April President’s Message: Virtual Programs, Va. PR Awards Update

April greetings, PRSA Richmond members.

Last month, I wrote with eager anticipation for PRSA Richmond’s planned Spring events. Within days, a fast-developing health pandemic halted any notion of that happening. While I’ve missed seeing you around PRSA, I hope you are taking good care of yourself, good care of your family, and good care of everyone around you.

PRSA Richmond Goes Virtual

On March 12, PRSA Richmond’s executive committee made a quick but unanimous decision to suspend all in-person chapter events for the month. This included the March lunch program, as well as a professional development workshop on speechwriting. In response, PRSA Richmond is ramping up its virtual meeting capabilities, signing on with Zoom to offer future programming. This will include shifting the April and May lunch programs from in-person events to online programs.

In reality, some events are just better done in-person. This includes the Spring Happy Hour, which had been scheduled for April 21. Once our local, state and national leaders have deemed it safe once again for large group gatherings, we will announce a rescheduled chapter Happy Hour. It will be nice to see everyone, once again!

Virginia PR Awards Update

This also leads to the Virginia Public Relations Awards. For those of you who submitted entries, your entries are being judged! This also includes the nominations for the Thomas Jefferson Award and Rising Star Award. We hope to soon notify winners.

With stay-at-home guidelines in Virginia now extended until June 10, our in-person Virginia PR Awards banquet on May 20 at the Jefferson Hotel cannot take place. We are considering alternatives, including hosting a virtual awards event this spring, or rescheduling the awards event at the Jefferson Hotel in Fall 2020. In one way, shape or form, the Virginia PR awards will take place, in a format that will best serve our chapter.

We soon will be sharing news and updates on some exciting programming, so stay tuned!

Time to “Up-Skill”

If you’re like me, you’ve probably noticed an up-tick on webinar and online learning opportunities. I’ve signed up for my fair share, through PRSA and other groups I follow. In one webinar, the speaker encouraged that we use this time to “up-skill” and offer to take on new tasks (outside of your everyday job tasks) to help fill needs at work. PRSA National offers some great opportunities to “up-skill.” There are many, so check them out:

  • COVID-19 Crisis Communications Resources:  PRSA has compiled a collection of resources that may be helpful to PRSA members in ongoing communication planning. These include recorded webinars and courses, as well as blog posts and articles. Among these is a webinar on April 30: “It’s Only a Crisis if You Panic!” Check back often, as this site likely will be updated with more online offerings!
  • On-Demand Courses and Online Certificates: These vary in cost and duration, but topics include writing with AP style, developing integrated communications plans, PESO, media relations best practices, measurement and analytics, and others.
  • Webinars:  These are FREE to PRSA members. Topics include crisis communications, brand strategy and communications, PR measurement tools, writing for news media, brainstorming techniques, and more.

New Chapter Member

With membership, we have one new member in March: Sarah Prevost, a young professional and a 2018 graduate of JMU. Sarah, welcome to PRSA Richmond! The connections you will make here, and learning you will benefit from this year, will be helpful in your career path.

Follow Us on Social Media

Please remember to follow and participate in the chapter’s social media sites:

We’re all in this together, and we’re all trying to figure it out. We all are doing our part to flatten the COVID-19 curve. Let’s continue to pray for those on the front lines of this pandemic, and for some positive effects soon.

In the meantime, stay safe, and stay smart.

Windy Campbell
2020 PRSA Richmond chapter president