National Capital Chapter

December 2020 President’s Message

Dear NCC Members and Colleagues:

The end of a tumultuous year is upon us. As I have strived to do all year, I want to focus this final message on progress and recognizing the work of the NCC’s incredible cohort of volunteers and support personnel, despite the increased professional and personal challenges many faced.

In June, I shared a detailed message of our successes on behalf of NCC members for the first half of 2020. Reflecting on the entirety of the year, here is an updated look at all of the milestones the NCC achieved as a result of the passion, resolve and results-driven focus of our chapter leaders and volunteers:

  • Hosted more than 40 events, including professional development, skills workshops, networking events, issues advocacy, small business support, APR education and support and a series of events designed to elevate discussions and move the needle on diversity, equity and inclusion. This included increasing the number of events that were free for NCC members.
  • Re-strategized and reforecast the 2020 budget mid-way through the year, guiding the chapter from anticipating a loss of revenue to ending the year profitable and financially solvent, and ensuring the NCC has ample funding to weather any long-term challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This included auditing existing systems and processes to bring greater organization and efficiency to the chapter’s financial management and oversight.
  • Improved the chapter’s focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, including ensuring better representation of talented, diverse professionals among NCC’s leadership and professional development speakers, and launching the PRSA NCC Diverse New Professionals Fellowship Program (read more about this new program in the December edition of PRSA NCC Insider).
  • Exceeded sponsorship goals, including securing the chapter’s largest single sponsorship, on behalf of ICF Next in support of the PRSA NCC Diverse New Professionals Fellowship Program.
  • Successfully hosted the newly rebranded and first-ever virtual PRSA National Capital Excellence in Communication Awards (ECAs) – formerly the Thoth Awards – drawing nearly 200 registrants, honoring 14 ECA winners, four Certificate of Excellence honorees and the 2020 National Capital PR Hall of Fame inductees, Lisa Osborne Ross and Gemma Puglisi. This year’s event included a shortened program to enable everyone to celebrate virtually in under an hour, offering it free for everyone to attend and cheer on their peers, incorporating entertainment elements and producing two high-quality videos for winners and finalists to share with their networks.
  • Partnered with other communications organizations and area universities to bring PRSA NCC members and local students additional free or discounted opportunities, including with The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management, National Digital Roundtable, Maryland PRSA chapter, PRSA New York, the MAC Summit, Comm(s) Fest and the Integrate Conference with West Virginia University (which has been moved to 2021 as a result of the pandemic).
  • Enhanced content offerings by publishing nearly 20 pieces of thought leadership from industry professionals on the PRSA NCC blog.
  • Launched and continued to invest in improvements to the redesigned PRSA NCC website, including providing a more seamless event registration process, adding features and updating content pages across the site.
  • Consolidated PRSA NCC committees from more than 20 to fewer than 10 to strengthen opportunities for members through more streamlined communication and programming, and increased collaboration.
  • Enhanced our social media communication, with more frequent postings, a better variety of content and improved graphics to ensure members could access and share information across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Increased our collection and use of data to guide programs and services. This included using members’ and other professionals’ feedback and usage statistics to inform event topics, revise the PRSA NCC Insider newsletter and rebrand and improve our annual awards program (now the ECAs).
  • Provided members and students with resources and support immediately following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, including developing and maintaining a COVID-19 Resource Center, partnering with the U.S. Small Business Administration and local officials to provide a free webinar for small business debt relief, pairing 20 students with professionals for resume reviews and with internship and job search tips, providing stipends to support local PRSSA chapters and more.

None of this would be possible without the volunteers who stepped forward to dedicate time, energy, expertise, ideas, connections and passion, as well as the dedication of our chapter management firm RMK Productions. I am grateful to have led alongside these inspiring individuals.

It has been an immensely fulfilling experience to serve as president of the PRSA National Capital Chapter this year, and I am so proud of all that was accomplished despite the circumstances. It will be an honor to serve as Immediate Past President next year and observe another year of evolution and success for the chapter.

Cheers to a happy, healthy holiday season and New Year ahead.

Lisa Kiefer
President, PRSA National Capital Chapter