By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)
On December 8 of last year, I had the privilege of attending the Senior Leaders reception hosted by PRSA Chicago. (Hard to fathom that I’m a “senior” anything, but I trust the term is accurate.)
The annual event provides an opportunity to shine the spotlight on a local public relations professional who made a significant, positive and measurable impact on the profession through her or his work and within the community.
The 2016 honoree was John LaSage, who for decades distinguished himself through his work at the Chicago office of Burson Marsteller. Read details on the reception in this report on the Chapter website.
During his outstanding comments, Mr. LaSage recalled momentous occurrences from his career, including one that basketball fans from Chicago and across the world will long remember: Michael Jordan’s return to the Chicago Bulls in March of 1995, some two years after the icon “retired” following three consecutive NBA championship seasons.
I recall Mr. LaSage recounting his participation in crafting the announcement. If memory serves correctly, a “formal” news release was prepared, but apparently Mr. Jordan opted for a message simple, compelling and memorable:
Well, to borrow the phrase above, I’m back, too.
Specifically, I’ve been elected to the Board of Directors of PRSA Chicago, where I served for some 10 years. My responsibility: Re-energize the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) program within the Chapter.
First, let me stipulate that my return to the Board does in no way equate with Michael Jordan’s return to the Chicago Bulls. (And, not to sound snarky, but they should could use him this season.) After all, Jordan-led teams won three more NBA championships.
My goals for 2017 are more modest:
- Establish a viable program to nurture local public relations professionals through the APR process.
- Nurture three or four colleagues on to earning Accreditation by early 2018, or sooner.
Some primary research revealed the vast majority of those earning Accreditation in recent years come from associations, healthcare, governmental organizations and the corporate world. Very few, if any, are from big agencies.
This was the same trend when I served on the Universal Accreditation Board from 2006-11. So while our supportive efforts will be open to all, history has shown that we may not gain candidates from the marquee PR shops.
That’s okay. Because as noted, I’m back and ready to help anyone up to the Accreditation challenge.