Chapter Events

  • Who Ignited Cause Communications? Carol Cone, That’s Who. And She’s @ PRXNE16!

    PRXNE Keynote Speaker Carol Cone does more than CSR. She holds an impressive record of show jumping accomplishments.

    If your PR efforts include getting any organization to think beyond its boundaries by bettering society, odds are you applying the tools and cause marketing ideology that were pioneered by trailblazer and serial entrepreneur, Carol Cone. Long before terms like CSR, cause branding, corporate citizenship, sustainability or social purpose were adopted as business vocabulary, Carol created and claimed a new position within the C-suites of Fortune 500 companies, awakening them to the compelling business outcomes of engaging with society to leverage their reach and resources to do something purposeful with their influence. Where that vision has taken her, and savvy business leaders and marketers of all stripes, will be the subject of her PRXNE16 keynote on Monday, June 13th when Carol Cone comes back to where it all began, Boston.

    Loring Barnes, APR, PRSA Boston Chapter President and an early alumna of Cone, Inc., caught up with her former boss on topics ranging from authenticity to what it means to be competitive for this special expanded installment of Fast 5+5.

    Carol ConeSo Carol, you’re coming home to Boston. What are your thoughts on how Boston looks today?

    CC: When I founded Cone in 1980, Route 128 was known as “America’s Technology Highway”, with Boston home to important corporate brands –­ John Hancock, Gillette, Sheraton, Polaroid, BankBoston, Digital Equipment and Reebok – that gave this region a unique center of innovation, power and corporate leadership. Today, there is a differing type of innovation largely centered in healthcare, bio and medtech, underpinned by the regions expansive educational foundation of our universities.

    Q: You’ve been called ‘the mother of cause marketing.’ Is that a big mantel to carry?

    CC: To the extent this associates me with authentically linking the power of companies and brands with social issues, I’ve come to accept this as a succinct explanation of a complex and very exciting new business strategy. If every CEO or Executive Director understood how to harness social transparency and the interconnectedness of people and social purpose, their corporations and NGOs wouldn’t need an expert to bring big ideas and diverse partners to make this happen. It’s fulfilling professional vocation that has been exciting to nurture over time. Actually, it is my personal purpose that I was fortunate to discover very early in my career.

    Q: Are Millennials the torchbearers for advancing purposeful corporate social engagement?

    CC: Their generational imprint is an asset to a company or nonprofit that is looking to grow its visibility and impact. Millennials are teaching organizations that committed employees want to bring their ‘whole’ selves to work, contributing to missions that are compatible with their personal values and sense of purpose. They don’t want to bifurcate their convictions, rather they view their jobs as another channel through which they can achieve meaningful social impact. The challenge is for the employer to understand how to leverage that compassion as it inspires younger stewards of change to support the goals of their employers at the same time.

    Q: What is your worst PR or marketing experience and what did you learn from it?  

    CC: The phone call from my office started this way: “At least no one died!”  It was Thanksgiving weekend and that opening certainly got my attention. We were conducting a promotional tour for Smirnoff Vodka providing a real-time concert via a highly accomplished pianist, formally dressed in tails, sitting on an elegantly decorated flatbed truck, touring the city. Key to the decor was a 15’ high Smirnoff bottle illuminated with tiny glowing lights. What we didn’t know was that the display’s creator did not use inflammable plastic. The giant bottle, after an hour or so, burst into flames causing the pianist to leap off the flatbed. Thankfully no one was hurt, but the news coverage was not exactly what we planned. Lesson learned:  make sure you have lots of insurance coverage and plan, plan, plan for all eventualities.

    Q: OK, so what was your best experience and how did that inform your work going forward?

    CC: The creation of the Rockport Fitness Walking movement, that brought fitness walking to America as the next means of credible and accessible exercise. It also elevated Rockport to become a beloved national brand, growing them from an unknown $20 million company to over $150 million in 5 years. The second has been inspiring PNC Financial to embrace early childhood education as their core social purpose, committing $350 million over 20 years helping children to be socially, emotionally and intellectually ready for Kindergarten. We coaxed PNC to partner with the National Head Start Association (obvious) and Sesame Street (not so obvious). They have reached millions of children and families and have helped launch a national movement for early childhood education. Lesson learned for both: do your homework; find the next emerging social purpose and link amazing partners with a long-term commitment.

    Q: How would you describe yourself in one word?

    CC: Passionate!

    Q: You’re at a point where you can write books and relax. What is it that you still want to accomplish with Carol Cone ON PURPOSE, your next entrepreneurial venture?

    CC: When we’ve cured every social malady or inequity, I guess we can fold up our tent, but one only need to look at crushing world health and education needs, environmental abuses, and social stigmas to see the demand for change in our world society. Big ideas need expert accelerators to bring them to life, and that’s where our Purpose Collaborative steps in. I am so excited that in less than a year, we have grown to 32 members, representing more than 300 experts in purpose, from culture enhancement to comprehensive program development and execution to virtual reality for social impact. I am humbled by the community we have created, the smarts and passions of my “partners” and the challenges we are addressing.

    We find that while executives want to do more, they often concede that bandwidth limits how their organizations externalize ethics and trust. This is the new way of doing business, and its only growing. As long as there exists a need to upscale bold ideas with organizations that are willing to anchor them at the center of organizational and brand strategy our work is not done. Companies that get it – like Unilever, Microsoft, CVS, PNC and Starbucks ­– show the upside of adopting societal engagement at their core and learn that integration of their core competencies with society provides magical impacts well beyond their initial plan.

    Q: The reality of virtual communication reshapes how employees and customers learn and interact. What are your thoughts on the best of technology vs. in-person learning?

    CC: Technology allows almost unlimited access to information, from short form to long, from print to videos. The challenge is not getting overwhelmed, yet staying curious and looking for obvious — for learning — and not so obvious, such as connections for ideation. In-person learning has a wonderful aspect too, especially if teams come together with a shared purpose to solve a challenge and some ground rules as to how they interact. I really like both.

    Q: I will never forget our first phone interview: were keenly interested in how I defined being ‘competitive’ outside of the office. I later learned that you had arguably a dual career as a competitive equestrian. It’s hard to term your impressive record of show jumping accomplishment a ‘hobby,’ but how does this competitiveness indicator predict the profile of someone who will excel as a cause communications specialist?

    CC: The DNA of any innovator requires habits that hone knowledge and grow your confidence outside of business hours. Competitive horse jumping, as one example, takes inordinate discipline, off-hours commitment for work and travel, and a selfless willingness to roll up one’s sleeves for the most unceremonious tasks, such as cleaning horse stalls. The performance aspect emerges as minutes from years of training, learning and being coached. There are personality parallels of a competitive person that informs the focus of anyone who sees their PR career as one of transforming our world. Carol Cone ON PURPOSE is being built with collaborators who live this truth of social activism: you have to make it happen, with resilience, persistence, and active collaboration. Being competitive – meaning never giving up and learning, learning, learning and giving of oneself is a perceptible core belief system that is evident in how someone spends their personal time and influence others to do good works.

    Q: When you finish your presentation at PRXNE16, how do you anticipate the audience will think and feel about who they are, what they do and how they do it?

    CC: I hope they will be inspired, and have an elevated understanding of the role of social purpose in business today and how they can bring their values, passion and smarts into this new way of working for personal, business and societal impact. Doing well and doing good can be profound! You just need to be authentic, do your homework, not give up and look for the ‘gems’ to ignite for amazing outcomes.

    Carol offers this list of inspiring and must reads for CSR best practices: Download CCOP Cause Resource List  HERE.

    About Carol Cone, Founder + CEO, Carol Cone ON PURPOSE
    Twitter: @carolcone Web: http://www.purposecollaborative.com

    Carol Cone is CEO of Carol Cone ON PURPOSE (CCOP), a 21st-century consultancy whose mission is to move social purpose to the center of business and brand strategy. At the core of CCOP is The Purpose Collaborative, a collective of over 30 agencies, boutiques and individuals, with deep purpose, CSR and sustainability capabilities from strategy to execution.

    For over 25 years, Carol has embraced a commitment to building lasting partnerships between companies, brands and social issues for deep business and societal impact. Her groundbreaking work includes Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, Reebok Human Rights Awards, American Heart Go Red for Women, American Lung Association Lung Force, PNC Grow Up Great, Microsoft YouthSpark and The Vaseline Healing Project.

    She is also a recognized thought leader in social purpose, having conducted the world’s first research, then dozens of studies with business executives, citizens, employees and nonprofits to gain critical insights to inspire organizations to engage with society as being a wise business strategy.  She is a sought-after speaker and media expert, sharing her insights on purpose branding, corporate citizenship, sustainability and CSR.

    Carol served as the founder, CEO and Chairman of Cone, Inc. from 1980-2010. In 2007, PR Week called her “arguably the most powerful and visible figure in the world of Cause Branding.”

    In 2009, she was one of two US judges for the first PR Lions Awards at the Cannes Festival of Creativity. Her first book, Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding was published in 2010. Overall, Cone’s signature cause programs have raised more than $2 billion for various social issues. www.purposecollaborative.com

    About Loring Barnes, APR, Chief Communications Officer, Clarity
    President, PRSA Boston + PRXNE16 Conference Co-Chair
    Twitter: @claritynews + @loringbarnes  Web:  www.claritygroup.com

    Anyone who caught World Cup fever in ’94 or rode transit to Boston’s first Tall Ships knows Loring’s capacity for creating and executing big ideas, in part by uniting new partners, a core premise of cause communications. These programs earned nods by the USOOC and changed the culture of a behemoth government bureaucracy, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).

    Cone, Inc. was among Loring’s earliest and most influential agency posts that included the eventual Omnicom sibling agency Copithorne + Bellows among others in TX and PA. She founded Clarity in 2001 as a reputation and brand-building consultancy in order to be closer to the action as a C-client advisor. Clarity’s transformation of the CDC’s National HIV Testing Day campaign to become the Federal agency’s most impactful and praised at the United Nations by the White House stands out on a career highlight reel that includes: professionally recognized launches, mature brand reinvigorations, partnerships and effective crisis counsel alongside law enforcement agencies of all jurisdictions. The UMass Amherst ‘Alumna to Watch’ is passionate about dog rescue among a variety of board and volunteer commitments she keeps in play.

    PRXNE16 Speakers, Directions + Registration: HERE  Hosted by: @prsaboston with @prsane

    Follow PRXNE16 News: #PRXNE

  • PRXNE16 on Election 2016: Has The Media Become The Story?

    Four of the region’s leading political journalists will have an in-depth and dynamic conversation during the lunchtime keynote which will provide PRSA members with an editorial insight into the 2016 Presidential Election that will be a highlight of the PRXNE16 Conference.  Boston’s award winning journalist RD Sahl who has been covering the political scene since 1968 will moderate a terrific panel including the Boston Globe’s Political Editor Shira Center; WPRI’s Political Reporter Ted Nesi, and the Union Leader’s Executive Editor Trent Spiner.

    Is the media responsible for creating Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders?  Would the campaign be any different if there weren’t 17 Republican candidates?  From the Boston Globe’s satirical ‘President Trump’ faux front page to the Union Leader’s retraction of its Chris Christie endorsement, how has journalism changed in the face of this most unpredictable Presidential Race, and its coverage of stories it helped to generate?  What is the role of other local politicians including Elizabeth Warren?  What is it like to be the ‘First in the Nation’ primary from the editor and assignment desks? How has all of this impacted the role of PR professionals who represent organizations with legislative interests? With so much coverage being given on a daily basis to the 2016 Election, how would these busy journalists suggest how organizations participate in, or break through this noise? What will the future look like for both journalism and public relations after November? What lessons is the media learning, and teaching, as we head into the climax of this epic roller coaster headline story of 2016?

    This regional media delegation is sure to provoke the political news junkie in all of us with their privileged, ‘behind the curtain’ revelations that are sure to inspire ample water cooler, colleague and dinner conversation to follow. Most importantly, they will inform your daily media relations and social media activity. Bring your questions for an open conversation following this freewheeling moderated discussion during lunch.

    About Amy Riemer, Principal, Riemer Communications @riemercomm, Chair, PRXNE16 Conference Programming + Speaker Management

    From her North Shore, MA office, Amy provides media relations, trade expo and event coordination services to diverse organizations consumer, technology, nonprofit and trade show management sectors. Her experience proved invaluable to the planning of PRXNE16, for which we fielded triple the number of speaker proposals to available presentation slots. Prior to founding her consultancy, she was affiliated with Reed Exhibitions, Edelman and PAN Communications.

     

  • Region’s Top PR Minds Fill the Program for PRxNE

    In Chapter Events on

    Tickets on sale for the annual PRSA Northeast District Conference, which will convene public relations professionals to discuss key issues facing the industry

    Boston (May 3, 2016) – As the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) Northeast District’s annual conference draws closer, final programming details are being confirmed and ticket sales are going strong. “Relationships + Reinvention: How PR is Leading the New Marketing Mix” is being designed by and for leaders on the forefront of pressing topics within the profession. The Conference will be held in Boston on June 13, 2016 at University of Massachusetts Boston.

    The conference will host more than 250 distinguished panelists and speakers, and include academics, business leaders, inventors, journalists, and attorneys. Keynote speakers include Carol Cone of ON PURPOSE, and Christopher S. Penn, vice president of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications, co-founder of PodCamp New Media Community Conference, co-host of Marketing Over Coffee podcast, and adjunct professor of Internet Marketing and the lead subject matter expert and professor of Advanced Social Media at the University of San Francisco. Conference coordinators are also working to finalize a panel discussion with some of the region’s leading political reporters to talk about the challenges of covering politics and how media coverage has evolved, especially with the growth of digital media.

    “We are very excited about the level of interest we have received from participants and sponsors for this year’s conference. The keynote speakers assembled are a ‘Who’s Who’ in the industry, and our programming is bringing together some of the best in the Northeastern United States,” said Crystal DeStefano, chair of the PRSA Northeast District. “We look forward to bringing together many public relations professionals and those from related industries, as we move towards the future in an ever-changing industry.”

    Panel topics include:

    • Professional to Professor
    • Leadership
    • Organizational Change
    • C-Suite Success: Corporate communications veterans reveal the strategies to get in, and be respected, by the corner office

    Conference panelists include professors from Syracuse University, Ithaca College and SUNY Plattsburgh. Representatives from HubSpot, Dow Chemical, Xerox Corporation, Wayfair, Epson America, Dunkin Donuts, PAN Communications, ESL Federal Credit Union, Chaloner and Saucony will also be presenting.

    Sponsors for the conference, to-date, include Regis College, Western New England University, 360 PR, Aigner Prensky Marketing Group/Food Truck Festivals of America, Canalside Buffalo, Hollywood Public Relations, Howell Liberatore & Associates, March Communications and MSL Group.

    For more information and to register for the conference please visit prsanortheast.org/ne-conference.

    About PRSA Northeast District

    PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) is the world’s largest and foremost organization of public relations professionals, representing a community of more than 21,000 public relations and communications professionals across the United States. The PRSA Northeast District (NED) is comprised of chapters from eight states. For more information visit prsanortheast.org/about.

  • Food Trucks To Go

    Food Trucks Can Be A Fun Food Alternative When Hosting an Event

    In Chapter Events, Sponsorship on

    By Aigner Prensky Marketing Group/Food Truck Festivals of America

    #PRXNE 2016 Agency Partner

    During our many years (okay, decades) in the public relations, marketing and events world, we have attended countless client events that featured plenty of crudites, sandwiches and cheese plates. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s just not that exciting or creative. There are definitely other options to consider as mobile food options have gained more prominence.

    When we started our second company, Food Truck Festivals of America (FTFA), four years ago, we had no clue how popular food trucks and their creative menus would become.  We started with a list of eight food trucks and now our list is close to one thousand trucks… and growing!

    With our national connections, we get many, many requests for food truck appearances every day, which is why we started a special division of FTFA called Food Trucks 2 Go.  We post requests to an internal bulletin board read by the truck owners, and they can book the events themselves if they are interested. When we receive requests from companies or agencies looking for something a little different, a little more fun in the food department, Food Trucks 2 Go gets involved. We have worked with an extensive list of clients including:

    • Converse
    • Campbell’s Soup
    • Genzyme​
    • Jordan’s Furniture
    • Massport
    • MIT
    • Suffolk Downs

    There’s just something special about an event with six exciting food trucks vs. an event with six catered food stations.  Visually, it is more eye​-popping, hip and different. A ​gourmet ​grilled cheese truck serving fontina and short rib sandwiches or a BBQ truck serving pulled pork sliders with red bliss potato salad ​just beats that cheese plate every time!

    ​So if your agency or client is looking for a memorable lunch or after​-​work event, consider offering food trucks as a fun alternative.

    Aigner Prensky Marketing Group and Food Truck Festivals of America is a proud partner and supporter of PRXNE. For more information about either the agency or the fabulous Food Truck Festivals, contact Janet Prensky at jprensky@aignerprenskymarketing.com or call (617) 254-9500, or visit the Festival site at http://www.foodtruckfestivalsofamerica.com to find a festival near you.

  • Fast 5: Q&A with Dan Dent, APR, Communications Manager, Benchmark Senior Living

    In APR, Chapter Events on

    Every March, our chapter breaks bread with those among us who are accredited in public relations. It’s a good sized group, about 55 APRs among 310 members, who are invited to join what’s billed as PRSA Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Appreciation Breakfast for APRs.

    This year the event brought in members from other parts of the Northeast District, including Maine and New Hampshire. (Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York, you were with us in spirit.) Also with us were Joe Truncale, who is one year into his job as PRSA’s CEO, and Boston’s own Mark McClennan, PRSA’s national president.

    As breakfast meetings go, it was a blast, with ideas, opinions and suggestions in large supply. Discussion touched on the recent membership survey, current website rebuild, new branding program, the popular ethics app (worth a try), and the 2016 convention in Indianapolis and the 2017 convention in Boston.

    After breakfast, we caught up with Dan Dent, APR, to get his take on the value, impact, and process in earning the Accreditation in Public Relations. A member of PRSA since 1996, Dan was accredited in 2014 and served as PRSA Boston’s APR co-chair in 2015.

    Why did you decide to get your APR accreditation? Why do you think it’s important to your career?

    After so many years on the job, it was time to test myself. You can learn a lot about PR during a career, but there’s always that nagging feeling of ‘do you really have the right stuff? Is there something more you could be doing to elevate your career?’ The APR process gave me an opportunity to improve my knowledge about PR—put it to the test—and come out the other side a better professional. Just about every day, my APR helps me improve my value on the job.

    What is the process to secure your APR accreditation? What is the time commitment?

    Think of the APR process as a semester-long college course. There’s a textbook, course guide, study group, writing assignment, oral presentation and final exam. Thankfully, PRSA overhauled the APR a few years ago. It used to be all about the textbook. Now, it’s about you. You get to choose the PR program, you get to talk about your job and your role in it. It’s very real, very useable in your work life. Earning your APR is confidence building for sure, which is critical as you move up the value chain in your organization and your career. Everyone wants to work with a confident, competent PR professional, and the APR can help you get there.

    What was the toughest part of the accreditation process?

    Look, we’re all in PR because we can make things happen. We solve problems every day—weird, wonderful, bizarre, crazy-client, wacky-management problems. The toughest part of the accreditation process is getting to the point where you are all in—you are willing to test your skills against the best practices in the businesses. You need to view this as an army boot camp for your career. It will break down your skills and PR thinking, put it through a professional-grade process, and then build it up so you are better than before.

    Why should PR professions get their APR?

    Do it to give yourself confidence on the job. Do it to send a signal that no matter the role, you possess a professional standard that says I can handle this. Do it to give you a clearer understanding about what good PR looks like and how to deliver it.

    Why does PRSA Boston host an APR breakfast?

    Earning your APR means different things to different people. Yes, you will get a lapel pin, a certificate suitable for framing, special programs that are ‘for APRs only’ and, if you belong to a fun loving chapter like PRSA Boston, a nice breakfast on St. Patrick’s Day. The mini-muffins were great, and so was the networking. For anyone interested in taking the APR leap, give me a call, or contact our chair of APR. There’s a study group forming right now.

    Dan Dent is the Corporate Communications Manager at Benchmark Senior Living and Owner of Dent Communications. In 2017, Dan will serve as president of PRSA Boston, which is hosting the PRSA International Convention in October. You can reach Dan on Twitter at @DanDent1.

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos.

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • Mark McClennan, APR

    FAST 5: Q&A with PRSA Chair Mark McClennan, APR

    Public relations must do more than simply ‘occupy’ a seat at the C-suite table says longtime chapter member and past-president Mark McClennan, APR.

    Mark (@McClennan), who is senior vice president, social media services for MSLGroup in Waltham, recently began his term as Chair of the PRSA national Board of Directors, having been elected by chapter delegates of the 22,000 member organization. Among his priorities are ensuring that PR professionals have the resources and professional development to remain trusted advisers to the C-suite so they can hold their spot at leadership’s table.

    His term year has arrived with a bang: a recent New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) advisory opinion that will expand the definition of ‘lobbyist’ and implications that public relations practitioners would incur new regulatory compliance as a result. He is quoted in a recent PRSA release on this issue HERE.

    We caught up with Mark for a FAST 5 to ask him to reflect on the importance of PR, his priorities for PRSA in 2016, and the increasingly important role Boston is playing in the PR universe, with a visit by PRSA CEO Joe Truncale later this month and hosting the PRSA Northeast District Conference (PRXNE16, @prsane #prxne) in June.

    #1 – Where is PR today?

    PR is more important today than it has ever been. When I first joined the mantra was, “PR needs a seat at the table.” Today, for the most part we have a seat at the table. But having a seat at the table isn’t enough. We all know the dinner guest who just eats the food and is not invited back. Today the challenge is consistently reinforcing PR as a lead discipline and trusted counselor at the table. If we are not advancing sage counsel in every interaction, we are hurting ourselves, and we have enough detractors that we can’t afford to do that.

    #2 – Why PRSA?

    This is the question I get the most from non-members, and I love it. PRSA is the best and deepest resource for you to engage with to advance yourself as a professional and to help advance your career. We have 22,000 members in more than 110 chapters, and another 11,000 students and great intern candidates across 334 student chapters. This is the recruitment pipeline of our future. Within our membership we have 14 dedicated professional-interest sections that instantly connect you to professionals who are facing the same challenges you are.

    But when people ask me about the cost, I have a simple answer. The true cost of PRSA is two to four hours a month. If you are willing to invest that by getting involved and not just coming to meetings, the rewards will blow away any dues amount. And if you are not willing to invest that much time in your career, then others who are will pass you by.

    I credit PRSA with playing a huge role in advancing my career. Ann Getman taught me so much about PR research that she made a hard-charging AE seem really smart to his managers in the 1990s. Kirk Hazlett has been a mentor and friend for almost 20 years. But that is just the beginning. The more you get involved the better it gets. I have had the pleasure of being active on the local, district, section and national level. Every time I volunteer, I find the opportunities and awards more than I ever expected.

    #3 – What PRSA events are you looking forward to the most in 2016?

    The great thing about PRSA is there are so many outstanding events – and there is always one for your specific need. Locally, the PRSA Northeast District Conference (PRXNE16) in June is shaping up to be a dynamite event. We have Joe Truncale, CEO of PRSA (and a closet Red Sox fan), who visited us last week for our March Board Meeting and March Madness Mixer then attended our 3rd annual APR St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast the next day. He’s also going to be speaking at PRXNE16.

    The International Conference in Indianapolis in October is going to be outstanding. If you have never been, this is the year to go. Three days of information-packed professional development and more than 1,500 PR pros. Finally, I love the PRSA Counselors Academy Spring Conference in May. It is a multi-day session designed for senior agency executives and agency owners.

    #4 – What are some of your key priorities during your 2016 tenure as National Chair?

    My top priority is serving our members and working to increase the value that PRSA provides to them that is actionable in their daily career lives. That includes a number of initiatives, including growing the section communities (PRSA’s professional interest groups), working to improve the way we leverage technology to deliver programming and information, supporting the opportunities and development of new professionals, executing campaigns that have a positive impact on diversity and seeing where we can improve our governance model.

    Like any good PR pro, I realize that while I have my plans, outside circumstances may cause some re-calibration, as the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) did with its recent ruling. This could have a significant impact on many of our members and needs to be addressed.

    #5 – What is your PR pet peeve?

    Too often PR people are cutting themselves off at the knees when they are advising the C-suite by saying, “I went into PR because I hate math.”

    I think it’s more accurate that PR professionals want to make our society a better place. We arrive understanding that language and communications can advance a myriad of experiences that make our lives better, simply because we foster understanding, acceptance and consideration of innovative ideas and new perspectives. I can have a 20-minute debate with almost any PR person about the pros and cons of the Oxford comma or “over” vs. “more than.” But too many forget the language of business is numbers. If the C-suite hears you saying “I hate math,” it undermines your ability to act as a trusted, strategic adviser. This is a self-inflicted wound, and PR people need to stop saying it.

    About Mark McClennan

    Mark McClennan, APR, (@McClennan) is Chair of the PRSA National Board of Directors, the leading membership governance authority for the Association. Mark is senior vice president, social media services for MSLGROUP, based in Waltham, Mass. In his more than 18 years at MSLGROUP, Mark has led teams in a variety of industries, including consumer technology, financial services and gaming. He regularly advises clients on social media strategies and crisis management. His teams have been recognized with more than 45 awards for excellence in public relations, including five Silver Anvils. Mark has a B.A. in public relations and political science from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He is past chair of the Northeast District of PRSA and a former president of PRSA Boston.

    About FAST 5

    This is an interview feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization.