President’s Message: PRSA Detroit Chapter Update

By Tom O’Connell, PRSA Detroit Chapter President

It’s been a busy few months for PRSA Detroit. With a continued focus on engagement, we have had a couple of great networking events, and last week was our very successful Strikes for Scholarships and Silent Auction.

Our Membership Committee has been busy creating and distributing a survey to our members. I would like to thank all of you that took the time to complete it – we had a great response. We are going through the results right now, and will share the key details in a future blog post. There looks to be some great insight into the things we are doing well, areas to improve and new ideas for the future. Special thanks to Andrea Conrad for her work on this. If you didn’t feel comfortable sharing your thoughts on a survey, please feel free to email me personally.

Our Student and PR Pro Mixer was very well attended and a great success. Thank you to all the professionals that attended and took the time to provide insight and review resumes. The students that attended were very impressive and look well on their way to being seasoned networkers! Special thanks to Kim Eberhardt, Beth Marmarelli and Nicole Pelto for their work on the event.

Our Diversity Committee also organized a great networking event with the Detroit Chapter of the Black Public Relations Society (BPRS) at the Gamer’s Gallery in Hamtramck. It was a very fun location! This is the second year that we have partnered with BPRS for a mixer – and I would like to see it continue in the future. The work of our Diversity Committee is very important and if you have not attended any of their events, I would encourage you to do so in the future. Thanks to TaQuinda Johnson and Lisa Peers for their continued efforts and organizing the event.

Networking is important and a big part of why people belong to our organization – so these events were great. Stay tuned, as we will return to educational programming in June and have some other great events lined up for the rest of the year!

Speaking of education, we just held a webinar for those folks considering pursuing their APR. We were very excited about the number of attendees and the feedback on the content has been great. Attendees learned about the process to become accredited (including deadlines for the 2018 program), the benefits of earning an APR, and topics covered in the computer-based exam. Thanks to Jamie Morris, APR and Cindy Carey, APR for organizing this!

We will be sharing more of the final details from our Strikes for Scholarships and Silent Auction fundraising event soon. But a huge thanks for the committee involved in this large event: Michelle Gilbert, Scott Simons, APR, Mike Isopi and Amy Lafnear. And of course, Nancy Skidmore!

Finally, as chapter leaders, we can focus a lot on areas for improvement, but it’s nice to get recognition for the things we are doing well. We were honored to be asked to participate in a recent PRSA Webinar on Chapter Financial Best Practices with PRSA CFO Philip Bonaventura. Our Executive Secretary Nancy Skidmore and President Elect Megan Soule, APR shared the great work we do in sponsorship and fundraising with chapters from all over the country. Also, we were recently notified that we finished in First Place for Membership Growth in PRSA’s 2017 Golden Retriever Program. It is a challenge to increase and retain members for all professional organizations, so this award means a lot. Congrats to our Chapter and all our volunteers!


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