Tag Archives: CPRS

Speed Networking – A look inside PR 360

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On April 7, the CPRS Toronto Student Steering Committee (SSC) hosted their last event of the 2015/2016 school year, which took place at the Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto. A total of 72 public relations students from across the GTA attended the event, which allows small groups of students to intimately sit with professionals from a variety of public relations sectors.

Of course, the hot topic of the night for students was internships. They sought out advice on how to be exceptional during the internship hiring season and how to better their chances at landing their dream job.  In additional to these useful tips, the participating professionals shared additional industry insights.

At the Finance table, Laurrell Mohammed, Corporate and Public Affairs Manager at TD Bank Group, stressed the importance of being able to “sell yourself” in an interview. David Rowney, Senior Manager of Canadian Banking Communications at Scotiabank, added that volunteering for your choice company is a good place to start.

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Mike Van Soelen, Senior Principal from Navigator Ltd., seated at the Crisis Communications table, defined the process of building media relationships as “tricky” and explaining the importance of developing thick skin. While Vice President of NATIONAL PR, Jeff Roman, and NATIONAL PR Associate, Laura Poplak, advised that students should consider how to help the media you’re working with, and to offer them your support.

In the Government session Keerthana Kamalavasan, Senior Communications Advisor for the Office of the Mayor, recommended letting your coworkers know which projects you’re especially interested in and making yourself invaluable. Brendan Agnew-Iler, Account Director from Argyle Public Relationships, gave the students wise words to ponder whilst pursuing a career in PR: “If you’re not failing sometimes, you’re not trying hard enough.”

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From left to right: Lauren Poplak, Brian Rosevear, Linda Andross, Tracy Ford, Dan Young, Jeff Roman, Mike Van Soelen, David Rowney, Laurrell Mohammed, Abby Albino, Brendan Agnew-Iler, Christine Faulhaber, Jeanette Jones, Sandra Gregory, Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski, Jennifer Wasley, Samantha Taus, Ogho Ikhalo and Keerthana Kamalavasan

 The event showcased the range of positions in which public relations students could find themselves in their future. Other sectors included in the event were Consumer/Corporate, Global/Mid-size Agency, Non-Profit, Sports, Entertainment and Hospitality. Following the table discussions, attendees were free to mingle, network and try to glean final bits of crucial advice.

Not only was the night a fantastic chance to meet professionals, but it also provided a great opportunity to connect with other PR students entering the field. The SSC will be back in September for another great year of student-focused events.

It is a wonderful time to be in public relations and good luck to all the students this year heading into the industry!

Elyse Carney is a representative on the SSC currently attending Durham College.

Passport to PR’s Shaw Media, Paradigm PR and FleishmanHillard Sessions

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Group A visits the Shaw Media, Paradigm PR and FleishmanHillard offices

Battling spring showers and Toronto traffic, we arrived unscathed and (fairly) dry at one of Toronto’s communications hot spots – Bloor Street. We were set to meet and explore three diverse and equally awesome communications and PR organizations: Shaw Media, Paradigm PR and FleishmanHillard.

We heard it all from the Shaw Media crew

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First up on the list, Shaw Media. Right from the start the team had our group laughing and well caffeinated. We learned that a day in the life of a Shaw Media communicator is always varied. From organizing media tours for Chopped Canada’s Brad Smith to establishing their talent as subject matter experts to sending Supergirl capes across the country, Shaw Media communicators are constantly on the move. The team also gave some great advice for any PR and communications student looking for their first internship.

“Be resourceful and people will remember you.” – Jacqui, Senior Publicist for Global

“Volunteer inside of your organization to meet new people and expand your professional network.” – April, Publicity Coordinator for Food Network Canada

As for the golden rule of media relations, Greg, Associate Publicist, told students to be “100 per cent reliable, 100 per cent of the time.”

Paradigm PR gives us a glimpse into agency life

Next up on our route, Paradigm PR, a creative consumer PR agency. After introductions and Timbits we saw a number of client case studies. A favourite was definitely the media relations for Toy “R” Us’ ‘Chief Play Officer’ (every child’s dream job).

Johnathon, an intern turned account coordinator, went on to describe the variety of accounts he gets to work on, and the challenges he faced when transitioning from school to work. Anticipating what’s next in agency life can be difficult, as you’re moving top speed (almost) all the time. He credits attention to detail and meeting last minute requests as a sure way to build great relationships inside and outside your agency.

The Paradigm PR team also stressed the importance of company culture fit. Do your research, ask for informational interviews and find out as much as you can about the dynamic, clients and day-to-day rhythm of the agency. When you know the company culture you’ll know if it’s the right place for you to thrive.

Johnathon’s parting words of wisdom, “Be hungry.”

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FleishmanHillard introduces us to the diversity of PR

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FleishmanHillard greeted the group with a number of faces from across different practices and various levels. From associate consultant to senior partner, the presentation was full of interesting insight into FleishmanHillard and the communications industry itself. The unanimous decision from the FleishmanHillard team, agency is the right place to “earn your chops”, build your professional network and gain exposure to many different elements of the industry.

We saw sizzle reels from consumer brands such as Uncle Ben’s Beginners, which leveraged influencer Logan Guleff (MasterChef Junior winner) to get more kids in the kitchen. We also learned about their work with Bayer, a healthcare company, for a completely different take on communications. The campaign was creative in building community around “Hemophilia Champions.” Without direct mention of the brand in any of the communications, it was all about relationship building between stakeholders.

One of the best pieces of advice we learned from FleishmanHillard: take a shot; initiative goes a long way.

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Until next year

Passport to PR was an amazing introduction into the very busy lives of PR and communications professionals. The candid conversations, exposures to real client work and bits of wisdoms from so many talented professionals were extremely valuable. If you get the chance to join a CPRS Passport to PR group, don’t hesitate. It’s a learning experience that you cannot find in any classroom at school.

To see more photos of the event and other locations click here: http://on.fb.me/1YRX3Pa 

Written by Sarah Rogers, Centennial (Story Arts Centre) PR Post-Graduate Certificate Program student and representative on the Student Steering Committee

 

 

What truly makes a gold submission?

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ACE Awards Judge, Lauren More, answers that question and shares her insights on the qualities of a gold winning submission

Taking the leap to judging the CPRS Toronto Ace Awards was a natural next step for Lauren More, VP Communications for Ford of Canada. Her six years of judging allowed her to see some of the freshest and most creative campaigns across industries. From helping run the CPRS Toronto mentoring program to ACE Awards judging, Lauren sees volunteering as her way of supporting the communications field.

Lauren shares her insight into creating an award-winning submission with this year’s crop of ACE award applicants:

The most popular categories

While ACE award judges typically judge on a variety of different categories, there are some categories that receive far more entries and are more competitive to place.

“It’s very competitive because it’s kind of the meat and potatoes of a lot of what we do as communicators,” said Lauren. “But the other area that has certainly just expanded exponentially is the social media category.”

The social media category, in particular, has some of the most creative submissions she’s seen.

The most standout campaigns

Lauren notes that often the most memorable and effective campaigns are the ones where “maybe it’s not the sexiest product or the sexiest point of view or the sexiest issue to grab awareness for”. Yet with a creative approach, these campaigns gained a ton of media attention.

While there are some topics that are naturally going to be of more interest to the media, the campaigns she’s enjoyed over the years are the ones where the brand really has to work at it to find something that would be meaningful to their audience.

The challenges to creativity

While it’s increasingly challenging, to come up with new ideas and new approaches, Lauren concedes sometimes there are periods where budgets have been a lot tighter.

“You have to do a lot more with a lot less,” she said, “And you’re still expected to deliver the same type of results – so I think that’s really pushed the level of creativity.”

The ability to sit back

It comes to no surprise that most communicators rarely have time to slow their everyday pace. Lauren explained the ACE Awards provide that perfect evening to do just that with your team and reflect back on your best work.

“We tend to in our jobs and our field to run pretty fast and run pretty hard.” she said, “And I think it’s really worthwhile to stop and take a breath now and then. To acknowledge the work and commitment we put in.”

There are certain things that separate excellence in our field. Lauren believes it’s important as a profession to both recognize and celebrate that.

The extra “oomph”

Key to winning best in show or taking home gold in any given category, Lauren emphasizes the consistency throughout the RACE formula steps. Some of the best submissions, in her opinion took the following measures:

  • The research connects well with the analysis
  • The analysis connects well to the communications tactics
  • A solid evaluation of the results

If you research well you understand what you’re trying to achieve with a communications program. Those winning gold and best in show have that extra dose of creativity, she said.

Lauren also notes past campaigns resonated with people – their key audience – and they told a story, a really good story and “they have that little extra oomph to them.”

Written by: Jessica Chong, Account Coordinator, High Road Communicatons

Taking home the top CPRS Toronto ACE Award

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“And the 2015 Public Relations Campaign of the Year goes to Weber Shandwick and McDonald’s Canada McCafé Retail Launch.”

On May 20, 2015, the Weber Shandwick team jumped out of their seats and congratulated one another as their McDonald’s client walked on stage to accept the most prestigious ACE award of the night.

The Work Behind Winning

When asked to reflect on the agency’s big achievement and what it was like to compete in the ACE Awards, Jessica Greasley, account director from Weber Shandwick, stepped up to the opportunity.

In September 2014, Weber Shandwick devised a communications plan for McCafé’s first ever grocery launch. The essence of the communication plan focused on driving awareness of the retail launch to both consumers and the business sector.

Weber Shandwick demonstrated how the brand was innovative and appealed to a younger demographic through their campaign’s creative strategies and tactics. The global agency also took risks to try something new with Songza and the McDonald’s Canada internal team embraced this opportunity to engage their younger audience on a new digital platform. Greasley also explained how the agency’s partnership with the McDonald’s team also fueled the campaign’s success.

The ACE Awards Submission

The submission was comprehensive.

“All of the components in the submission emphasized how the campaign’s strategies tied directly back to the company’s business objectives.”

Greasley also noted the submission’s careful attention to distinguishing how their results matched their initial objectives and goals, which was instrumental to ensuring the campaign stood out. She even identified how showcasing the large scope of the campaign combined with the business and consumer phases and the planning and timing layout were key aspects of the submission.

In terms of advice to agencies developing their submission for the 2016 ACE Awards Greasley said, “Provide a good understanding of the insights that led to the approach. Having clear targets, and how you measured against it will make help the judges understand why it’s award-worthy.”

The Best In Show Presentation

With only 15 minutes to present in front of the judges, the team selected critical parts of the campaign to prove why it was deserving of the top award.

Their presentation communicated why the McCafé Retail launch should receive the prestigious award by:

  • Demonstrating a strong understanding of the company’s audience and brand image
  • Highlighting the agency’s thought process and initial research that was conducted to tailor the campaign’s objectives
  • Showcasing innovative strategies such as the Songza partnership and proving why it was chosen to effectively reach McCafé’s younger audience
  • Explaining the media relations strategy behind the campaign and timing it with International Coffee Day, which engaged consumers and garnered an overwhelming and successful amount of media coverage

The Importance of Celebrating the Public Relations and Communications Industry

After finding out the campaign surpassed Weber Shandwick’s targets (and stretch targets!) the team was confident that it was a strong contender to compete within the ACE Awards. “It was a great honour for the company and client,” said Greasly. Especially since McDonald’s has had a long standing partnership with the agency. Greasly also mentioned “it was all hands on deck”. Everyone from the agency contributed to the campaign and award.

Greasley informed me the agency is currently assembling their application for the ACE awards again this year, “As an industry, it’s definitely important to submit and recognize the great work that’s being done by communications professionals. Wishing all this year’s submissions the best of luck!”

To learn more about the campaign watch this video

Jessica Greasley LinkedIn

Follow Weber Shandwick @WSCanada

Written by: Alessandra Manieri, Post-Graduate Student, Humber College

 

Judging the ACE Awards, a researcher’s perspective

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Friday February 26 is the deadline to submit to this year’s ACE Awards and returning judge, Lisa Covens, vice president of communications and public affairs at Leger, discussed her marking style and approach to judging this year’s campaigns.

Before stepping up as a judge, Lisa would attend the ACE Awards to support the clients who used Leger and the research they conducted for the award winning campaigns. When the opportunity came up to be one of the esteemed ACE judges, Lisa took it and started doing something she had never done before.

Lisa shared with us her strategy to marking submissions and to help prepare this year’s hopeful campaigns. Here are some highlights from her interview:

On her judging approach

“My focus will be on the RACE formula.” Research and evaluation jump at her the most.

On what makes a campaign stand out

“Today, campaigns are now so integrated – videos and visuals – which allow people to be very inclusive in their submission. Not only is the winning campaign sharp, but there’s something special about them. It is supported with research, includes creativity, success was measured and explained and overall well-executed.”

On the importance of submitting to the ACE Awards

As a returning judge for the third year in a row, Lisa listed why it is important to submit to recognitions awards such as CPRS Toronto’s ACE Awards:

  • Keeps public relations professionals on top of their game throughout the year
  • This isn’t done in market research so this a an opportunity worth taking advantage of
  • Provides a good reflection on the campaign – when summarizing a submission it makes you think of the campaign from beginning to end
  • Outline and learn from the issues encountered
  • And of course, recognition is always a good thing

On one piece advice for this year’s submissions

“It’s a shame when we mark a submission and it’s so creative and clear but misses a part of the requirements. Doing that will take you out of the running for the gold.”

TIP: Ask someone, who was not part of the campaign, to review the guideline and checklist. Ensure all the components are included because anything can be overlooked and the missing section will be marked with a zero.

On what she is looking forward too

“One aspect of the ACE Awards I really enjoy is the Best In Show judging day. That day, candidates are on top on their game. You get to witness great presenters and great speakers. I take away so much and I even receive insight on how to be a better presenter. It is such an inspiring night.”

One last thing: “Keep up the great work!”

 

Follow Lisa Covens on Twitter: @lisacovens

 

Submission deadline is this Friday February 26. Submit your campaigns here.

Written by Charzie Abendanio, Humber College BPR Student and CPRS Toronto’s Student Steering Committee President

9 tips for your new blog

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Now that it’s the New Year maybe, just maybe, you’ve thought about starting your own blog.

Every semester in University of Toronto’s Digital Strategy & Communications Management Certificate (#digitaledu), my colleagues (@DonnaPapacosta @AlisonGJ @EdenSpodek) and I experience blogging for the first time with an incredibly diverse group of individuals looking to expand their respective digital footprints.

From what you should know about Scotch tasting to what a Breatharian is (exactly as it sounds), the breadth of topics adds so much to my cocktail party conversations. Really.

Everyone has a unique story and blogging is the ideal outlet to reflect just that.

As consumers of content, online navigation is now intuitive for most of us, but ironically that sometimes doesn’t translate to when we become publishers of our own content.

So, here are a few things often overlooked when starting a blog:

  1. Add a few categories for navigation, then use as many tags as make sense. Simplicity is always best and that hierarchical view of a few categories and tags makes it easier to follow.
  2. Add a search bar. Often overlooked, it will make it so much easier for your readers to find content or go back to something read previously.
  3. Have an “About” page with a picture and at least your first name. Also include a way to get a hold of you, whether through a form or an email. It gives me more of a connection as a reader.
  4. Include a call to action at the bottom of your posts. Do you want me to offer my opinion or share a picture of how your recipe turned out when I made it? Then ask me to do that.
  5. Don’t assume I’ve read all your previous posts. Create each piece of content as standalone and incorporate your other previous content as makes sense.
  6. Hyperlink your text with relevant content within your post. Make it easy to check out that quirky store by having your text obviously linking to it and not as a footnote or with full URL text.
  7. Embed everything else. Videos, tweets, Soundcloud recordings and anything else that has embed code available to publish should be used. It’s a legit way to add interest.
  8. Capture me in your first few words. Write a headline that tells my exactly what I’ll get. Cryptic magazine-like headlines don’t work but phrases I Google do.
  9. Keep it succinct and make it appealing to consume. While there’s a place for long form online, most of your content could be 300-500 words with subheads, bullets and pictures.

Anyone can blog and its success really comes from a willingness to constantly evolve it.

Are you a member who wants to blog for CPRS Toronto? Drop us a line.

Presidents’ Message: Happy Holidays

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Before the calendar turns a page and we head into a new year, we wanted to update members on a number of exciting developments and to look ahead to a few things that are planned for 2016.

Congratulations to College of Fellows Inductees

On December 2, six public relations professionals were inducted into the CPRS College of Fellows, including three members from the Toronto Society : Maryjane Martin APR, FCPRS LM, Krys Potapczyk APR, FCPRS, and Deborah Trouten APR, ICD.D, FCPRS. All three inductees are long-time CPRS Toronto members with both Maryjane and Krys being current members of the Board. The College of Fellows recognizes CPRS members who have made significant contributions to public relations and are proven leaders in their communities and profession. Congratulations to Maryjane, Krys and Deborah and thank you for all that you have done to enhance the practice of public relations!

Welcome to New Board Members

In November, the Toronto Society welcomed two new members to our Board, Jenny Shin, President and CEO, Milestones Public Relations, and Erica Silver, APR Director, National Media Relations and Corporate Communications, Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc. We are all grateful to Jenny and Erica for giving of their time and expertise to help CPRS Toronto move forward with our plans for the year ahead.

Survey of Journalists

Working hand-in-hand with journalists is a core part of public relations. But how much formalized (and current) research has actually been done to understand how journalists want to work with PR practitioners? CPRS Toronto wants to change that. We’ve entered into a partnership with Leger and CNW Group to survey journalists across the country. The survey is currently in market, with plans to present the findings to members and the broader PR community in the coming months.

World PR Forum

As you have likely heard by now, the World PR Forum is being held in Toronto from May 29-31, 2016. This event is a unique opportunity to meet, network and learn from communicators from around the world. The theme of this year’s conference is Communications Across Cultures, which recognizes the importance of effective communication across diverse cultures and the increasingly global nature of our work. Registration is open – we hope to see you there!

Given the ambitious plan that the Board has put forward for the year and the opportunities provided by the World PR Forum, we have decided to forego the CEO of the Year Award in 2016. Instead, we will spend the year evaluating the program, taking feedback from members, and focusing our efforts on enhancing member value through initiatives like the survey of journalists and other professional development and networking events. With that in mind, please do not hesitate to contact any Board member with suggestions or feedback.

We hope that you have an opportunity to spend time with those who are important to you over the holidays and that you come back recharged for what promises to be an exciting year ahead. Happy holidays!

Jeff Rohrer and Diane Bégin

Passport to PR: Opening Doors for Aspiring PR Practitioners

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Quotes

If attending this event isn’t on your to-do list, you should definitely add it.  The positive real life discussions helped reinforce my decision about whether or not a public relations career is right for me.

I had the opportunity to visit and learn from the communications professionals of three very different organizations: Veritas Communications, Google Canada and the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

Each organization demonstrated unique approaches to public relations and provided specific examples of what they did for their clients/organization.

At Veritas, the team discussed how they helped launch Target’s entrance into the Canadian market. The presentation allowed us to hear firsthand the challenges and successes that were encountered. The demanding yet exciting environment is exactly why agencies appeals to many aspiring PR professionals. This type of organization seems to keep you on your toes with no day similar to another.

Google’s Alexandra Hunnings, gave a very powerful presentation. Alexandra spoke freely in an informal conversation about the world of PR through the eyes of Google, which was truly amazing and inspiring to hear. Three key takeaways were Nurture, Own and Follow Through. My visit to Google taught me that not everyone is going to be good at everything but identifying your strengths and weaknesses will help mould you into successful communicator.

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Matthew Kofsky, from Toronto Region Board of Trade, spoke to us about the importance of getting experience. Specifically, not just experience to land a job, but rather experience that will help you grow as an individual and help you to become a better person in all aspects of life.

This was my second year participating in Passport to PR and it gets better every year. This event allows students to meet industry professionals who give great insight into their organization and productive career advice. Additionally, participants can learn what its like to work in public relations outside of the classroom. After completing one session after the other you feel inspired, motivated and excited to tackle and succeed as a public relations professional.

The CPRS Toronto Student Steering Committee will be holding another Passport to PR event will be held in March 2016. Hope to see all of you there!

By: Tysha Campbell, CPRS Student Steering Committee student representative for Centennial College’s Bachelor of Public Relations Management program.

CPRS Toronto Student Steering Committee Profile: Seneca, Durham and Ryerson

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Get to know our 2015/2016 student representatives from Seneca College, Durham College and Ryerson University.

We’ll be introducing the rest of our student representatives right here on the blog in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

 

 Erika

Erika Manassis

Seneca College, Public Relations-Corporate Communications

My name’s Erika and I represent Seneca College on the SSC. I am a recent Queen’s University graduate (Cha Gheill!), but reside in the GTA. I’m currently taking the post-graduate program in public relations and communications. This is my first year working with CPRS, and I already love how many opportunities for engagement the Toronto chapter has to offer.

What are you most excited for this year?

As a student representative, I have the unique opportunity to both plan and participate in student events, so I’m looking forward to seeing behind-the-scenes of CPRS. I’ve also gotten to know an amazing group of PR students at Seneca, and I can’t wait to get them all involved in upcoming events, workshops and social events through CPRS!

What do you do outside of school?

When I’m not studying communications, you’ll find me listening to podcasts (especially Freakonomics, Question of the Day and Stuff to Blow Your Mind), cooking Thai food, and blogging about public relations on my work-in-progress site MyPRJourney.weebly.com.

Tell us something unexpected about yourself

I like being organized, and hate feeling rushed, so I do my Christmas gift shopping every August.

Connect with Erika:

Twitter: @emanassis

LinkedIn: ca.linkedin.com/in/erikamanassis

Elyse

Elyse Carney
Durham College, Advanced Diploma for Public Relations

I’m Elyse Carney, and I am the CPRS SSC rep for Durham College’s Advanced Diploma in Public Relations. The past few months for me have been all about learning the foundation of PR. Over this next year, I’m looking forward to networking with students and professionals, as well as attending events such as Passport to PR. Outside of school, I love to write, and try to live a healthy, active lifestyle.

Fun fact about myself? I love to cook!

Connect with Elyse:

Twitter: @elyse_carney

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/pub/elyse-carney/105/974/791

Jamie

Jamie Jensen
Ryerson University, Public Relations Certificate

Hi Everyone! My name is Jamie and I’m representing Ryerson’s PR certificate program on the CPRS Student Steering Committee this year. As someone new to the program, we are limited to taking “Public Relations Principles” (CDPR 100) in the first semester as it is a prerequisite for all other courses in our program. That being said, it’s off to a great start. Our professor is fantastic and I find the material interesting.

What are you most excited for this year?
I’m very excited to meet and connect with fellow future PR professionals across the GTA through the many exciting events planned for this year. I’m particularly looking forward to Passport to PR later this month, as it will be a fantastic opportunity to gain firsthand insight into the industry.

What do you do outside of school?
Having recently moved to Toronto, I spend a lot of time exploring the city. I also love hiking, scuba diving, travelling and practicing yoga.

Tell us something unexpected about yourself:
I spent 6 months last year living in Sweden.

And the new year starts

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On September 24, CPRS Toronto both wrapped up its previous year with an AGM and launched a new year with its open house.

This year we’re doing things a little differently in that we have two presidents sharing the task.

We know it will be a busy year, so a few weeks ago, the board met to strategize for the coming year.

Here are four of the highlights.

 1. Membership

  • Our plan includes a focus on membership, including retention. A great membership perk that was added at National in the last year was Perkopolis. You’ll get access to hotel, Via, events, Cineplex discounts and so much more – all for free under your membership.

 2. Member communications

  • Increasing the amount of content on our site that’s relevant to PR practitioners is a priority, including having an e-newsletter every month.
  • Of course, we’re always looking for content so if you’d like to be a contributor, please be sure to send a note to communications@cprstoronto.com.

3. Professional development

 4.  Global Alliance Conference

  • And in May 2016, CPRS Toronto in conjunction with CPRS Hamilton is hosting Communication Across Cultures.
  • It’s the first time that the Global Alliance for PR is hosting their international conference in Canada, right here at the Westin Harbourfront Hotel in Toronto.
  • So mark your calendars for May 29-31, 2016 when we’ll host the world. A number of keynote speakers and workshop sessions are planned.
  • We’ll also be working closely with CPRS National to find speakers and volunteers for the event. Watch for more details coming soon!

As we launch into the new year, we have an open invitation to all members. We are all volunteers, and we need the energy, ideas and enthusiasm our members to be successful. Drop any of the board members a line if you are considering becoming a member of the board or volunteering.

And here’s to a great year!

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Diane Bégin and Jeff Rohrer, CPRS Toronto 2016/17 co-presidents