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Planning for the Future — PRSA in 2011 and Beyond

I’m delighted and excited to commence my year as PRSA chair and CEO. While this year is just beginning, I’ve been an involved PRSA member and leader for many years, and so, in many ways, I feel as if the start of the year is simply a continuation of my service to an organization that I love.

Last year as chair-elect, I had the honor of leading PRSA’s strategic planning process. PRSA performs a significant rewrite of its strategic plan every three years, and last year involved one of those major efforts.

We started the process with a review of the competitive landscape, looking at the varying opportunities members have to support their careers through several different channels. Along with Bill Murray, CAE, PRSA president and COO, I led discussion roundtables in five cities across the United States that targeted senior professionals to better understand their needs and gain valuable insight on the profession’s future as a whole. As our findings began to crystallize, I presented highlights to the 2010 Assembly in Washington, D.C., and later, distributed a survey to our leadership to confirm that we were on the right course.

Input from these opportunities was collected and incorporated into the final document, which was approved by the PRSA Board of Directors in its last meeting of 2010. I encourage you to take a few minutes and read the PRSA 2011-13 Strategic Plan.

As you read the plan, you’ll likely notice it is not a radical departure from our current course.  With all the tools we have in place to hear from members, we adjust our programs on an ongoing basis, because, to put it bluntly, waiting every three years to take stock would be ill-advised.

In fact, as we uncovered important findings along the way, we began to implement changes immediately. For example, we heard from senior members that they’d like different kinds of professional development opportunities. So in November, we broadcast a webinar on measurement in partnership with AMEC, and this year, we are also planning a seminar on measurement with the Institute for Public Relations.

Our plan builds on the simple alphabet mnemonic introduced last year by my predecessor, Gary McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA. Ironically, while we’ve expanded upon it, we’ve also strengthened our focus.

Advocacy: We revamped our advocacy structure and expect to move more quickly and aggressively to make PRSA’s voice heard. You’ll notice that we started this late last year, as is evident by extensive coverage in the fourth quarter, including The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, the Financial Times, PRWeek, Advertising Age and AOL News.

Business Case for Public Relations™: Through our advocacy outreach, we’ll focus on the value of public relations and help practitioners by giving them the tools needed to demonstrate that value themselves, such as through education concerning measurement.

Communities: To support PRSA Chapters, Districts and Sections with resources and tools, to recognize professional excellence through the Silver Anvils and other PRSA awards, to strengthen PRSA’s connection to professionals at different career stages and to provide a rewarding community for all of our members.

Diversity: To champion diversity of thought, cultures, disciplines, ideals, gender and age among PRSA members and leaders. Exactly one year ago, we restructured our Diversity Committee. They’ve been busier than ever before, and we plan to continue that work by integrating it in all we do.

Education: To deliver exceptional, relevant lifelong learning opportunities.

Ethics: To uphold and elevate the PRSA Code of Ethics as the professional standard reflecting core values and principles that define the profession and guide the practice.

Excellence in Society Management.

Of course, helping to make our strategic plan a reality are an array of operating plans, budgets and metrics developed by PRSA staff. Most importantly, we know that our members are satisfied with the direction in which we’re moving. In a recent survey, nearly 84 percent are “somewhat/extremely” likely to renew their PRSA membership, and more than 80 percent would recommend PRSA to someone they know.

PRSA’s 2011-13 Strategic Plan is our blueprint for the coming years, and one that I’m looking forward to executing alongside our dedicated volunteers and staff in the weeks and months ahead. Join me!

Rosanna Fiske is chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America.

About the author

Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, Fellow PRSA

Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the Vice President of Corporate Communications at Wells Fargo & Company, Florida. Fiske was PRSA's Chair and CEO in 2011.


  • My compliments to PRSA’s leadership who worked very hard on developing this plan. Overall, I agree with the direction this is heading. However, what you have labeled as “Objectives” are actually strategies and should be labeled as such.

    That said, it would be great to establish some measurable objectives to gauge our progress toward these goals. After all, if one of our strategies is to push PR to be a more measurable profession, shouldn’t we be measuring our progress?

  • Hi Nancy,

    Thanks for taking time to review the plan and offer your thoughts. We discussed terminology as we drafted the plan and felt that, for the purposes of a strategic (vs. communications) plan, most of the items classified as “objectives” could reasonably be defined as such.

    Each multi-year strategic plan serves as the basis for our annual business plans, which are designed to achieve the strategic plan goals and funded by zero-based budgets. Each business plan and budget contains metrics that we use to measure performance on an annual and ongoing basis. We don’t, however, include those metrics in the strategic plan, so that we have the flexibility to react to changing market conditions, member feedback, Board input and other external factors. This, in turn, allows us to respond more quickly to changing business conditions, while staying within the consistent overall framework of the strategic plan.

    Rosanna M. Fiske, APR
    PRSA Chair and CEO

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