senior Group Account Director with Botica Butler Raudon and has been working in public relations for over two decades. 

During that time Rachael has provided strategic communications counsel to global Fortune 500 companies, ASX- and NZX-listed businesses, local government agencies, entrepreneurial start-ups and not-for-profits. 

Rachael has been actively involved with PRINZ at both a national and divisional level. She has been a PRINZ Awards judge, served on the PRINZ Northern Division committee and spent several years as an APR Viva Voce panellist.

Fred Russo, APR, FPRINZ

Fred Russo is Managing Partner at Botica Butler Raudon Partners (BBR).

Fred moved to New Zealand and joined Botica Butler Raudon in 2006, since then he has worked with global businesses and local start-ups in tech, consumer electronics, aviation, health and safety, healthcare and financial services, and not-for-profit sectors, providing strategic communications counsel on corporate affairs, investor relations and crisis management.

He has served PRINZ and the profession well over many years, managing the Northern Committee events programme, judging PRINZ awards, teaching APR courses, lecturing at AUT and mentoring Outside the Square groups. Fred was elected Chair of the PRINZ Northern Committee in 2017 and has been a member of the PRINZ Board since 2018. 

Phil Johnstone, FPRINZ

Phil has been a member of PRINZ for over two decades and during that time has contributed significantly to PRINZ. He has been a strong advocate for student internship and he helped AUT’s Joseph Peart lift the benchmark for industry payments for intern work. Phil has served on the Industry Advisory Board for the AUT School of Communications and in 2002 helped establish the Science Communicators Association of NZ (SCANZ), holding the role of President for two years from 2011. 

In 2002 Phil won the PRINZ Supreme Award and has received Gold in two other PRINZ Awards, most recently in 2020. Phil represented PRINZ as the sole NZ presenter at the inaugural World PR Festival in Rome in 2003.  

In 2019 he was accepted as a Communications & Public Information specialist on the UN-recognised RedR Australia Emergency Roster. And in mid-2022 he completed a deployment in Romania and Ukraine as Interim Communications Lead for the World Vision International Ukraine crisis response.  Across both Corporate and not-for-profit sectors Phil has demonstrated leadership, innovation and expertise.

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