Inside the Profession Thought Leadership

#PRin2016: Resolve to do more with your membership

Photo of 2016 written on a blackboard.

Editor’s note: Annually, we begin the year by featuring posts by industry thought leaders predicting key trends that will impact the public relations profession. Follow the series and join the discussion by using the hashtag #PRin2016.

PRSA Membership…The ‘Gift’ That Keeps On Giving

I’m often struck by the blank looks I get from my Curry College students when I careen off into a monologue on my association with PRSA and the countless benefits that I have realized from my membership.

Granted these young folks are just starting out on their professional adventures and, in many cases, haven’t yet settled on just what aspect of the Communication profession they want to focus on, so I’m not completely floored. But their reaction does remind me that we…the “role models”…need to be a smidge more proactive in our outreach on behalf of PRSA National…and local…Chapter membership.

As far as my own benefits received go, I talk about this often:

  • I made the transition from government (military) public affairs to the private sector thanks to a notice I saw in a PRSA Boston newsletter.
  • I moved from Massachusetts to Hawaii and landed the best job in my entire professional career thanks to contacts in the PRSA Hawaii Chapter.
  • I made the transition from PR professional to PR professor thanks to contacts I made through membership in PRSA Boston.

Even today, as I near the end of my working years and am contemplating a transition to what probably will be Phase 4 of my life in public relations, I am constantly amazed at the contacts made with and assistance/advice available from members of PRSA and local Chapters. And I am confident that this transition will be seamlessly successful.

It’s not a one-way street, though. With the “receiving” comes an understanding that there also will be “giving,” and I try to keep the scales balanced by volunteering my services as a College of Fellows “GoodFellow,” by volunteering to serve on various national and local Chapter boards, and by being available to PRSSA Chapters both in the Boston area and around the country.

  1. PRSA membership keeps you connected.
  2. PRSA membership keeps you involved.
  3. PRSA membership keeps you energized!

This flow has to be recharged, though, which brings us back to my initial observations. We, the current and active members of PRSA, must…NOT should…share our experiences as members of the world’s largest organization serving the profession and the professional with others.

While I can’t predict what the year may hold for the PR profession, I have no doubt that joining PRSA in 2016 will help you strengthen your professional interest and increase your expertise at the end of 12 months. But…you can’t benefit if you don’t join and join in.

If you’re not already a PRSA member…sign up. If you already are a PRSA member, resolve to take a more active role this year and make the most of your membership.

  • TELL others why you are a member both of PRSA and of your local chapter.
  • INVITE others to join you at local chapter meetings so they, too, can experience PRSA.

If you don’t see a change in yourself after “flexing your PR muscles” in 2016, you can blame me, but I am confident you WILL see a greater return on your investment than you put in. PRSA membership truly IS the “gift that keeps on giving.”

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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