Oct 9 2019 Yankee Chapter PRSA Board Meeting Minutes

DRAFT-For Approval

October 9, 2019

Present: Stefanie Breton, Andy Morse, Susan Geier, Mary Ellen Hettinger, Amber Bedi, Seth Wheeler, Mark Elliott, Michelle Dunn, Jane Law, Donna Eason, Tom Bebbington

Call to order 3:06 p.m.

Minutes: September meeting minutes approved with amendments.

September Treasurer’s Report (Seth): We have $300-$400 in PayPal account right now that is from annual meeting, October PD session and November PD session. So revenue will be higher later once that money is broken out.

September Treasurer’s report approved.


Annual meeting update (Stefanie, Andy): Northeast Delta Dental is sponsoring again for $1,000. The details are moving forward with SNHU as presenter on Oct. 30 at Red River Theatres. Discussed having a Board dinner the night before (Oct. 29); chapter will pick up the tab.

We have 8 people signed up right now; in the past we have split up the list and had board members reach out to members to encourage them to attend. Board can do that again. Andy will send out a list to the board.

If Bob is attendance, maybe he can take pictures?

Chapter Dues: Every year we submit our dues amounts to National. Seth does not feel the pros outweigh the cons to raise our rates. Jane asked if we wanted to consider reducing dues for retirees and associate members? We could send out a reminder to let retirees know about the reduced rate.

Board vote for 2020: $20 chapter dues for retirees, $20 chapter dues for Associate Members

Michelle can do some outreach to the PRSSA chapters around this.


Awards Committee Report (Tom): A written report was sent out to the board about the proposed changes.

1. Discontinue the current Pat Jackson and Summit Awards, due to a seeming lack of interest—and of qualified candidates—in the Chapter’s service area.
2. Honor the legacy of Pat Jackson to “spread the Gospel of PR” among local business and non-profit leaders by forming a speakers bureau made up of experienced members who are willing to volunteer to speak in front of Chambers of Commerce, business groups, etc.
3. The current $500 Yankee Chapter PRSA Scholarship, sponsored by EDvestinU, does not attract a large number of applicants, and our informal research suggests that the relatively low value of the award discourages applicants from applying. The committee therefore recommends that the Chapter supplement EDvestinU’s contribution with $500 of our own funds, to make the award $1,000.
4. The committee recommends that since the Scholarship no longer bears Jim Bradley’s name, a new award should be established: a scholarship-like program that provides a graduating senior a one-year membership in PRSA Yankee Chapter, PRSA National, and the New Professionals Section, and free admission to all PDs and Chapter events throughout the year.
5. The Committee makes no recommendations on the Good as Granite or Lifetime Achievement Awards, since they serve largely to recognize long-time members’ contributions to the Chapter and to the profession, rather than those outside the profession.

Board votes:
1. Approved – discontinue Pat Jackson and Summit Awards.
2. Approved – form a speakers’ bureau.
3. Approved – increase scholarship to $1,000 ($500 EDvestinU, $500 from chapter).
4. Approved – a scholarship-like program that provides a graduating senior a one-year membership in PRSA Yankee Chapter, PRSA National, and the New Professionals Section, and free admission to all PDs and Chapter events throughout the year. Offer everything for free for the first year to see how it goes.

Membership (Michelle, Amber): We have one new member: Kristen Brewster from NHHFA. We are down to 96 members. We reached out to national (not chapter) members but it was actually limited to prospects only-didn’t get a response. We have 16 prospects right now; 8 former members who are now prospects. That is the next outreach. Consider another chapter promotion this fall? Target it to the prospects. We can discuss in November.

PRSA National Bylaw Proposals:
-One is the approval of the Certificate of Incorporation, which is a revision that happened this year due to the fact that the New York State nonprofit laws changed, and we needed to update our certificate which hadn’t been updated in decades, literally decades. The only thing that the governance committee did to it was to tighten up and modernize the language of what PRSA does.

-The second item that will come before the assembly is basically a rewrite of the bylaws, again, due to the change in the New York State nonprofit laws. So we, again, worked with legal counsel. The legal counsel found a lot of things here and there and so they reorganized it and put it back together. It’s a massive change, but there’s no real substantive change to it.

-The third item to come before the assembly is a bylaw amendment proposed by four to six people, one of whom introduced the same bylaw amendment last year. Mary Beth West. It was soundly defeated last year, and that was to bring the bylaws back to pre-2016 when it was voted that the board should select the candidates for the slate for officer positions. The Governance Committee and the board are recommending against that, by law amendments. Governance Committee and the board saw again saw no reason to move the society backward.

Board votes:
Direct Andy to vote “yes” on article 1901 – Approved.
Direct Andy to vote “yes” on article 1902 – Approved.
Direct Andy to vote “no” on article 1093 – Approved.

Scholarships & Grants (Donna): Awarded 2019 scholarship to junior Brianna Newman of Champlain College. Donna would like to start promoting the 2020 Scholarship now with the new amount and will update the application so we can get it online.

District Conference Update (Andy): call for volunteers went out; we have had one person respond and Boston shared it already. Planning committee is meeting again next Wednesday.


APR: no new news, latest APR is a PRSA member but not a YPRSA member (prospect as of 10/9/19). Mary Ellen will follow up with her.

Ethics: Liz not on the call

Communications: Mackenzie and Roz not on the call

Past President’s Council (Tom): no new updates

Member Engagement/PD: We had a great PD session on crisis communications with Scott Spradling at Nackey Loeb School at the end of September. We also had a webinar this past Tuesday on message framing.

Upcoming events:
Annual meeting-Oct. 30 at Red River Theatres
Shining a Light on Timberland’s CSR Strategies-Nov. 12 at Nackey Loeb School

Nominating Committee: Mackenzie Kreitler has resigned from the board effective immediately; so we will need to remove her from the 2020 slate. Andy reached out to someone about filling the slot; waiting to hear back. We could nominate someone from the floor. We could also ask that person to fill out the remaining year (2019).

Other: Andy thanked the Awards Committee for all of their work on the recommendations.

Meeting adjourned at 4:16 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Stefanie Breton