Each week this fall, PRsay will interview one of the nominees for the 2021 PRSA Board of Directors.
Name: Michelle Egan, APR, Fellow, PRSA
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Current job title: Chief Communications Officer, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company
Board nominee position: Treasurer
Alma mater: Boston College, B.A., Seton Hall University, M.A.
Number of years as a PRSA member: 21
You served in a variety of key volunteer leadership roles for PRSA, including as president of the Alaska Chapter. What has kept you motivated to serve PRSA and the profession through the years?
I’m especially motivated by the talented volunteers who make PRSA work. Whether in Chapter, District, Section or committee roles, our volunteers seem to have endless energy and commitment to the organization and that makes me want to keep saying “yes.”
In recent years, I’ve been driven by the threat of having our profession overtaken by those who play fast and loose with facts and ethics. Our members understand the important role truth and transparency play in our democracy and PRSA can lead the conversation about civility, honesty and fairness.
How do you describe your leadership style?
I’m a collaborative leader, motivated by seeing others grow and succeed. I value seeing good processes drive outcomes, but I combine that with a strong bias for action.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve ever received?
The leaders I admire come in all forms — executives, volunteers, co-workers, employees, family members, coaches and clergy. Rather than give advice, they have modeled leadership with one common element: They all put people first. Leadership only happens through people, so we have to truly see and understand one another as individuals before we can pull together and do great things.
What are you looking forward to with PRSA in 2021?
Our 2020-2022 strategic plan theme is “The Courage to Change” and it includes critical initiatives around advancing diversity and inclusion, amplifying advocacy, exploiting technology and innovation, and meeting member needs. None of us anticipated the amount of courage that 2020 required or the countless challenges our members and their organizations faced. Still, staff and volunteers found ways to adapt and quickly respond to the pandemic, racial injustice, remote engagement and more.
I’m excited about applying all that we have learned this year and using it to carry through on our strategic plan commitments.
John Elsasser is PRSA’s director of publications. He joined PRSA in 1994.