The PRSA 2013 International Conference has come to a conclusion after four days of networking, meetings, receptions and classroom instruction. The PRSA Assembly, the annual business meeting of the organization, was held on the Saturday of conference weekend and proved to be a great success.
Over 200 Delegates took part in this year’s meeting and celebrated the announcement of several new initiatives PRSA will be rolling out in the weeks and months ahead.
2013 Chair and CEO Mickey G. Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA, updated Assembly Delegates on the State of the Society with an overview of membership, advocacy and the creation of new Diversity and military initiatives. Nall was followed by President and COO Bill Murray, CAE, who discussed membership growth, the changes to the PRSA College of Fellows Mentoring Program and the new online University Directory. Finally, Joe Cohen, APR, Chair-Elect of PRSA presented the new 2014 – 2016 Strategic Plan that will guide the Society for the next three years.
Members are the foundation of PRSA and that foundation includes professionals who have supported PRSA for 50 years or more. The new Member Emeritus program recognizes the dedication of those who have valiantly served PRSA for over 50 years. These industry leaders, to include Harold Burson, demonstrate what dedication and leadership look like.
Moving Veterans Forward
Moving Veterans Forward, a new program that encourages and celebrates work done by public relations professionals serving in America’s armed forces, was also announced as a new program.
Eligible military personnel will receive one free year of PRSA membership as well as access to career resources that will help them better transition from a military career to a civilian career. The program is our way of saying “thank you” to the men and women who bravely serve our country.
PRSA Diversity Career ToolKit
Another new initiative introduced during the Assembly is the Diversity Career ToolKit which will begin rolling out in early 2014. The initiative taps both video and social media in order to reach students at the collegiate level.
PRSA will be creating a multi-faceted video series that introduces students to the public relations profession, provides a framework of courses students should take and assists with resume writing and building. A supplementary student guide will also be created so students may quickly and easily reference the information contained in the videos.
In addition to those materials, we will be developing a mentoring program as well as an online “Ask an Expert” where students can ask questions of an receive answers from public relations professionals.
The Diversity Career ToolKit will initially be made available to students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic
Association of Colleges and Universities chapters and the PRSSA Chapters associated with those schools.
PRSA membership tends to ebb and flow with the state of the economy and consumer confidence. When the economy goes into a downturn so does membership. This has been evident over the past five years since the recession and recovery began.
We are finally seeing a change in tides and with it a change in our membership numbers. 2013 saw membership return to pre-recession levels with a growth of over 4 percent. This is extremely good news since 2009 brought a decline in membership of 7.55 percent.
PRSA College of Fellows Mentoring Program
PRSA staff and members of the College of Fellows spent a great deal of time this year assessing the mentoring program and strategizing about how to improve it. The result is a completely overhauled program that will garner more participation and match mentors and mentees better.
The new program will allow for input from both parties and help us improve the program even more. The input will allow for us to build a more robust mentoring program that meets the needs of our students and professionals while creating a valuable asset to the profession.
Online University Directory
This year, PRSA launched an online University Directory to better assist those looking to obtain an education in public relations with colleges and universities with public relations programs. The tool allows a person to research programs available to advance their studies and career in the fields of public relations and marketing communications.
2014 – 2016 Strategic Plan
Every three years a new Strategic Plan is developed to reflect the ever-changing public relations environment and help guide PRSA and its members to lead the profession. The vision for the next three years: Public Relations is a lead discipline in driving strategic goals and achieving excellence in every organization.
This new vision will help guide PRSA and empower us as a diverse community of members to advocate for the profession, achieve ethical and professional excellence, and drive the strategic outcomes of organization. The five goals of the plan are Advocacy, Communities, Education, Excellence and Growth.