It’s hard to believe that 2012 is almost behind us. I can say with all sincerity that it has been my honor and privilege to serve as president of one of the finest PRSA chapters in the country.
First, I want to thank our members and guests for your understanding when we elected to postpone our October meeting until Friday, Nov. 9. Thankfully, central Virginia was spared from most of the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, and our hearts and minds are with our friends in the Northeast, as they continue the long road to recovery.
When we made the decision to postpone our luncheon, we were thinking of the safety and well-being of our members, guests and panelists, who were coming from out of state. We hope to see you on Friday, as we learn how corporations and nonprofit organizations are using Pinterest.
This has been a banner year for PRSA Richmond. Embracing the theme “PRSA Serving RVA,” we set the goal of identifying and creating ways for our members to get involved in and benefit from the Richmond PR community and the Greater Richmond community at large. We’ve delivered on that theme in many ways. Here’s a recap of some of our major accomplishments in 2012 – by the numbers:
300 – For the first time in our chapter’s history, PRSA Richmond’s membership has exceeded 300, and we continue to grow! We’d like to believe it’s because of the quality of the monthly luncheons, networking opportunities and professional development workshops we offer our members. Speaking of networking, don’t forget to join us on Wednesday, Nov. 7 for our Fall Networking Event at Toast (formerly City Limit) at 7007 Three Chopt Road in Richmond.
89 – This was a record-setting year for the 65th annual Virginia PR Awards. We experienced a 30 percent increase in total award entries, and more than 250 members and guests attended the event at the Jefferson Hotel in downtown Richmond, where 89 total awards were given, up from 73 awards given in 2011.
80 – We had close to 80 members and guests attend our social media Professional Development workshop in May. We’re having another Professional Development workshop on Friday, Nov. 16. This time, we’ve assembled a stellar local media panel featuring Greg Gillian, business editor from the Richmond Times-Dispatch; Lara MalbonMcDuffie, assignment manager at WWBT-NBC 12 and Dena Potter, news editor for the Associated Press for Virginia and West Virginia. Seats are still available. You don’t want to miss it!
65 – Student Connections Week, which started five years ago as Diversity Days when I served as the chapter's diversity chair, continues to flourish. This year, we placed 65 students interested in careers in public relations with PR professionals in the Richmond region. Thank you to our Diversity Committee for a job well done!
31 – Since the late 1980s, PRSA Richmond has selected one nonprofit organization to support with pro bono PR assistance. This year, 31 organizations applied for assistance, and our Public Service Committee selected the Partnership for Families Northside (PFFN) as our recipient. Work continues on behalf of PFFN, and a team of PRSA Richmond members will be completing a communications plan for the organization this month. And for the first time, PRSA Richmond held a nonprofit PR workshop for the other nonprofits that applied for assistance. The workshop included a session on social media, facilitated by Laura Pence, Social Savvy Geek and a media panel moderated by Woody Coates, web content manager at Ironworks Consulting and former news assignment editor at WWBT-NBC12. The panel featured Paige Mudd, senior editor at The Richmond Times-Dispatch; Antoinette Essa, anchor and reporter at WTVR-CBS 6 and Tina Eschelman, senior editor at Richmond magazine. It also included a "best practices" session with the leaders of Boaz and Ruth.
30 – Our sponsorship committee added several new sponsors this year and raised a grand total of $15,250 in corporate sponsorships, a 30 percent increase over the previous year! Thank you, once again to our sponsors -- old and new -- for your contributions to PRSA Richmond.
13 – Our chapter mentoring program, in which we match experienced PR professionals with Next Wave members, continues to thrive. This year, we were able to make 13 successful matches.
5 – Five PRSA Richmond members successfully earned their APR credentials this year – a record – and several other members will be sitting for their Readiness Review this month. Thank you to our Accreditation Committee for your dedication!
2 – Once again, the Richmond PR Foundation will be awarding two $1,000 scholarships to deserving area college students interested in pursuing careers in public relations. These scholarships are made possible because of the generous donations made by our members and local corporations to the Foundation.
1 – And finally, I’d like to give my heartfelt thank you to one great PRSA Richmond board. This group of dedicated volunteers has given their time and talents to make this a one terrific year. It has been one record-setting year because of you!
We couldn’t have had such a great year without our amazing members! Thank you for your support and engagement. Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving and a magnificent holiday season. I hope to see you at our final luncheon of the year – the always well-attended Past President’s luncheon – on Wednesday, Nov. 28.
And I can't wait to see what's in store for PRSA Richmond in 2013!