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PRSA Public Affairs and Government Section’s first webinar of 2021

Building Bridges

Join your fellow Section members on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 4 p.m. EST for the Public Affairs and Government Section’s first webinar of 2021, Why Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Matter: The Human Capital and Public Affairs Connection to Building the Best Organization.

Hear leading Public Affairs and Human Capital (previously known as Human Resources) professionals discuss programs to build bridges between their offices and how they communicate their efforts. 

During this webinar, you will explore: 

  • Ways to identify who owns the DE&I program in your organization and what is the current plan/program. 
  • What is the relationship between PA, HC and EEO offices in organizations?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of each?
  • How can the three collaborate in implementing the plan?
  • How does PA work with HC/EEO to make everyone DEI savvy in the organization? 
  • Identify the best practices and/or gaps in your organization’s DE&I plans/programs.  

Going forward, PAG Section members will consult their organizations for current DE&I plans and best practices in order to provide data that will be shared in a report compiled by the Section. 

Webinar presenters:

  • Moderator: Felicia Blow, APR, Associate Vice President for Development, Hampton University
  • Kermit Howard, Division Director, Human Capital Division, Department of Interior
  • Marta Lugo, External Affairs Officer-Racial Equity, D&I, Civic Engagement, Santa Clara Valley Water  
  • Cyrus A. Salazar, Director, Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Department of Defense

REGISTER NOW!

 

Take the first step to earning your APR: Spring online study course begins Tuesday, 1/26/21

APRPREP is a professional development program designed to prepare professionals for Accreditation in Public Relations. Orientation for the Spring 2021 semester of the online study course is scheduled for Tuesday, 1/26/21 at 8 p.m. EST.

The course is self-paced and includes 10 modules focused on the KSAs — Knowledge Skills and Abilities — required to pass the 4-hour proctored APR examination. In addition, participants may join free weekly webcasts hosted by APR facilitators. During each weekly session, APR facilitators will review participants’ work, provide feedback and share study strategies in an informal and effective virtual learning environment.

The APR is a mark of distinction for public relations professionals who demonstrate their commitment to the profession and to its ethical practice and who are selected based on broad knowledge, strategic perspective, and sound professional judgement. PRSA members may enroll at the member price of $195, and group discounts are available for 5 or more.

The Spring 2021 schedule and enrollment link is here: APRPREPSchedule.pdf (online2learn.net)

More info on the online study course is here: APRPREP – APR Online Study Course (online2learn.net)

For additional questions, please contact Dianna Fornaro, APR Manager, at dfornaro@ceiwc.com.

The pandemic, protests and politics shape PRSA Maryland’s 2020 fall virtual conference, “Navigating the Next Normal”

Kathleen Koch, former CNN correspondent, and Jardena London of Souls@Work to keynote

The past year has taken “planning for the unexpected” to a whole new level as the pandemic, protests and politics continue to bring unimaginable challenges to the world, the economy and the communications profession. This will be the focus of the Public Relations Society of America Maryland Chapter’s (PRSA MD) 43rd annual conference “Navigating the Next Normal,” a completely digital event taking place Sept. 24-25, 2020.

Highlights include keynote addresses from former CNN correspondent and crisis communications leader Kathleen Koch and Jardena London, an agile transformation consultant and founder of Souls@Work. Sessions will also explore:

  • Social media marketing in a post-COVID-19 world;
  • How to respond to and address issues raised by protests;
  • How organizations can effectively discuss diversity, equity and inclusion;
  • The latest techniques to reach and engage audiences;
  • Corporate social responsibility and “corporate personhood;” and
  • How to remain inspired and maintain your stamina.

“Navigating the Next Normal” is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sept. 24, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sept. 25. More details on featured speakers as well as the full conference lineup will be announced soon. The fee is $50 for PRSA members and $60 for non-members. Registration information and additional details can be found at https://prsamd.org/event/prsa-maryland-virtual-conference-navigating-the-next-normal/.

Koch spent most of her career as a journalist, starting as a reporter on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and ending as a Peabody Award-winning network television White House correspondent. She left the news business in 2009 and wrote Rising from Katrina, the prize-winning bestseller about the recovery of her Bay St. Louis, Miss. hometown from Hurricane Katrina. Koch led a nationwide letter-writing campaign to encourage the survivors of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan before turning her attention to aiding in disasters at home by creating LeadersLink.

Jardena London’s life mission is to help organizations become healthy, productive and fun. She is the founder of Souls@Work, a movement to create workplaces that give us energy and nourish our souls. As an agile transformation consultant, she works with leadership teams on Enterprise Business Agility. Her most recent successes have been transforming large legacy organizations into modern workplaces with breakout results. She has also served as co-founder and CEO of Rosetta Technology Group since 1997.  Check out her blogtoon on workplaces that thrive at www.rosettatg.com/blogtoon.

Conference sponsors include Chesapeake Employees Insurance and Devaney & Associates (graphic design), with additional sponsorship opportunities still available. Approximately 125 communications professionals are expected to attend.

Important Update for APR Candidates

Here’s some great news for APR candidates!

There are now two ways to take the examination for Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). As of June 19, 2020, candidates have the option to take the APR exam either at a Prometric Testing Center or remotely through Prometric’s ProProctor application.

For a remote proctored exam, candidates must consent to being videotaped and supply their own laptop with camera, microphone, and internet connection. They must also be able to install a software application (“app”) prior to the test event. For information about both options, see www.prometric.com/pruab.

Additionally, if you are a candidate who is ready to give your Panel Presentation, PRSA Maryland can now administer virtual panel presentations using Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeeting, or another virtual platform. If you are ready for one of these steps, or if you are interested in learning more about the APR, contact Dianna Fornaro, APR, at dfornaro@ceiwc.com or go to https://prsamd.org/apr/.

Never assume your crisis is over … until your audience says so!

We took a brief break from our #PRSAMDWeeklyChat only to come back on June 12 with PR pro Jeffrey Davis, APR, Managing Partner, Van Eperen! Jeff talked about the realities of crisis communications and why you need a solid plan to address Covid 2.0, our national conversation about racism and whatever awaits us in the “Next Normal.”

Listen below to full conversation below or read recap for highlights.

Highlights:

What is a crisis? Internally, a crisis is an event or a series of events which threaten the organization’s ability to achieve its mission. Externally, a crisis is an event or a series of events which put your organization’s values on trial in the court of public opinion.

Realities of a crisis: Your values will be communicated and will under public scrutiny. Remember that what you say must be reinforced by your behavior. Important publics (employees, media, competitors, neighbors, family, critics) are paying attention to you. Be ready with good messaging.

Basics of a crisis: Ask “what do you want people to think about you?” That you care, are doing something, and will prevent recurrence. That you are accountable and will be part of the solution. Have a solid messaging strategy that includes a media policy, prepared messaging platform procedures, trained/tested spokespeople. Tip:  When training spokespeople, practice with a series of Q&As that will prepare the spokesperson for the hardest questions imaginable. *Don’t train in the midst of a crisis! Crisis specifics make the news.

Tip: Journalists often put out calls for more information via social media. Be a part of the story; be prepared to answer those calls.

Initial statement: Don’t ignore the “window of opportunity.” Respond quickly. Your initial statement may be broad but make sure it is timely and be sure to address the key issues during this critical period. Tip: Don’t put the news media ahead of your own employees. They are your ambassadors and can help get the messaging out. Let your employees know what is going on. Tip: Organizations can be pulled into employee issues. If this happens, respond quickly.

Create a solid crisis communications plan that includes a mobile option allowing easy access to all. The mobile plan can be setup based on crisis levels vs. specific scenarios, i.e., Level 3 – Emergency event; Level 2 – Significate/threshold event; Level 1 – Major event. The plan should identify team members and their roles, current contact information, template statements, and social media passwords.

Crisis Management Best Practices:

  • Risk assessments – identify scenarios; plans using levels
  • Scheduled sessions to review plan
  • Regular updates to plan – internal team, external stakeholders, media/influence lists, contacts, templates, mobile version
  • Media/speaker training for primary spokespersons

 

Internal communications in the age of COVID-19

When the pandemic hit earlier this year, many organizations immediately started focusing on their external stakeholders making sure their customers knew the organization valued them especially as they had to close down or curtail operations for an indefinite period of time. But what about their internal stakeholders 

On Wednesday, May 27, we were joined by Jodi Davidson, VP, Global University & Inclusion, Sodexo Corp.; Tia Mason Howard, APR, Director Internal Communications, MedStar Health; Tom Williams, APR, Managing Director, Communications, MPT; Kristi Yowell, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, Associate VP for Human Resources, Goucher College; & Dianna Fornaro, APR, Director and Accreditations Chair, PRSA Maryland Chapter (moderator) to discuss the importance of not neglecting this vital group.  

Listen to the full discussion below.  

Here are just a few highlights from the chat:

Ignoring your internal communications can lead to an information vacuum filled with misinformation, confusion, and anxiety.  Ways to prevent this is to …  

  • Create internal messaging that aligns with external messaging. Be sure to recognize there are different stakeholders involved 
  • Avoid standalone communications so the message is consistent by coordinating with all departments. (i.e., standardized templates)  
  • Provide a steady stream of communications. For example, MPT made the commitment for video conference every two weeks to provide a regular form of communications 
  • Engage all leadership to stay consistent  

Effectively communicating with employees who are working virtual, especially for those new to this nature of work, is equally important. Be sure to …  

  • Provide adequate tech support 
  • Be patient and flexible as not everyone is tech-savvy  
  • Send print materials to people who may not be as engaged 
  • Communicate through text (HR app)  
  • Create a simple ask a question on a COVID-19 website page to answer questions about pay/safety/work requirements, etc.  

 *Consider that not all employees are remote. Don’t forget to arm leaders with the necessary tools to stay in touch 

Keeping all employees engaged and upbeat is another challenge. Be sure to …  

  • Acknowledge the strangeness of the situation. Create a campaign asking for videos of what it is like to work under these circumstances, i.e., at home with family, empty offices, etc. Share widely.  
  • Offer a place where people can express out loud the challenges they are facing (personally, professionally, etc.) Create a space of validation. Encourage open conversation via virtual coffee withs, happy hours, lunch gatherings, etc.  
  • Share kudos received from the external community to reinforce their importance. *People want to know their efforts are valued by both leadership and the community.  
  • Develop a social recognition platform where colleagues can give kudos, showcase work, post photos, etc.  
  • Recognize that your team may not be doing what they normally are good at and focus instead on those things your team is doing best right now.  
  • Establish norms and options/flexibility. Not every call/virtual meeting needs to be mandatory.  

*Tip for leadership: Be transparent! Admit you don’t have all the answers but will work on getting those answers asap.  

Have tips you’d like to share? Send to info@prsamd.org.

 

 Missed the last weekly chats? Here you go …

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