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London, 08 February 2008: Freelance PR & Communications consultant, Rona Levin, has been named Freelancer of the Year by people resourcing company Xchangeteam. Rona beat 153 entrants to take the title. The Awards are now in their fourth year and, this year, have been sponsored by freelancing trade body The Professional Contractors Group (PCG).

The following freelancers also won the top prize in each of their categories: Anna Hollisey for Editorial, Andrea Balboni for Advertising and Design as well as Digital Excellence, Amanda Rayner for Events and Marketing and Ian Beaumont for Public Affairs. Overall commendations were given to Amanda Rayner and Anna Hollisey.

Xchangeteam’s Freelancer of the Year Awards have been designed to showcase freelance talent and reward those consultants who have added real value to a client’s business and to UK plc overall. All entries were assessed by a panel of industry experts* who were also looking to reward the key characteristics that make freelancers successful – flexibility, insight, fresh ideas, a strong work ethic and a commitment to adding real value.

Commenting on Rona’s achievement, Dominic Shales, Director of Paratus Communications and judge of the PR and Communications category said: "Rona clearly demonstrated that she had gone the extra mile for the client, achieving a fantastic volume and quality of media coverage that made a very tangible difference to the success of the exhibition. Her enthusiasm for the brief shone through and her success shows that with a combination of dedication, passion, creativity and smart thinking, a freelance consultant can make an impressive and measureable impact.”

Rona won the award for developing and implementing an intensive media campaign for The British Library’s religious exhibition Sacred: Discover what we share. Her campaign secured extensive national and international tv, radio and press coverage across a wide section of political, business, cultural and religious spheres. The coverage served to attract the highest ever visitor numbers to an exhibition at the Library. The exhibition has recently been long-listed for the prestigious award, The Art Fund Prize. The Art Fund Prize is the largest single arts prize in the UK, which recognises and rewards the best new development of the previous calendar year in a UK museum or gallery. The winner of the Prize will be announced on 22 May 2008.

Rona Levin has been freelance for five years. Commenting on winning the title, she said: “I’m delighted to win the award. Freelancers usually work in the background and don’t seek attention for their work, so it makes quite a change to be recognised as contributing to my client's success in the UK. I highly recommend freelancing to anyone who enjoys a challenge, variety and can hit the ground running.”

Emma Brierley, CEO and founder of Xchangeteam believes that the Award has become an important window on the capability and ambitions of the excellent freelance resource that exists in the UK's marketing, media and communications sectors. Her aim was to create an award that would promote the value that freelancers bring to their clients' businesses and the industry overall as well as inspire the growing freelance workforce. She said: “Many clients are gradually realising the benefits that freelancers can bring to their business. There is a huge pool of talent in the industry and the Freelancer of the Year Awards serve to give freelancers a well deserved pat on the back, to acknowledge their work and celebrate their unsung achievements.”

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* Judges: Chair, PR and Communications and Public Affairs: Dominic Shales, Director and founder of Paratus Communications
Events and Marketing: Diana Watson, Director, Bespoke Marketing
Editorial: Matt Potter, Group Editor, Forward Publishing
Advertising & Design: Bill Wallsgrove, Creative Director and founder of The Big Idea
Digital Excellence: Neil Hamilton, Digital Team Leader, Xchangeteam

For further information:

Michele Bayliss
PR Consultant
Tel: 01273 475672
Mobile: 0777 937 2106
E: michele@michelebaylisspr.fsnet.co.uk

Note to editors:

Xchangeteam Group Limited, www.xchangeteam.com

•The following publications have sponsored this year’s Freelancer of the Year Awards:

PR Week – PR & Communications
Design Week – Advertising & Design
Public Affairs News – Public Affairs
Media Week – Editorial
New Media Age – Digital Excellence
Marketing – Events & Marketing

•Marketing consultant Fraida Silver won last year’s Freelancer of the Year title

•Xchangeteam was launched in 1999 as a specialist freelance resourcing company in communications and pr – the first in the marketplace.

•It now offers freelance and permanent resourcing services across the communications, PR, marketing, events, design, advertising, media, digital and editorial sectors.

•Emma Brierley’s book, Talent on Tap: Getting the best from freelancers, interims and consultants was published in April 2006. For a press copy, please contact Hannah Smith on 020 8612 6406 or h.smith@cipd.co.uk

•Xchangeteam won the 2006 London Excellence Award for Customer Focus.

Freelance Facts:

•The Institute of Directors predicts that by 2025, 20% of the UK workforce will be freelance.

•Research by London Business School indicates that a permanent employee costs an organisation 1.5 times more than their pay cheque.

•75% of corporates and 40% of agencies surveyed found using freelance consultants was cheaper than employing permanent staff (London Business School research, 2003).





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