‘Purpose-driven’ PR practitioner dedicates coveted national industry award to his late father

July 6, 2023

Ben Veal, founder of purpose-driven communications consultancy Second Mountain, has been named as the UK’s top independent PR practitioner. 

The title, conferred on Ben, pictured, at the 2023 Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Excellence Awards, is the latest in a string of accolades since he set up the agency in Bath during the 2020 pandemic.

Sadly, he was unable to accept the latest award in person at the London ceremony due to it being shortly after the sudden death of his father Andrew, whose memory he has dedicated it to.

Over the three years since its launch, Second Mountain Comms has supported more than 20 clients across the UK and internationally as far afield as the US and Australia in both a paid and pro-bono capacity reaching.

Now based at the Glove Factory Studios in Holt, near Trowbridge, Ben specialises in supporting charities, not-for-profits and purpose-driven business leaders. His driving aim is to help good people do good.

The latest award recognises the contribution that individual PR practitioners make to the overall industry, delivering enviable results for clients during challenging economic times.

As a two-time winner in the same category at the CIPR South of England & Channel Islands PRide Awards and recipient of the ‘Mark of Excellence’ in 2022, Ben said receiving national recognition marked the culmination of a journey of reinvention after being made redundant from his previous job.

“Being named Independent PR Practitioner of the Year by the CIPR – not just regionally, but for the whole of the UK – is truly unbelievable,” he added.

“It’s the pinnacle of my career in comms and validates the path I have chosen to pursue over these last three years.

“Since losing my job at the beginning of the pandemic, I have reignited my approach to work on my own terms by putting ‘purpose’ at the heart all of I do; it’s been so liberating to channel my creative and professional energy into supporting charities, not-for-profits and philanthropic business leaders through meaningful PR, content and strategic comms as a trusted partner.

This is an incredible honour and one I’m immensely proud of; I only wish my father had been able to see me win it. This award is dedicated in loving memory of my dad [pictured with Ben], who lived his life in the service of others.

“Whether it was his voluntary work, his relationships with his family or as part of the local community, he quietly, in his own way, looked to help others with acts both big and small.

“The foundation that he laid in my life has helped to shape and pave the way for how I now work. His legacy will live on in Second Mountain.” 

The CIPR’s panel of judges described Ben is an inspirational practitioner, adding that he had built his business around a clear proposition in which he ‘doubles down’ on purpose – “an approach which has governed not just the way he works but also the clients he chooses to support,” they said.

“He has built on his knowledge of the third sector to deliver a compelling communications offering and is clearly a trusted practitioner given his involvement as a trustee to charities he is passionate about,” the judges added.


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