National Capital Chapter

January 2021 President’s Message

Dear NCC Members and Colleagues,

We all waited with great anticipation for the end of 2020 and the beginning of a promising new year. I hope we will be able to realize that promise, but the challenges are immense. 

On January 1, I began my term as 2021 PRSA NCC president, the largest PRSA Chapter in North America. My commitment to my board, my committee chairs and you as members is to affirm our position as communication and public relations professionals.

As we enter a new year with ongoing unprecedented circumstances, 2021 will be an integral time to focus on evolving our chapter and examining where change is needed and the role of ethics and integrity in public relations. 

With that in mind, I’d like to begin this year with New Year’s words as my focus, instead of resolutions. Words have meaning and allow for flexibility whereas resolutions often have a ‘pass or fail’ mentality.

My resolution words to guide this year are integrity, inclusion, partners, progressive and collaboration.

As the head of communications for an international nonprofit, I saw PR achieve a leading role first-hand as marketing budgets were slashed and immediate two-way communication, earned creative and the focus of purpose over profit became a priority. 

To adhere to my resolution words and further drive change for the Chapter, I am committing to establishing the following:

Advisory Council – This year, we will welcome PRSA NCC’s inaugural Advisory Council. The Advisory Council was formed to help us more intentionally shape our organization to be more progressive and market-driven to respond to the new business challenges brought forth by the pandemic and social and civic unrest. The Advisory Council will provide strategic direction and guidance on topics of critical importance to Chapter leadership including: strategic vision for the organization; potential professional development topics and speakers; diversity, equity, inclusion; allyship; integrity and ethics in PR; and good governance practice.  

I am thrilled to announce our Advisory Council members:

Through the Advisory Council’s collaboration with the PRSA NCC Board of Directors and shared creativity and commitment, we will drive PRSA NCC to new heights. 

The Advisory Council will also include one undergraduate senior in good academic standing and preferably a PRSSA member. A student perspective on PRSA NCC’s strategic plans is critical to the success of the Chapter and will help us continue to build membership among the next generation of PR professionals. Student members must be recommended by university advisors, professors or members of the PRSA Board or Advisory Council.

Interested candidates should complete the application by Friday, February 19. The student representative will be selected by the PRSA NCC Executive Committee and Advisory Council members.

Partnerships Committee – This year, I am introducing a new committee focused on developing and sustaining strategic alliances and partnerships with organizations whose purposes align with PRSA NCC.  The focus will be on building bridges with organizations whose existence relies on communication functions but aren’t PR societies. The goal will be to create  win-win value propositions and increase brand awareness of the Chapter with an emphasis on inclusion, diversifying our membership, life-long education and on ensuring equitable opportunities.

What better way to charge into a new year full of renewed hope than to be inspired by changemaker, Bill Novelli. Novelli, author of the new book, Good Business, will be the keynote speaker at our kick-off event scheduled for Tuesday, February 16. He will discuss his storied career, leadership lessons and what drives important social movements. When I think about looking forward and being progressive, I believe that his advice for how we help society make progress and do well by doing good is especially timely.

The event, which will be held from 5:30-8 p.m. ET, is free for NCC members and only $10 for nonmembers. The event will provide an opportunity to meet the Chapter’s board of directors and learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Chapter committees including, association/nonprofit, awards and recognition, D&I, marketing and communications, mentoring, pro bono, programming, sponsorships and more. Additionally, we will be celebrating and recognizing our 2020 Chapter volunteer award winners.

Now is truly PR’s moment to shine. I look forward to working with each of you as we reset our strategies and focus on the year ahead.

Leading with integrity and passion,

Lauren Lawson-Zilai
PRSA NCC President