A New Leader, A New Chapter For PRSA

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This week marks the first time in seven years that PRSA has led its operations without Bill Murray at our helm. During a time when CEOs seem to shuffle every few years (particularly in the association world), we were privileged to have a great leader in Bill, who during his long tenure helped build a strong infrastructure for PRSA while instilling a bottom line business sensibility throughout the organization.

Bill leaves as a great friend to our organization and to so many of us on a personal level. We wish him the absolute best in his new role as CEO of the National Coffee Association (a bit ironic, given coffee’s almost holy place in the 24-7 world of public relations). Just as it is a new chapter for Bill, it is also a new chapter at PRSA. Our next leader will join a strong organization that stands ready to seize upon the opportunities created by a business and media landscape that have been transformed by the digital and social media revolution, helping fuel PR to become one of the fastest growing business categories.

I’m pleased to report that our search for the new PRSA CEO is off to a very strong start.  PRSA has retained Korn Ferry to help lead the search and the CEO job specification document and process for applicants can be found at this site.  The development of the job specification follows a thorough discovery process that’s included interviews with PRSA staff, members, past chairs and leaders across the organization and the profession.  I would like to extend a particular note of gratitude to PRSA staff and to the members of our search committee for their tremendous leadership and service.  The search committee, which is comprised of National Board members who serve on the Executive Committee and Strategic Planning Committee, includes:

  • Immediate Past Chair Mickey G. Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • Chair-Elect Kathy Barbour, APR
  • Treasurer Mark McClennan, APR
  • Secretary Blake Lewis, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • Felicia Blow, APR
  • Marisa Vallbona, APR; Fellow PRSA
  • Susan Walton, APR

It’s our goal to identify a new CEO by early fall but as we work hard to identify the best candidate possible, we’re preparing for the possibility that the search could take longer. During this interim period, Immediate Past Chair Mickey G. Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA, has joined me in serving as Interim Co-CEOs. With a very strong and capable team in place at PRSA headquarters, we anticipate a seamless process throughout the transition.

In the meantime, we’re continuing to drive forward our 2014 agenda, including the addition new executive-level professional development offerings, upcoming activities for Ethics Month (September) and Diversity Month (November), and the addition of Stanford University and Kennesaw State University to our MBA program.

Finally, I must extend my gratitude to the many individuals who have reached out via phone, email and in-person at PRSA seminars, conferences and events.  I’m so deeply appreciative of your support – and I look forward to seeing many of you in the weeks and months ahead at the PRSA Silver Anvils and 2014 PRSA International Conference!


Joe Cohen, APR, is 2014 Chair of PRSA.

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Joe Cohen, APR

1 Comment

  • Hi, Joe, congratulations again on your term this year, and best of luck. I, like so many in PRSA, treasured the counsel, humor and sound leadership that Bill lent our organization (and me personally) over the past many years. He will truly be missed. The search committee members are all talented leaders in their own right, and I’m looking forward to seeing the candidates and how the search progresses. Thanks for your commitment to and leadership of PRSA.

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