By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)
PHILADELPHIA — It’s certainly appropriate that this post is being published here in the city known for being the place where our founding fathers set the wheels of democracy into motion. (As well as the place where you can get a real cheese steak sandwich.)
Why you may ask? Well, because The PRDude — actually Edward M. Bury, APR — served the Chicago Chapter of the Public Relations Society as a delegate at the 2013 PRSA Leadership Assembly. On Saturday, October 26, PRSA leaders from across the nation gathered to conduct the Society’s business and recognize accomplishments.
My delegate responsibilities included voting on two Bylaws Amendments and the Nominating Committee Report. While important to the Society, I believe readers will take more interest in the following:
One PRSA. In his report on the State of the Society, Chair and CEO Mickey G. Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA, shared many positive thoughts about the profession, PRSA, the APR credential and other topics under the One PRSA banner. My big takeaway: The Society has returned to 2007 membership numbers.
Bottom Line. The Society is on sound financial footing, despite the still struggling economy, a mammoth force of nature and literally having the ceiling cave in. Those were some thoughts from President and COO Bill Murray, CAE. Some insight on the last two topics: The PRSA office in downtown Manhattan was out of commission for several days following Super Storm Sandy, and a water pipe rupture caused a ceiling to collapse and a minor flood of PRSA offices. My big takeaway: Leadership and staff were well-prepared for challenges, responded promptly and demonstrated strong commitment to PRSA and the profession.
Fearless Future. Following the 10 a.m. break, Chair-Elect Joe Cohen, APR, trumpeted the theme of a “Fearless Future” for the profession as the guiding force behind the Strategic Plan 2014-16. Public relations must embrace change and “adapt, evolve or risk irrelevance,” he said. Elizabeth A. Pesci, APR, Fellow PRSA noted that an improving business climate will lead to opportunities for practitioners. My big takeaway: Thoughts I wholeheartedly subscribe to.
Fixing APR. A report from consultant Laura Freebairn-Smith, Ph.D. of the Organizational Performance Group on a study regarding the Accredited in Public Relations credential especially hit home, given my passion for the credential, years spent on the Universal Accreditation Board and work with PRSA Chicago to help others earn Accreditation. “Not a pretty picture solution,” was Dr. Freenbairn-Smith’s overall assessment of Accreditation, which as declined in terms of numbers, interest and respect. My big takeaway: Thrilled that a sound assessment will guide what hopefully be a renaissance for the APR.
Lots of other stuff took place during the Assembly, but I’ll stop for now.
My final takeaway from my participation as a delegate: A lot of smart, successful professionals are working hard and allocating time and resources to guide the Society forward and improve the public relations profession. My role as a delegate hopefully a small difference. What about you? What are you doing to “Advance the Profession, and the Professional?”