Central Ohio Chapter and East Central District Represented at PRSA Leadership Rally

By M.J. Clark, APR, and Beth Watkins, July 27th, 2015

Last month, PRSA’s national office held the annual Leadership Rally for incoming chapter and district leaders in New York City. Central Ohio Chapter members M.J. Clark, APR, representing the East Central District in place of Sarah Bednarski, and Vice President of Membership Beth Watkins, representing the chapter in place of President-Elect John Palmer, were pleased to attend.

The Leadership Rally is an important orientation, leadership and networking event designed to help prepare PRSA chapter, district and section leaders for 2015 and beyond. In addition to sharing resources available through the national office, the conference also provided information on chapter financial management and budgeting, leading and managing a board, member attraction and retention, programming, sponsorships and scholarships as well as opportunities for leaders of similar-sized chapters to share common challenges and solutions in roundtable discussions.

Attendees also got a sneak peak of the 2015 PRSA International Conference from the Georgia Chapter, which is hosting the event in Atlanta this year. In 2016, the International Conference will be in Indianapolis, a mere three-hour drive from Columbus.

In the district meetings, members discussed best practices of district conferences, how to effectively share information about great speakers, how to best support those working toward an APR, and the benefits and process of applying to serve on the national board. There was a good deal of discussion and brainstorming about the most effective ways to benefit our member chapters, and we brought back many ideas to share with our Ohio PRSA district representatives and chapter leaders.

“Given our membership size, Central Ohio is in the ‘Very Large’ category with the New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Georgia (Atlanta), San Francisco, National Capital (D.C.), Houston, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Hoosier and Colorado Chapters. It’s validating to know we all face similar challenges and learn of some innovative methods for member engagement,” said Watkins.

Even though the rally had a packed schedule, there was still an opportunity to step out and enjoy a bit of New York. “Since our hotel was located in lower Manhattan, we enjoyed a great networking dinner near Battery Park with views of Ellis Island the Statue of Liberty. On the way back to our hotel, M.J. and I stopped by the 9/11 Memorial, which was very meaningful and peaceful. I recommend a visit if to anyone who goes to New York,” Watkins said.

“The district meetings provided a great balcony view of how PRSA works at each level, and I gained so much from the discussions,” Clark said. “Representatives from each district were so open and willing to share helpful ideas. I hope others from our chapter seize the opportunity to serve at a district level in the future.”

leadership rallyM.J. Clark, APR, second from left, and Beth Watkins, center, seated with other attendees from East Central District, represented the district and Central Ohio Chapter respectively at the PRSA Leadership Rally.
Photo credit: Sonja Popp-Stahly, APR, PRSA National Board of Directors and member of the Hoosier Chapter.

The PRSA Leadership Rally hotel was just two blocks away from the 9/11 Memorial.

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