A Lesson in Governance by Mike Greenberg

There’s the concept, and then there’s the reality. The former involves the process, customs and rules by which an organization such as PRSA, is run and the manner by which its members participate in their Society. The reality: that I had the privilege to observe first-hand as our Section’s Delegate to the Leadership Assembly, which met in Washington, D.C., on October 16.

The session began with a review of the Assembly procedures, a report on the financial health of the Society and a review of key accomplishments during 2010. We also voted to keep 2011 PRSA dues at the 2010 level. In other business:

  • There was a much-anticipated and hotly debated amendment to the Society’s by-laws that would allow persons who do not have the APR (Accredited in Public Relations) credential to be nominated to serve on the national Board of Directors. Presently, non-credentialed members cannot serve on the national Board even though they may have held other PRSA leadership positions, such serving on the Board of their local Chapter or national Section, and worked in public relations for at least 20 years.  To me, the strongest argument for change was the fact that only about 16% of Society members carry the APR credential; thus, national leadership opportunities are limited to a small minority of PRSA members. I was convinced that we will be a better Society if we can draw on the talent and experience of more, not fewer members. I voted for the amendment, but the motion failed.
  • Prof. Donald Wright, APR, Fellow PRSA, and Christina M. Darnowski, who heads the PRSA research department, presented their early analysis of a survey of employers on what  knowledge, skills and abilities tomorrow’s PR professionals will require. Future employers will expect new professionals to be proficient in media relations and social media engagement. Polish-up on your writing and listening skills, too. The full report is expected to be released in 2011, but you can see their presentation here.

What impressed me about this experience was the respect, despite their passion, that the Delegates displayed to each other. They clearly shared a deep commitment to the success of PRSA and enhancing the value the profession. As New Professionals, we should follow their example. Yes, we are busy with our new careers, or working to land that first job, but I encourage you to take an interest in serving your Society; and getting involved with the New Professionals Section is a fine way to start. If you want to learn more about opportunities to volunteer your time and talent, e-mail me.

Mike Greenberg is Director of Membership for the PRSA New Professionals Section. He is a member of the PRSA National Capital Chapter and co-Chaired the Chapter’s Volunteer Committee for the 2010 PRSA International Conference in Washington, DC