Sunday, November 3, 2013

2013 PRSA Leadership Assembly recap

The City of Brotherly Love lived up to its name by welcoming the Public Relations Society of
America (PRSA) with banners on the blocks surrounding the hotel hosting this year's Leadership Assembly. It would prove to be an eventful weekend with a lively discussion of the Accredited in Public Relations credential, the induction of Minnesota's Doug Spong into the College of Fellows, and the election of new officers for the Midwest District.

Leadership Assembly
Mickey Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA, started out the day with a "State of the Society" address that covered 10 highlights of the year:
  1. Veterans: With the Moving Veterans Forward Initiative, PRSA offers resources to veterans to help them make the transition to the civilian workforce.
  2. Advocacy: PRSA leaders were quoted in many prominent media outlets in 2013, including Spong in AdvertisingAge regarding Minnesota's proposed tax on advertising.
  3. Ethics: With the new ethics app, PRSA members can have materials related to public relations ethics at their fingertips.
  4. Diversity: PRSA continues to promote diversity and plans to launch its Career Toolkit in 2014.
  5. MBA Initiative: Public relations is coming to a B-School near you, including the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas.
  6. Member Emeritus: This new program recognizes the loyalty of individuals who have been members of PRSA for at least 50 years. Their dues are waived for the rest of their lives.
  7. PRSSA Students: A PRSSA Internship Center was created to connect PRSSA members with employers. In addition, PRSA created the Higher Education Programs Online Directory, designed to help individuals "research programs available to advance your studies and career in the fields of public relations and marketing communications."
  8. APR: As the APR celebrates 50 years in 2014, PRSA is taking a look at what lies ahead for the credential (more on that below).
  9. Strategic Planning: The 2014-2016 PRSA strategic plan is set, with the vision that "Public Relations is a lead discipline in driving strategic goals and achieving excellence in every organization."
  10. Our Members: As a volunteer membership organization, members can make "One PRSA" a success.
In addition to Nall's presentation, William Murray, CAE, PRSA president and COO, provided a look at 2013 so far. Joseph Cohen, APR, PRSA chair-elect, offered a look ahead at PRSA's "fearless future."

The most passionate debate of the day, however, related to the report by Organizational Performance Group (OPG) on the APR. Research provided by OPG found that:
  • Thirty-five percent of the public perceive the public relations field negatively;
  • The number of PRSA members with accreditation has declined; and
  • Employers are not using the APR as a hiring guide.
OPG provided three roads for PRSA to take in regard to the APR: discontinue the APR, make low-key changes, or overhaul the credential. In order for the APR to thrive, OPG recommends an overhaul.

advertising agencies
Minnesotans celebrate Doug Spong's College of Fellows induction.
College of Fellows
Spong earned the tremendous honor of being inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows at a black-tie event at The Academy of Music Ballroom in Philadelphia. He was inducted with 13 others and was walked to the stage by Minnesota's most recent inductee to the College of Fellows, Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA.

PRSA Midwest District
At the PRSA Midwest District annual meeting held on Oct. 27, the following individuals were elected to lead the district in 2014:
pr consulting
The PRSA Midwest District gathers at Leadership Assembly.
  • Chair - Lori Marble, APR / Southwest Missouri Chapter
  • Chair-Elect - Kellie Wostrel, APR / Nebraska Chapter
  • Treasurer - Jill Alexander, APR, Fellow PRSA / St. Louis Chapter
  • Secretary - Karen Korsgard, APR / Central Illinois Chapter
  • Immediate Past Chair - Brant Skogrand, APR, MBC / Minnesota Chapter
  • District Representative for National Nominating Committee (appointed) - Lewis Pryor, APR / Central Illinois Chapter (primary)
  • Alternate District Representative for National Nominating Committee (appointed) - Herb Ritchell / Chicago Chapter (alternate)
Based on the energy from this year's Leadership Assembly and the insight provided by PRSA leaders, 2014 should be an exciting time for the organization. 
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