Over the last year, PRSA, the Maryland chapter, and our industry as a whole have made incredible strides in the incorporation of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. The DE&I committee spent significant time over the last few months conducting research and interviews with folks in our industry and beyond, carefully considering the ways that our DE&I goals can best serve our members.
Our goal for 2021 is to create tools and educational opportunities that will allow you, as members to incorporate these essential pillars into your daily work for the organizations you serve. We plan to offer several programs that will allow you to learn different topics like the need for equitable internships and how to use inclusive language in your communications plans. We’ll introduce you to diverse media outlets that could prove to be useful contacts for your work. And, we plan to offer resources about anti-racism and how to get started on your own journey. In addition, we will create educational toolkits for members to reference at any time to ensure that their efforts are truly inclusive.
In addition to these educational efforts for members, it is also essential that we, the leaders of PRSA Maryland, incorporate standards and practices that promote equity. We are making a concentrated effort to use our platforms to elevate the voices of underrepresented groups in our profession. You can expect to hear from experts who have diverse backgrounds at all of our panels and events. We are also going to elevate minority-owned businesses by hiring them for events and by providing a resource for our members who would like to expand their own vendor base.
We appreciate your continued support on these endeavors and ask that you hold us accountable. We welcome your feedback! If you have ideas, suggestions, or even criticisms, we are ready to hear them. Please feel free to email us directly at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kaletha Henry & Mary Miles
A press kit premiering the movie “Dumbo,” a stereograph, Edward L. Bernays’ wooden in-box and
Virginia H. Pie, APR (Photo: C-SPAN’s coverage of American Red Cross leadership and others during a news conference about workers with AIDS in the workplace, April 19, 1988)
history-making PR artifacts and books were all part of PRSA Maryland’s live and customized virtual tour of The Museum of Public Relations in New York. The tour included a focus on famous Maryland PR execs, as well as women in PR, to mark Women’s History Month in March.
Tour leader and museum founder Shelley Spector reminded attendees of an important Maryland chapter milestone with national significance. The Maryland chapter is known for having one of the first female chapter leaders in the nation and doing so a year ahead of National.
That leader was Virginia H. Pie, APR (later Virginia Pie-Pistolesi, following her marriage to Domenic “Tony” Pistolesi).
Chapter members were saddened to be reminded that Virginia passed away from cancer in 1991 at age 57 at her home in Hedgesville, W. Va.
Pronounced PEE-AY, Virginia Pie-Pistolesi’s obituary in The Sun noted that she was a special events and promotions officer at Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C. and had been the organization’s national director of public affairs from 1981 until 1988. She also served as community relations director for the Baltimore chapter of the Red Cross from 1964 to 1973. The Washington Post noted she also worked for the Red Cross in El Paso, Alexandria and Richmond.
She was Maryland chapter president in 1972 during her time at the local Red Cross, marking the first year the chapter was recognized as “Maryland.” From 1961 to 1971 the chapter was known as the Baltimore chapter of PRSA.
The former Virginia Hughes was a native of Charlottesville, Va., and a graduate of the University of North Carolina where she earned a degree in journalism. She won a Silver Anvil award among other honors.
It is that time of year again where our chapter performs a valuable service for another PRSA chapter around the country – the judging of their chapter’s annual professional awards.
This time we are being called to judge The Northeast Wisconsin Chapter awards. https://prsanewis.org/index.php
This service is invaluable because without judges PRSA chapters would not have a ready remedy to celebrate the hard work and professional achievements of PRSA members.
Of course, this act is reciprocal.
Because of our participation in this, it allows our Best In Maryland entries to be judged by a sister PRSA chapter later this year. We are expecting an announcement soon about what chapter will be judging us this year for our December BIM awards.
With that said, I am soliciting your help. We will need at least 20 volunteers to participate in this year’s judging.
Here are the touchpoints:
1. If you won a PRSA MD Best in Maryland Award last year or your company did, this is a great way to pay your win forward. Your award was made possible because other PRSA members around the country volunteered their time to look at your entries.
2. If you want to submit an award this year for PRSA MD BIM, this is a good chance to see what the judging process is so that you can form a strategy when our BIM call for entries goes out later this year.
3. If you want to see what other PRSA professionals are doing around the country with campaigns, this is a great opportunity to get a look at the landscape of work in another part of the country especially with COVID communications.
If you can help, please send me an email: email@example.com letting me know that you are willing to participate.
The entries are expected to be delivered to PRSA MD this weekend, and all entries are due back to NE Wisconsin on March 27.
I will be in touch with further directions once I receive your email saying you can volunteer.
Thanks so much for considering this meaningful service opportunity. It would be great to hear from volunteers by this Saturday.
Best to all, and thanks for being a member of PRSA MD.
David Marshall, Ph.D., APR
PRSA MD Chapter President
February 2021 WebNotes
Check out our latest edition of WebNotes!
Happy New Year and welcome to the 2021 programming year. I trust that your holiday celebrations were great and that you and your families are well and are staying safe.
PRSA MD President
Thank you for being a member of PRSA MD. We so appreciate you engaging in our great profession by maintaining your membership. Check out our welcome message for the year.
I would like to thank our rock star team for its service on the 2021 Board. Board members are already hard at work to bring value to your membership.
Tuesday, January 19, the board will meet for the first time to start planning for our 2021 programming. It is our hope that by the fourth quarter we may be able to have some safe in-person events, but we will have to wait for health experts to give us guidance. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, we will program the “old-fashioned way” on Zoom, still looking out for some hybrid opportunities along the way.
I want to express our gratitude to our Immediate Past President Lisa Brusio Coster for her amazing leadership of the 2020 Board. She guided us with grace and precision through a very tough year. We owe her a big debt of gratitude. Hats off to the other members of the 2020 Board. Thank you for setting up the organization for success this new year.
Last week, we solicited your advice for the new year via a start-up survey. We appreciate those who responded. Please find the survey results here.
One thing for sure, we already know that we want to highlight more of your activities in 2021. If you would like us to profile you or if you would like to share some of your amazing work that we could all learn from, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of course, we welcome your expertise to volunteer on committees. There is room for you right now.
Thanks again for being a member of PRSA MD. Best of luck in 2021 to you, your clients, and your teams.
PRSA MD President
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.
- 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
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 email@example.com.
Statement from PRSA 2021 National Chair Michelle Olson, APR: There Is Strength In Our Unity
As communications professionals, we take pride in our ability to know what to say, and when and how to say it. But my head and heart are hurting today and I’m searching to find the right words as I try to make sense of the unfathomable chaos that took place yesterday, and the precarious place we find ourselves in as a country.
Never did I imagine my second communication to our membership would come in response to an assault on our republic and an attempt to delegitimize the election of the President and Vice President of the United States.
No matter what one’s political leanings are, we must all, as PRSA members and as citizens of this great country, join together to help restore faith in our democracy, and continue to model the importance of behaving civilly, peacefully and ethically. The world is watching, and our employers, clients and associates are relying on our guidance and example.
We are all in a unique position, one that is more important than ever, to demonstrate leadership and serve as steady voices at a time of great imbalance. Timely, accurate and truthful information – in context – is the foundation of our role as communicators. Yesterday’s actions show what can happen when the channels of communication are compromised with mis/disinformation.
And we must thank and support our counterparts in the media who so bravely reported from inside and outside the United States Capitol, risking their own safety to help tell the story as the day’s events unfolded.
It is also crucial for us to consider our PRSSA students, how strange and scary this must be for all of them, but also how eager they are to get involved and find solutions to problems. We must resolve to serve as strong advisors and mentors, and help guide them as they search for their own ways, and use their own voices, to help make a difference in society.
Yesterday, long-intensifying frustrations and helplessness reached an ugly boiling point. We must all take a long hard look at how to create and sustain the pillars of community and fellowship that are at the core of our democracy.
We all know that mob mentality is never the right answer and is dangerous, destructive, and, tragically, sometimes deadly. Yesterday’s horror must not be repeated, and I know that we can all come together in our collective determination to make things better.
Michelle Olson, APR
PRSA 2021 Chair