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Report from the PRSA International Conference in Boston

By Sandi Straetker, PRSA St. Louis President 

PRSA’s International Conference, held this year in Boston, included considerable discussion over proposed PRSA bylaw changes, updates at the national level, an outstanding program of speakers and workshops, and a celebration of 70th Anniversary of the founding of our association

PRSA Leadership Assembly

We had a very lively and impassioned discussion of the proposed bylaw changes, and some old-fashioned Boston activism. 

Two proposals were approved by the Assembly:

1701:  Documented the requirement for District Bylaws to comply with PRSA National Bylaws. This was a simply closing an unintended loophole in our documentation.

1702a:  This amended bylaw change proposed changing “public relations” to “public relations or communication” throughout the bylaws. The intention was to ensure that the association addresses the changes in how our members and potential members define and refer to their positions. 

One proposal was soundly defeated:

1703:  Proposed eliminating the requirement for district representation among the National Board of Directors. “NO Administration without Representation!” was the rally cry distributed to delegates on tea bags. Ever so appropriate for a meeting in Boston! 

One proposal was removed from consideration, due to the amount of negative feedback provided ahead of time.

1704: Proposed allowing the National Board of Directors to amend bylaws without the Leadership Assembly. This was another version of the proposal from last year. 

Here’s hoping that the national board has gotten the message that the Districts and Chapters prefer to remain involved in the association’s decision-making process. 

Inspiration in Boston at #PRSAICON

As a first-time PRSA International Conference attendee, I found new ideas and inspiration in the many sessions I was able to attend. Frankly, one of the problems I encountered was that there were TOO MANY great sessions to attend! I could write several articles about all the things I learned, so instead, here is a collection of great quotes that I hope will inform and inspire you, too. 

“You can’t plan for change. But you can plan for impact and how you hope to affect change. You have to think ahead and have multiple responses prepared.”

Morgan Spurlock, filmmaker, tv host and humorist, best known for the documentary “Super Size Me.” 

“Stop doing the stupid stuff! Ask yourself – does what I’m doing help our mission and/or our bottom line?”

Katie D. Paine, CEO and founder, Paine Publishing LLC 

“Psychology (understanding mindset, motivation and reward system) + Relationships = The New PR.”

Bea Arthur, founder & executive director of “The Difference” Think Tank 

“Just because you’re sure, doesn’t mean you’re right.”

Amy K, Think Tank Facilitator 

“PR needs more balls.”

Fred Cook, CEO, Golin 

“We need to expand our definition of the media to include any third-party trusted by your key audiences.”

Michael Smart, principal, MichaelSMARTPR 

“SWOT yourself often. Knowing what you’re good at makes you thrive.”

Alexander Slater, managing director, Clyde Group 

“When it comes to Word of Mouth, Same is Lame! People talk about things that are different. PR pros are the creators of strategic differentiators.”

Jay Baer, digital marketing strategist

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