Looking Ahead to the Future of PRSSA


NC Focus
When National President Heather Harder asked these two questions to the 2014 Leadership Rally attendees, a few common threads emerged. | Infographic courtesy of Jordan Paquet.

“Membership starts with you.”

That’s the first line of the PRSSA membership guide. After joining PRSSA in 2010, I quickly discovered that statement’s meaning. There were plenty of membership benefits waiting. I just had to take the initiative to access them.

Now that I’ve begun my second year on National Committee, the meaning of this statement has changed. I now understand PRSSA membership is not something I have to take on by myself. It’s a team effort that requires national and Chapter leaders to connect with each other and their Chapter members. Membership doesn’t just start with you; it starts with all of you. All of us.

For the next few years, that’s exactly how I see PRSSA growing — as a team effort. From 2014 and beyond, I envision PRSSA members becoming more engaged, more involved and more valuable to potential employers.

PRSSA member engagement encompasses connections across the board. While social media is the most prominent form of engagement, there are also opportunities to engage face-to-face at local, regional and national events. When asked what they would like to see from National Committee, 40 percent of Chapter presidents said they want to connect on a personal level. You can expect to see a more engaged, interactive National Committee this year. My hope is that will spread to Chapter leadership as well.

Increasingly, Chapter leaders are asking the question, how can we become more involved at the national level? This is the year to turn that question into action. With National Initiatives, every Chapter — regardless of size or budget — can find at least a few ways to get involved. If you want to be even more ambitious, pursue the Star Chapter Award, which requires Chapters to participate in multiple National Initiatives. Or, you can join in on one of our monthly Twitter chats or choose to write an article for Progressions or our tri-annual online newspaper, FORUM.

For years, I have heard that employers value PRSSA membership, and I think this value will only increase. PRSSA Leadership Rally keynote speaker, Ron Culp, shared that an open position at a major agency recently narrowed its pool of candidates based on applicants’ PRSSA involvement. The more involved members are, the greater the value employers will see in hiring PRSSA graduates, he said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts public relations careers will grow by 12 percent from 2012 to 2022. With 11,570 members and new Chapters added every year, our PRSSA membership also shows signs of steady growth. As we become more engaged and more involved, the PRSSA brand will only get stronger.

PRSSA has a bright future, and it starts with us.


This is a guest post written by PRSSA 2014–2015 National President Heather Harder. Follow her on Twitter @HeathHarder, and connect with the entire National Committee.


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