PRIn2015: New Year… New Opportunities

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Over the past few years, I’ve noticed what seems to me to be a decrease in the feverish pace of resolution-making for the coming year.

The unrelenting cynic in me says, “It’s about time people recognized that the whole thing is an exercise in futility.”

The diehard optimist says, “No, Kirk. It’s still happening…just not as ‘in-your-face; look at me; I’m cool’ as before.”

For those of us for whom public relations is a passion as much as it is a profession, this is the time when we (try to) ease up on the frantic pace and reflect on the year that’s ending.

What went well…or surpassed expectations? What jumped merrily off the tracks with angst-producing results?

I’ve taken particular pride in my involvement with the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards over the past year. As I tell my PR students at Curry College, “Ethics is one of the non-negotiable aspects of our profession. Your reputation is one of the few things over which you alone have control, and ethical conduct is a cornerstone of that reputation.”

We really ramped up activities during September’s “Ethics Month,” and I hope the momentum continues. I’ve said many times, “Ethics should not be a once-a-year effort.”

And this is one major opportunity (resolution) that I see for 2015 and beyond. Not only must ethical practice be an integral part of everything we do and say; we must do our best to help others understand and do the same.

Next, as a “public relations professional now teaching the next generation(s) of PR pros,” I have the amazing opportunity…every day…to demonstrate through action and words the pride that I have in what I have done and still do for a “job” in the hopes of helping my young charges understand how public relations permeates professional life.

I still relish the words of a former student (Management major, NOT Communication/PR): “Kirk, I sell financial products every day…and I remember and try to mirror what you taught us in our PR classes in everything I do.”

Opportunity (resolution) # 2…we can and should take time to share our experiences, our knowledge, our “lessons learned” with those who will, in a few short years, begin their own careers. The old maxim, “Let ‘em learn the hard way like I did,” is unreasonable and unfair.

With these two resolutions on our list, we can charge into the new year confident that not only will we, ourselves, be helping to enhance our profession…we will be laying the groundwork for future generations of public relations professionals to build upon.

Let’s make a difference in 2015!

About the author

Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA

Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA, is Associate Professor of Communication (Undergraduate) at Curry College in Milton, MA. Prior to his move into academia, Kirk practiced nonprofit and government public relations and marketing for more than 35 years in the US as well as Asia. Accredited by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Kirk was inducted into PRSA’s prestigious College of Fellows in 2009 and is one of just two actively-teaching college professors in Massachusetts to have earned this distinction. You can read more of Kirk’s musings at his blog “A Professor’s Thought” and follow him on Twitter @KirkHazlett.

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