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David Beckham, Michael Gove and Sarah Burton – three names you wouldn’t expect to see in the same sentence, but as of this weekend, they’re among the country’s 500 most influential people, according to The Sunday Times, that is.

The broadsheet teamed up with publisher, Debrett’s, to highlight the most inspiring figures of today, including politicians, sportspeople and PR professionals.

Of course, the list features the usual suspects such as The Prince of Wales and Sir Richard Branson but it is also awash with celeb names like television sweetheart Holly Willoughby and comedian Graham Norton. So, how does one qualify as ‘influential’?

We all have different ideas of what makes the perfect role model, whether it’s in our professional or personal lives, and whether we’re striving for Kate Moss’ million-dollar smile or JK Rowling’s award-winning imagination. But it’s interesting to see such a wide range of characters – as a journo-turned-PR, I find my eyes drawn to the sections which feature the movers and shakers of both industries.

Often seen as sparring partners in a love-hate relationship, there’s no doubt that PR and journalism go hand-in-hand. While some newsroom veterans may – somewhat unfairly – label press officers and PR pros as ‘spin doctors,’ the fact is that public relations is about a lot more than picking up the phone to sell-in the latest press release.

And it takes one look at the list of the most influential PR experts to prove just this; Jackie Brock-Doyle of the Good Relations Group led communications at a little-known sports tournament called London 2012, while Lord Bell, of Bell Pottinger, has advised leaders on world affairs.

Whichever way you look at it, we’re all impressed by various talents and have our own views on what makes someone a ‘success’. While politicians and charity campaigners may – for some – be the obvious choices to feature in the top 500, there’s no doubt that public relations’ top dogs certainly make their mark on the list, and surely that’s good PR for PR?