PRSA Board Eyes Third Quarter Driving Governance and Member Initiatives

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The PRSA Board of Directors met in New York on July 24 and 25 to launch a third quarter buoyed by significant progress on major initiatives in governance and member service.

The board heard about significant strides to enhance professional value through organizational and member initiatives, along with careful stewardship of the Society’s long-term stability. Focused on governance and infrastructure, second quarter activities aimed at boosting PRSA’s capabilities to exceed member expectations through targeted research and nimble decision-making and delivery.

The board reviewed significant progress on the PRSA bylaws rewrite, promising news on the PRSA International Conference, successful efforts to enhance value delivery to PRSA Chapters and Professional Interest Sections, and wide-ranging PRSA committee engagement.

Proceeding highlights included:

Bylaw Rewrite. Newly drafted bylaws, enabling enhanced PRSA governance as a more efficient and nimble organization in line with best practices, are now ready for consideration and vote by the National Assembly in November. The bylaw rewrite process has engaged membership in a two-way dialogue yielding important input into the final draft. Member feedback has been positive, acknowledging PRSA’s extensive communication of project details along the way.

Web Site Rebuild. The wholly retooled PRSA Web site is rapidly taking shape as PRSA executives review newly written copy generated by PRSA staff. The new site will feature an entirely new architecture, design, structural menus, information organization and organizational labels, making the user experience dynamic and customizable for maximum value. The copy also will reflect a new style and voice and engage the latest techniques in search engine optimization.

Chapter Survey. PRSA’s research department is actively targeting Chapters around the country with customized reports from a membership survey. With field work already complete, the Chapter reports are a critical aspect of project design. The reports are intended to give leaders important insights into their organizations’ success and help them recognize and share best practices and optimize member service.

International Conference. PRSA’s 2009 International Conference, surpassing many benchmarks of success, is on track to be one of PRSA’ most successful meetings Three prominent journalists – Arianna Huffington, Todd Buchholz and Bob Garfield – will deliver keynote addresses to complement 80+ professional development opportunities. Sponsorship platforms targeting various industry sectors have been added, including sustainability, military affairs, higher education and global practice. Overall sponsorship participation is on track to surpass annual expectations, and exhibits are moving vigorously. Registrations, too, are running at levels to sustain last year’s successful attendance.

Three exciting destinations for upcoming conferences were approved –  Orlando for 2011, San Francisco for 2012 and Philadelphia for 2013; accepted Standards Advisory PS-10 clarifying how “phantom experience” on resumes and business proposals violates PRSA Code of Ethics principles; accepted new PRSA College of Fellows inductees; supported a Business Executive Advisory Council to engage corporate CEOs to offer perspective on issues and trends to PRSA members; and acknowledged promotional efforts to attract and retain membership among Professional Interest Sections.

At the meeting, the board was also briefed on the overall financial stability of the Society following cost cutting measures and rebounding returns on investments. Like most organizations, PRSA has not been immune from the current recession, with effects echoing later in the cycle. However, PRSA had prepared early, putting in place contingency plans that lay a foundation for successfully weathering the economic downturn for the rest of 2009. As always, full financials are made available to members.

The board also heard from the PRSA Foundation, which reported on member research that was aligned with its mission and goals and helped shape plans for the future. The board continued to discuss the Business Case for Public RelationsTM initiative, which aims to communicate the profession’s unique value proposition to diverse constituents, and expressed enthusiasm for its launch at the PRSA International Conference , Delivering Value, in November.

By unanimous vote, the board also renewed the employment contract of PRSA President and Chief Operating Officer William Murray through January 2012, citing major successes in marketing strategy, new business modeling, key organizational priorities and performance indicators, member service segmentation, and record financial results.

For more detail on the two-day board meeting, PRSA will post meeting minutes to MemberNet as soon as they become available. Going forward, the board holds its next quarterly meeting just prior to the PRSA International Conference, which takes place on November 7-10 in San Diego.

About the author

Michael Cherenson, APR, Fellow PRSA

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