Five Ways to Transition Your Chapter Leadership Successfully

Courtesy of Kelly Davis
Courtesy of Kelly Davis

It has been a long, productive year. You brainstormed, set goals, met goals, took your Chapter to the next level and fine-tuned your leadership skills.

You deserve a break.

But first, it is time to transition your successor, and PRSSA National is here to help. The best place to start is our Leadership Transition webpage, along with the following list of recommendations.

1. Loop in the new leaders early

PRSSA National recommends each Chapter completes elections by April 15. By holding elections early, you can share important emails with your successor, invite him or her to the current leadership board’s meetings and set up one-on-one transition briefings.

2. Create transition binders (CHART Guides)

Your transition binder can either be a physical binder or a flash drive of files. The binder is a component of the PRSSA National CHART Guide, which stands for Chapter history, accomplishments, records and transition.

Your Chapter’s CHART Guide should be passed down to each leader from year to year, with information that is specific to each position.

Here are a few suggested items to include in your CHART Guide:

  • A list of Chapter meetings that were held and a brief recap of what took place
  • A memo describing what you felt was successful and what could be improved
  • A list of past and potential speakers
  • Alumni records
  • A list of things you would have liked to achieve, given more time
  • Any research you conducted during your term
  • Files, templates and documents that can be used in the future
  • A description of roles and responsibilities for each position on the executive board

3. Hold a transition meeting

Before the end of the semester, gather the outgoing and incoming executive boards for a transition meeting. Invite your Professional and Faculty Advisers to explain their roles, include a brainstorm session for the new leaders, and hold one-on-ones in which the outgoing officer explains duties to his or her successor and highlights important documents in the CHART Guide.

4. Take care of housekeeping

At the end of your term, the last thing you want is more paperwork, but don’t forget to ensure the incoming or outgoing Chapter secretary submits an online Chapter Officer Update form. Not doing this will put your Chapter at risk for missing important national updates and deadlines, so make sure this gets done immediately after elections.

5. Be a proactive successor

To those who are newly elected, be proactive in contacting your predecessor. If he or she is not reaching out to you, take charge and ask to set up a transition meeting and obtain important files from the previous year.

Additionally, if you are an incoming Chapter president, you are expected to attend the annual PRSSA Leadership Rally over the summer. This event offers complimentary leadership training, PRSSA briefings and networking with fellow presidents. If the president can’t attend, simply send the next available leader in line.

PRSSA 2014–2015 National President Heather Harder is a 2014 graduate of Elon University and an account coordinator at Capstrat in Raleigh, North Carolina. Follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

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