The PRSA NJ Board of Directors hosted its semi-annual meeting on October 23, 2014 to discuss key issues, challenges and opportunities facing the chapter in 2015. The meeting led by chapter President Kristine Simoes, was a lively and constructive discussion that looked at the health and direction of the New Jersey chapter, as well as what role PRSA NJ should be playing in the evolution of the public relations profession. The term “value” rose above all other points and drove the debate and discussion on the chapter’s bright future.
Key meeting milestones included a review of the 2014 membership survey, which revealed the chapter’s main membership centers of professionals between the ages of 26 and 65, with mid-tier and seasoned professional backgrounds the most active in the chapter. This insight as well as a host of other takeaways – such as concerns about time commitments, location of events, and the desire for more in-depth professional development and networking opportunities – were instrumental in informing 2015 strategy and planning. Additionally, although PRSA NJ membership increased by 35 people this year, the Board agreed there is an increasing need to attract more corporate communications professions by finding new ways to demonstrate and communicate the value of PRSA NJ. The Board will be exploring a mentoring program that will pair junior and mid-level professionals with seasoned corporate and agency managers in an effort to expand the chapters influence while satisfying the much requested networking and professional development.
The Board also agreed that 2015 would be a year driven by the umbrella theme, “The Evolution of Public Relations.” Aside from the annual Pyramid Awards and the mentoring initiative, six core programs will be developed under this umbrella theme addressing specific issues and opportunities that roll-up to a communication of two key points – a better understanding of the changing face of PR and the value PR brings to decision makers at the highest levels.
PRSA NJ needs to guide and empower its members to move the perception of Public Relations beyond pedaling press releases and begin positioning our profession as expert counselors, strategists and problem solvers who treasure creativity and ideas as our intellectual property. We must develop programming, resources and activities that focus on these core messages or risk being marginalized and held to cost and metrics to decide our worth.
The Board is excited to begin working on its 2015 strategic plan, which will be shared with the greater organization before the end of the year.