President’s January Message

The Yankee Chapter of PRSA is off to a fabulous start in 2024, thanks to all of you who responded to our membership survey in December. The feedback will help us plan “on point” professional development programs and provide the services our members truly value.

The top vote-getter for desired topics was Artificial Intelligence, and thanks to the Maine Public Relations Council, we are offering a workshop on AI as our first program of the year. I’ve already signed up.

We also learned that 65% of respondents prefer the convenience of a one-hour webinar at lunch. The Yankee Chapter PD committee is hard at work planning sessions in various formats and will consider the topics you requested:

  • Crisis management
  • Marketing communications
  • Internal communications
  • Change management
  • Research
  • Social media
  • Media relationship-building

There is also a desire for purely social events in convenient locations (e.g., area restaurants), so we will pilot-test some of those in the coming year.

The upside of having an older Yankee Chapter membership, of course, is experience. Over half of our survey respondents have held Board positions, and 37% of us have served as President! However, another 35% have not held any positions for PRSA –an untapped resource that we need to tap! What’s more, over half of our survey respondents (52%) are accredited! Another 9% say “not yet, but I want to be.” We have Board Member Mark Elliott, APR, who will be working with Joe Gallagher, APR, to offer support and resources for those of you who have accreditation on your New Year’s resolutions list.

It was reassuring to learn that survey respondents prefer PRSA Yankee Chapter, PRSA National publications, and the Yankee Chapter newsletter are their top information sources on the PR field. We asked for suggestions to improve our website and received many. The Communications Committee of Seth Wheeler, APR, Jayme Simoes, and Kim MacLeod, APR, are working on that as we speak.

Last but not least, we have some amazing partnerships, starting with our Yankee Chapter member Laura Simoes, Executive Director of the Nackey Loeb Center. In addition, I’ve had wonderful conversations with the leaders of MPRC, PRSA Boston, and the newly minted PRSA Worcester chapters – we plan to expand our opportunities for professional development and networking by collaborating. At the end of the day, our members say “networking” is still the primary motivator for their PRSA/Yankee Chapter membership.

Let’s have a great 2024,

Robin Schell, APR, Fellow PRSA