Update from International PRSA Conference: Membership is up

By Karren Jeske, APR and Ann Peru Knabe, APR+M

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 10.03.38 AM Southeastern Wisconsin PRSA board members Karren Jeske, APR, and Ann Peru Knabe, APR+M, represented the chapter at the 2014 PRSA Assembly in Washington, D.C. The annual meeting is held prior to the international convention. Jeske and Knabe voted on behalf of the chapter on several key issues.

The immediate past chair, Mickey Nall, APR, and current chair, Joe Cohen, APR, presented the state of the society. This was a good news story: PRSA is very healthy from a fiscal perspective, membership is up, and there was an increase in positive sentiment about the organization. National dues will not increase in 2015 and more than 50 webinars (live and on demand) will continue to be offered FREE to members throughout 2015.

The assembly passed two significant bylaw amendments that affect leadership at the national and regional level. The first amendment allows eligible non-APR members to apply for the two at large seats on the board, and the second amendment clarifies that voting members of the PRSA board of directors may not concurrently serve as district or chapter officers. While some assembly delegates expressed concern this may further dilute the value of APR, others said it encouraged inclusiveness in the decision-making process and evolution of the society.

Mark McClennan, APR, was elected as chair elect for 2015, and will assume the role of chair in 2016.  The slate of officers recommended by the nominating committee was also elected.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 10.04.14 AM Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, was announced as the new CEO.

The assembly also featured a town-hall meeting where delegates could discuss concerns about the society of   interest. Several people voiced concern that PRSA was starting to use “marketing language” in its conversations and  literature. However, others indicated this is the trend for PR – a convergence of PR, marketing and paid media.

The next assembly will be held in Atlanta on Nov. 7 in conjunction with the 2015 International PRSA Conference, Nov. 8-10.