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PRSA Boston Blog

This is a blog written by the PRSA Boston president (Tom Nutile for 2008) about events and activities involving PRSA Boston

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fun and surprises at the September Meeting

In PR we know we need to be prepared to deal with anything, and that nothing goes at planned. Well the September PRSA breakfast meeting on measurement proved to live up to that expectation.

What do I mean by that? Fifteen minutes before the event is scheduled to start, we receive a call that one of our three panelists was in an accicendt on 128 and was going to be late. (She was OK. More upset that anything). So we stall for 15 minutes and she arrives (fine thankfully). Then 45 minutes into the session I get paged - my wife went into labor four weeks early and I needed to leave *right then*. The majority of folks has no idea why I had to leave.

Tom Nutile, the president-elect picked up my moderating duties without a pause and the program went on.

In the end though, everyone seemed to get a lot out of it, and we heard a lot of praise for the panelists, the topic, and the questions, Share your thoughts on what mattered the most to you and what were your favorate takeaways.

And yes, on Tuesday evening, by second son (Jack Michael McClennan) was born 4 weeks early. But he still managed to be 9 lbs 14 ozs.

I will post again soon.

4 Comments:

  • At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Jack O'Dwyer said…

    Mark: Congratulations to you and your wife on the birth of Jack Michael! I wish you all well and hope everything is fine.
    Meanwhile, I've written a report on the PRSA delegate teleconference yesterday that I think would be interesting to all your chapter members and especially your delegates. I'm hoping for more democracy at the Assembly. --Jack O'Dwyer

    PRS Lawyer Beth Caseman
    Is Assembly Parliamentarian
    CEO Rhoda Weiss moves up lunch from 12:30 p.m. to noon to insure delegates spend 1.5 hours on Strategic Plan. “I will make it happen,” she said.
    Wed., Oct. 10; winter & best are sample codes to www.odwyerpr.com

    LAWYER IS PRS PARLIAMENTARIAN
    Beth Caseman, an associate in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Venable, will serve both as legal counsel and parliamentarian for the PR Society board when it presides over the Assembly Oct. 20 in Philadelphia.
    The announcement was made by PRS chair and CEO Rhoda Weiss during a delegate teleconference yesterday.
    “We are thrilled to have her as part of our team,” Weiss told the teleconference. About 30 of the potential total of 323 delegates identified themselves on the call.
    Weiss also said that lunch has been moved up to noon from 12:30 to insure 1.5 hours of discussion on the new Strategic Plan.
    Delegates will not be allowed to sit where they want to at lunch but will be given seats that separate them from others in their delegations or districts. They will be given three subjects from the SP and will not be allowed to discuss any other subject. “Monitors” will go from table to table to make sure the delegates are staying on the topic.
    “You won’t sit with the people you always sit with,” chair-elect Jeff Julin told the teleconference. Color codes and name plates are to be used.
    Crockett Attended Board Sessions
    Ray Crockett, director of communications, Coca-Cola North America, Atlanta, was appointed by Weiss to the national board this year as “senior counselor” and has attended three meetings thus far, it was learned. PRS did not announce this development.
    Crockett ran for the board starting in 2008 as S.E. director but the nominating committee picked Phil Tate of Luquire George Andrews, marketing/ad/PR firm.
    Lynn Sallot, Ph.D., PR professor at the University of Georgia, is this year’s PRS selection as “Outstanding Educator.”
    Georgia, the second largest chapter with 800+ members, has nine Assembly delegates.
    No information was available on the status of Dr. Mark Schilansky, a podiatrist who had served for several years as the parliamentarian for PRS. He had counseled the Society to adopt a new bylaw that gave the executive committee the power to act in place of the full board and also served in an advisory capacity on the nominating committee.
    Schilansky Was Hospitalized
    Schilansky was hospitalized for an operation shortly before the Assembly last year. He has fully recovered, an assistant said. An associate, Dr. Barry Glazer of Indianapolis, took his place. Weiss, COO Bill Murray and PR staffer Joe DeRupo did not respond to an e-mail asking the status of Schilansky.
    Lawyer Jonathan Pompan of Venable was also on the dais at the 2006 Assembly.
    Jeff Tenenbaum of Venable said that he, Caseman and other lawyers at the firm often serve as parliamentarians at meetings of associations because of their extensive work with associations and their annual meetings.
    Neither Tenenbaum or Caseman are members of the National Assn. of Parliamentarians or the American Institute of Parliamentarians.
    Venable was retained by PRS in 2005 when Judith Phair was president. Moses & Singer also continued as legal counsel but was dropped after Arthur Abelman died Oct. 17, 2006.
    Legal fees were $66,761 in 2006 vs. $20,498 in 2003. The board has proposed a re-write of the entire bylaws which will entail considerable legal work.
    Veteran PRS members could not remember an instance of a local parliamentarian not being hired for the Assembly.
    Some parliamentarians feel that in cases where there is controversy or divided opinions in an organization, the delegates to a conference should have their own parliamentarian and not rely on the parliamentarian of elected leaders.
    Busywork to Avoid Other Topics?
    Some delegates, noticing the morning full of leader speeches, an hour-and-a-half scheduled for the Strategic Plan, and the last-minute proposal to re-write the entire bylaws, wonder if the delegates are being kept occupied so they won’t start discussing other sensitive topics such as resuming publishing the printed members’ directory; true staff costs of the annual conference; up to 10 staff posts being kept vacant at h.q. to improve profits; low turnout for the APR program (only 130 new APRs yearly); local-only chapter memberships; at-large student memberships; lack of senior members at h.q. and hiring of a PR staffer who was not a member of PRS; failure of Weiss to visit any of the five biggest chapters and visit only two of the top 15; the secret e-group for delegates that is barred to members; lack of a library at h.q.; lack of an on-staff registered and fully credentialed CPA; possibility of sending Tactics and Strategist via PDFs on the web, thus saving hundreds of thousands (postage and printing are around $400,000, etc.
    Focus Is on “Strategic Plan”
    A major focus of the Assembly will be on revising the “Strategic Plan” of the Society.
    The current plan, which expires at the end of 2007, is a six-page document that describes PRS as a “member-driven organization” that is “the leader and pre-eminent advocate for advancing the PR profession and the PR professional for the benefit of members and society.”
    The SP has PRS pledging adherence to “the highest standards of ethics and excellence.”
    One goal is to make PRS “the profession’s leading voice on important industry, societal and global issues.”
    One “tactic” is to “create a platform of pre-developed and pre-approved messages/position statements that can be quickly and easily disseminated when related news breaks.”
    Some members feel it will be difficult for the delegates to come up with new expressions of devotion to leadership and ethics.
    Morning of Speeches, then “Buzz Groups”
    The current agenda calls for leader presentations for most of the morning including a description of the Strategic Plan by Julin and input desired from the delegates for the new SP.
    Delegates, who will have been split from their delegations or districts “so you won’t sit with the people you always sit with,” will stay at their places following lunch, Julin said.
    Each table will be given a set of three topics related to the SP to discuss. An hour and a half has been set aside for these discussions. Only the SP is to be discussed, said Julin. Conclusions of each table will be collected and a summary will be prepared, he said. Members of the SP will circulate among the tables to answer questions and make sure the delegates concentrate on the SP.
    An “action-packed lunch” featuring awards is also promised.
    Award-giving and speeches dominated the 2003 Assembly lunch in New Orleans, making conversation at the tables difficult.
    Agenda Could Be Scotched
    Some delegates noted that the agenda may not be adopted and that delegates may take control of their own meeting, which happened last year and in some previous years.
    The most contentious issue this year is compressing the ten districts into five “regions” because of the lack of candidates from some districts. Blake Lewis, Southwest district chair, proposed a special leadership committee to nurture future national leaders. He noted the difficult time his district had in finding a suitable candidate.
    Marlene Neill, communications specialist for the city of Waco, Texas, and past president of the Central Texas chapter, had submitted her application to the nominating committee for district director but she was rejected.
    A 12-year PR veteran, she was a journalism graduate of the University of Kansas and became a TV journalist. She is currently working on an MA at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
    Haynes Became Petition Candidate
    Jim Haynes of Rockwall, Texas, a 1959 journalism graduate of the University of Texas who has had a broad range of PR positions, became a petition candidate for S.W. director.
    Lewis said the Society must work harder to encourage members to move from local to national leadership.
    “We had to scramble to get a candidate willing to run from the floor,” he told the teleconference. “No organization should have to go through that,” he added.
    Cheryl Procter-Rogers, 2006 president, said leadership development should be made part of the SP.
    It’s estimated that at least 95% of members are ineligible for national office because they are not APR (80% of members are non-APR) or have not served as head of a chapter, district, section or national committee or voted at least once in an Assembly. Merely attending an Assembly does not satisfy this rule.
    Caseman Handles Nonprofits
    Caseman, who practices exclusively on nonprofit organizations, is the former assistant general counsel of Volunteers of America, one of the nation’s 20 largest charities. She is a cum laude graduate of the Indiana University School of Law.

     
  • At 8:26 AM, Blogger PRCG said…

    Congratulations, Mark, on the unexpected but joyous arrival of baby Jack! See you soon... have baby pictures on hand!

     
  • At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree.

     
  • At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jeff Tenenbaum of Venable said that he, Caseman and other lawyers at the firm often serve as parliamentarians at meetings of associations because of their extensive work with associations and their annual meetings.
    Neither Tenenbaum or Caseman are members of the National Assn. of Parliamentarians or the American Institute of Parliamentarians.
    Venable was retained by PRS in 2005 when Judith Phair was president.
    Legal fees were $66,761 in 2006 vs. $20,498 in 2003. The law firm has proposed a re-write of the entire bylaws which will entail considerable legal work!
    Veteran PRS members could not remember an instance of a local parliamentarian not being hired for the Assembly.

     

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