Thank you for allowing me the honor of serving as president of the PRSA Buffalo Niagara Chapter. I am excited about this opportunity and what the year will bring.
I would be remiss not to reflect on last year and to thank Mike Freedman for his leadership during a year unlike any other. To put it mildly, 2020 was hard. From January wildfires, to the start of a global pandemic, protests over racial injustice and a presidential battle which has divided our nation, we were taken on a ride which tested our systems, our values and our humanity. I congratulate all those reading this for making it through. Special props if you make it through with dignity and class and please note that pairing a dress shirt with sweatpants for your WebX meeting could be defined as class in 2020. I know much is still uncertain. But I’ve already seen good things in January which I am optimistic about.
Our Programming Committee has regrouped and is still growing. We invite you to join us for our first program of the year on February 16 where we will present information on the revamped APR process. Hear from Ginger Geoffery, APR, our newest accredited member and newly elected board secretary, who was among the first in the nation to receive her APR in the new digital format. If you have thought about obtaining your APR, now is the time! Look for additional information in our events section, and look for more information on upcoming events, including a joint program with the Buffalo Association of Black Journalists (BABJ), in the next few weeks.
E-Communications continues to impress and has been hard at work on a revamp of our website. Our soft launch was conducted in January – please visit and let us know your thoughts! Don’t forget to visit the members only job board which had two new listings in January – a sure sign that the tides are turning. Huge thanks are extended to Cassie Kubiak, e-communcations chair and director-at-large, for her hard work on this relaunch.
The chapter recently finalized an overhaul of the application for the May C. Randazzo Scholarship, which includes updated applicant questions to allow for a more inclusive process. In addition, a portion of every sponsorship will be donated to the scholarship fund to help support future generations of PR practitioners. Thank you to Emily Ciraolo, chair of the scholarship and sponsorship committees, for her leadership and dedication to this project. The May C. Randazzo Scholarship will begin accepting applicants for 2021 later this month.
Our Diversity Committee, led by the incomparable Rene Petties-Jones, continues to identify issues our chapter will explore to further the discussion of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), including keeping the lens on DEI initiatives and continuing to have frank and sometimes difficult discussions which are necessary to move forward. As 2021 progresses, we'll continue to look for opportunities to bring forth issues that impact our internal communications as well as our external communications with each other.
January has been a whirlwind, but I feel we have hit the ground running and will truly make great things happen this year. As always, I encourage and implore you to become involved. Many of our long-standing committees can be strengthened by new members and their ideas. No matter what level you are at, your knowledge and experience are welcome and necessary. Remember, the greatest value of your PRSA membership comes from the networking you do and the connections you make. Committees are the best places to build those bonds. I encourage you to reach out if you have any interest and we can find the best committee for you! I look forward to hearing from you!
In closing, I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve our chapter and for your support of PRSA.
NAVIGATING APR IN 2021 - ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
A global pandemic may not sound like an opportunity to pursue your Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), but depending on your current workload, career goals and what may come in the "new normal" it may actually be the perfect time. The great news is that now the process is even easier! Given the circumstances of COVID-19, APR candidates can now take their exams online, with 24/7 access, enabling you to complete testing whenever and wherever. Join us for a FREE lunchtime program with our Accreditation Chair and newest Accredited member to talk about the process, ask questions and see if 2021 is the year to obtain your APR!
Missed the 2020 Excals? Don’t worry, we did too! Be on the lookout for our call for submissions, coming early 2021. We’re working towards a way that we can all be together in the same room again to celebrate each other’s work and the communications community in WNY, so stay tuned for more information regarding the 2021 Excalibur Awards.
Provide value and recognition to our members and sponsors. Our membership expects quality programming, networking opportunities and public relations support. Our sponsors help us meet this expectation, while having their name and messages in front of the best communications professionals in the region. To help support the future generation of PR practitioners, a portion of your scholarship will be allocated to the PRSA May C. Randazzo Scholarship Fund.
Interested? We would love to hear your interests and see how we can partner with a mutually beneficial program.
For more info, contact Emily Ciraolo, sponsorship/scholarship committee chair, at [email protected]
Do you know someone interested in joining or rejoining PRSA? If they sign up by Feb. 28 and use the code CHAPWINTER2021, they'll receive a free chapter membership (traditionally $50) and a waived initiation fee (traditionally $65) or reinstatement fee (traditionally $35). Spread the word!
With diversity still at the forfront of our chapter's iniatives, the diversity committee had thier 2021 kickoff meeting where they identified areas that the chapter would like to explore to further in the discussion of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues. As 2021 progresses, we'll continue to look towards opportunities to bring forth issues that impact our internal communications as well as our external communications with each other.
If you'd like to join the committee this year, please don't hestiate to contact Rene Petties-Jones, the diversity chair, at [email protected]
Do you have great news to share? Did you get a promotion or change jobs? Did your team win an award, or did you win recognition for volunteer efforts? Let us know! Share your great news with us, so we can consider featuring it here in the PRSA Buffalo/Niagara newsletter or on social media.