The year was 2000. I was seeking a summer internship after my sophomore year in college. My father’s colleague, a member of PPRS, knew that Barry Ciccocioppo would often send out emails to membership with resumes of prospective hires. With few expectations, I sent Barry an email with my interests and resume.
Imagine my surprise when I came home from my classes that day to 13 messages on my answering machine in response. One was from Suzanne Graney at the Food Bank that resulted in an intern interview and subsequent offer, and one was from Betsy Linaberger at Tierney Communications.
It was the choice to take the internship with Tierney that launched my career. I stayed with the firm for almost 9 years afterward and, as a bonus, found a great mentor and friend in Betsy.
This was my first glimpse into what PPRS could do for a fledgling professional.
We have certainly changed as an organization since then. The events of the last three years have put a strain on how we maintain operations and grow membership in the face of adversity. While I have always felt like PPRS was a family, it was obvious in the way we pulled together – to mourn the loss of Ken Robinson and pay tribute to Bob Fisher and all that he’s meant to this organization. I am so proud to be part of such a caring group of individuals who can laugh and cry together. This group is special; it transcends the professional connection.
This year will be about looking back, while looking ahead. We need strong documentation of current and past PPRS procedures, and a better structure for long-term record-keeping in the digital age. But, we also need to plan for the future by:
- Simplifying and streamlining volunteering options to encourage more participation.
- Bringing the next generation into the organization and getting them more involved in building our future, while also re-engaging our more “seasoned” PR professionals.
- Examining what the organization looks like in a potentially long-term virtual environment and how we can continue to foster this community.
It’s my hope that PPRS and everything we value about it will be around for 70 more years to come. But, next year will present challenges, and we will need renewed energy, involvement, and insights from a diverse group of members to address them. I challenge you to think about what PPRS has done for you, and to contact me to see how you can help us move forward.
Thank you for entrusting our team with leading the organization in 2021.
2021 PPRS President-Elect