June 2020 President’s Message by Lisa Kiefer
Dear NCC Members and Colleagues:
The half-way point of 2020 is upon us, and what a first six months it has been. This month, I would like to take a moment to share and reflect on our journey thus far, the achievements and progress made, the learning we have done and the promising path that lies ahead to continue serving our members and advancing the profession.
The PRSA National Capital Chapter (NCC) got off to an incredibly successful start, seeing quantifiable results in Q1 as we delivered on our promise to implement the vision and strategies put forth in our 2020-2022 strategic plan. The COVID-19 pandemic brought those plans to a near-halt. The challenge set before the NCC Board of Directors, committee chairs and committee members was no small feat: reassess plans and pivot a nearly 1,000-member organization – as volunteers, and in addition to managing personal and professional changes and challenges brought on by the pandemic.
These incredible leaders, who I am so impressed with and grateful to serve alongside, did just that. They stepped up to help us shift our strategies for the remainder of the year, reforecast the budget and ensure that we continued to support PRSA NCC members by delivering on our mission:
Advance the communications profession in the Washington, D.C. area by fostering collaboration, enhancing knowledge and skills, and creating connections through robust, up-to-date, and inclusive educational, networking, and professional growth opportunities.
Below are just a handful of the milestones and achievements of 2020 so far:
- Launch of the redesigned PRSA NCC website in January (as a result of countless hours of work in 2019).
- Consolidation of PRSA NCC committees from more than 20 to 10, to strengthen opportunities for members through more streamlined communication and programming, and increased collaboration.
- Successful implementation of virtual programming, offering a dozen educational workshops, informational webinars and/or interactive networking events in the last two months alone.
- Enhanced partnerships with local universities and other communications organizations, including co-hosting events with George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management and the National Digital Roundtable, and forthcoming events with the International Association of Business Communicators, and the Integrate Conference with West Virginia University (to be held in 2021 after being postponed due to the pandemic).
- Improved focus on diversity and inclusion, including enhanced emphasis to ensure better representation of talented, diverse professionals among the chapter’s leadership and professional development speakers, and efforts currently underway to further embed these principles into the chapter’s policies, procedures, strategic plan and general operations and align with the National PRSA Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan.
- Improved communication across social media platforms, including an increased volume and variety of posts, improved graphics and updated descriptions.
- Increased use of data, by way of surveys and user analytics, to inform improvements to chapter programs, including to inform programming topics, revise the PRSA NCC newsletter, consolidate submission categories for our annual awards program, the Thoth Awards, and inform the rebranding the awards program to maintain historical references while incorporating a broader program name more recognizable to the community’s internal and external constituents.
- Quick action to provide free support to the professional community and local students in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, including developing and maintaining a robust COVID-19 Resource Center; partnering with the U.S. Small Business Administration and local officials to provide a free webinar on financial support and debt relief for small business owners; pairing 20 students with professionals for resume reviews and developing a blog with internship and job search tips, and more.
- Many other initiatives are in the works for the months ahead, including several that will deliver on our commitment to improvement and action around diversity and inclusion.
Much has been achieved in a short amount of time and under challenging circumstances this year, and we can do even more with the support of additional volunteers. I encourage you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your interests and find a volunteer role that is right for you. Even just a couple of hours per month will enable you to take an active role in shaping the organization and giving back to the profession.
Thank you for taking part in this journey. I look forward to the progress we can continue to make together throughout the remainder of the year.
President, PRSA National Capital Chapter