If you have 0–30 members in your PRSSA Chapter, congratulations, you have what is considered a small Chapter! While low numbers can be intimidating and concerning at times, it does not mean your Chapter is any less than those who have 50 members and beyond. Small Chapters can conquer incredible things with the right determination and dedication. The core group of members a small Chapter is going to look to is the leadership. Being an efficient leader in a small Chapter is especially important given that every member will have a much closer eye on you and all you do considering there are very few people to look to. Having this kind of responsibility can be petrifying but ultimately rewarding when you take the initiative to do the best you can in your role. When being in a leadership role in your small Chapter, there are a few things that may help you be the best leader you can be.
Having a small Chapter can significantly benefit you in many scenarios. Agency tours, which may be more hectic with a larger Chapter, can be made more personalized and intimate with a smaller group of members. You can get to know your entire Chapter and learn more about your members beyond professional boundaries. This can allow you to get to know their interests, support them in any sport and/or activities they may do and develop a strong friendship with them.
Hosting a speaker is a common practice in our society but when you are a small Chapter, you can reap benefits beyond the presentation when a speaker is present. Having a smaller group can make the session a lot more engaging between the speaker and the audience. Often times the presentation can become more conversational and less formal, which can help you connect more with whoever is presenting. The speaker will also have a lot more time to answer questions and get to know who you are as a future practitioner.
Just because you have a small Chapter does not mean you are incapable of doing amazing things that Chapters larger than you do. You can still apply for awards and have the chance of winning. You can still hold national positions such as a National Committee member, District Ambassador or Subcommittee member. You can still gain incredible experiences, knowledge and an extraordinary network of students and professionals.
Having a small Chapter is an experience not everyone gets to have and I am personally grateful for all the incredible friendships and opportunities I have been given being a member and leader of my small Chapter. I encourage you to own every moment you have as a small Chapter; including the good and the bad. These experiences help you grow and they ultimately shape you into being a better leader and future practitioner.
Nicole Tobias is the 2019-2020 PRSSA National Tri-State District Ambassador. Nicole is a senior public relations major with a marketing minor at Waynesburg University. Follow Nicole on Twitter @nicole_tobias32 and connect with her on LinkedIn.