More energi… on Inside PR

It was a funny feeling – announcing our merger, creating a whole new energi, so to speak, and then having to rush off to Hamilton for two days; 15 hours of lectures/instruction at McMaster to a group of smart, local business people who wanted to learn about social media.

And while I enjoyed the sessions, I felt a bit dislocated being away from the action after the initial burst of merger excitement.  This week, neither Gini Dietrich nor I were able to record Inside PR. (Gini was injured on her bike but is OK; and you know about me.)

So I want to thank Joe Thornley, the other member of our triumvirate, for zooming solo and interviewing my new partners, Esther Buchsbaum and Carol Levine and giving them a chance to talk about our new venture and plans!

You can read Joe’s post or listen to Inside PR.

You’ll hear my take in podcast 2.07.


CPRS Toronto gets connected

As many of you know, I’m the president of CPRS Toronto and, if you’re in the city, I’d encourage you to attend our first fall professional development event.

It’s a panel discussion on October 15 called ‘Get Connected: Building Virtual Relationships to Expand Communications’.

It features three savvy social media strategists, Michael O’Connor Clarke, Eden Spodek and William Young, talking about how we can use social media tools to engage and connect with our communities online and in real life.

I’ll be moderating the session.

If you’re interested, here’s some information on the event. Hope to see you there.

A tale of two conferences: Counselors Academy and CPRS

I don’t usually attend two conferences in two weeks – much less two PR conferences. However, that’s what happened early in June when I twice ventured west: first for Counselors Academy in Palm Springs and then for the Canadian Public Relations Society in Vancouver.

And I thought it’s worth noting some of the similarities and differences.

Both conferences focused on social media and its application to PR; both had knowledgeable presenters and tier one keynote speakers (including Robert Stephens, Steve McKee, Brian Solis and David Suzuki – to name a few); and both had PR students live-blogging/tweeting about the events.

I personally thought having the students actively involved added a fresh energy to the events.

However, and I don’t know if this is a U.S./Canada or an agency/client thing, but the general knowledge of and enthusiasm for social media seemed less prevalent at the CPRS event. Certainly there was interest, but not the same kind of passion I witnessed from agency heads (mostly from the U.S.). Or maybe Canadians are just a bit more resistant to change.

Now, there’s no doubt Counselors is all about the agency business and, if you’re an agency principal, there’s nothing that compares to it. And, as counselors, it’s incumbent on us to be up to be on top of trends in order to offer more intelligent counsel to our clients.

I don’t have the answer to this.
I did notice that there was a lot less live tweeting at the CPRS conference; a few people were active.

But maybe it’s the small number of agencies represented (from out East, I mean). And that could be due to the economy, but I think it’s a shame that there isn’t a bigger agency president at CPRS national and Toronto.

Which begs the question: why aren’t Canadian agencies more actively engaged in CPRS? I asked my friend Scott Farrell, president of PRSA Chicago and he said they were trying to get more clients to participate; they had lots of active agency members.

And, as the president of CPRS Toronto, I throw this question out to PR folks. What would it take to make agency people want to get more involved?

A few words from the new CPRS Toronto president

As many of you know, I recently became president of CPRS Toronto. This was not the result of any astute political campaigning or soon-to-be-broken promises, but part of the regular succession process (I was first VP).

I’m excited to be taking the reins of the organization – one that I believe in – at a time when I think we’re at a crossroads in profession (both economically and in its practice). I feel there’s a strong opportunity for CPRS Toronto to really become a leader in combining social media with traditional PR, something I talk about in my first prez’s message.

But it’s not up to me alone and I look forward to hearing from members with their thoughts and ideas about how to achieve this.

I also wanted to let you know that from time to time, I will be highlighting CPRS Toronto events and programs (not that I haven’t in the past).

And I would like to thank past president Lawrence Stevenson for his vision, passion and commitment to the organization. Big shoes to fill, Lawrence (and I don’t mean that literally).

Thank you

A couple of weeks ago, I had the honour of receiving the CPRS Toronto Mentor of the Year award.

That meant a great deal to me. I have always believed that senior practitioners should share their knowledge, experience and networks with young people entering the profession.

There are many ways to do this including information interviews, lending your time to speak at PR programs (or grading resumes…), or signing up for the CPRS Mentorship program which pairs mentors and proteges. (I hate that word, but you can’t say ‘mentee’).

As I said that evening, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have met and had the opportunity to get to know some really smart and talented people including Kristen Marano, Parker Mason and Erick Bauer. And I truly feel I’ve learned as much or more from them than they’ve learned from me.

So… before I need a tissue, I’ll just close with a heartfelt thanks.

Plug: Giovanni Rodriguez speaking at CPRS Toronto event

On November 7, Palette PR (my agency) and CPRS Toronto are pleased to present Giovanni Rodriguez, who will be at The Spoke Club in Toronto delivering a talk entitled, ‘Why We Call it Public Relations’ – PR and its role in social media.

If you’re interested in more information or to registerfor the event, please visit CPRS Toronto.

But there are a limited number of spaces, so as they used to say in K-Tel ads, ‘don’t delay’.

Hope to see you there.