Advancing Our Journey

 As CPRS National President, I’ve had the honour of representing our association across Canada and internationally since last year’s annual general meeting adjourned. Without question, this year has been a remarkable one filled with a huge vista of possibilities, unforeseen challenges and opportunities and most importantly, literally hundreds of people across the country offering their support, time and talent to create a stronger CPRS for the future. The old adage “leave something better than when you found it” springs to mind and, as I had an extraordinary vantage point as President, I can say with confidence that we did just that resulting in tremendous accomplishments in 2018 – 2019.  

And what’s the one thing that stands out above the rest as a key contributor to our success?  Our outstanding members who give tirelessly, serve passionately and are committed to pitch in to continually “up our game” and increase our level of professionalism through world-class thought leadership and ethical values.  To me, ensuring relevancy and making real connections with like-minded people while making a significant contribution for others to enjoy and build on is very important. Well, thanks to each one of you for your CPRS membership and robust volunteerism, you’ve made it happen.

Setting the Stage
To kick things off, the National Board used the Strategic Framework as our cornerstone.  We built on all of the incredible research and engagement work undertaken by the Future of CPRS Committee to create:
  • A Strategic Planning Task Force with representatives from across the country to engage with key stakeholders and develop a three-year, CPRS Strategic Plan (2019-2021). Additionally, a three-year operational work plan was developed, including detailed tactics and metrics.  The Strategic Plan will be launched in Edmonton at our AGM on June 16, so I invite you to join us and help us celebrate all of our accomplishments over the past year
  • We launched the Atlantic Exploratory Task Force to lead the development of the three-year Atlantic Pilot, which will identify and test new support models to effectively sustain local societies while enhancing our member experience
A Year in Review
A significant change this past year was the successful transition to a new association management firm and the recruitment of a new Executive Director.  In addition to this foundational work, we continued to advance the four strategic goals: Community, Collaboration, Careers and Conscience.

We strengthened the CPRS Community by:
  • Promoting the new “Student Membership” category, and welcoming 360 national student members, including 88 new student members made possible from our partnership with Mount Saint Vincent University.
  • Launching a new national website in July 2018
  • Conducting a comprehensive member survey
  • Launching of 2 new National Awards categories – Entrepreneurship and Research Awards
  • Explored new retention and recruitment strategies to build a strong and vibrant national membership
We focused on increased Collaboration by:
  • Successfully hosting the 2018 National Conference in PEI
  • Presenting a cross-Canada Professional Development session: “Staying Strong: Crisis management lessons learned in the midst of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy” attracting 252 participants in 6 locations
  • Enhancing collaboration with local societies (in particular, Atlantic, Ottawa and Quebec)
We supported our members’ Careers by:
  • Delivering 18 national webinars, engaging close to 1,000 participants (271 real time and 659 on-demand)
  •  Improving our Job Board
And, we were guided by our Conscience through:
  • Acquiring a philanthropic arm for CPRS by welcoming the Communications + Public Relations Foundation (pending approval from Foundation membership at June AGM); enabling thought leadership, education and scholarships
  • Examining CPRS Governance including developing streamlined Committee Structure and harassment policy (in support of #MeToo Movement)
It’s an impressive list representing countless volunteer hours from CPRS members with support from our national office team. If you haven’t already, make sure to reach out and welcome our new Executive Director, Tyler Callaghan. Of course, welcoming a new team meant we had to say goodbye to colleagues who’ve been part of the CPRS family for many years. Please join me in expressing our deep gratitude and heartfelt thanks to Karen Dalton, for her dedication and commitment to CPRS as Executive Director, offering expertise and guidance for more than 17 years.  We also extend sincerest thanks and best wishes to Elizabeth Tang and Lorianne Weston, for their work behind the scenes at the national office supporting our members and volunteers on various committees.   

In closing, I’d also like to thank CPRS National Board Directors Jane Adams, APR and Everett Martin who have completed their terms. On behalf of the CPRS membership, we thank you for your service. Special appreciation to the National Office staff, the Presidents of our 14 local societies and the hundreds of passionate volunteers who support the work of our Society at the local level. The CPRS community includes some of the most inspiring individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure to work alongside.

For the last 70 years, the Canadian Public Relations Society has proudly advocated for the highest professional standards and thanks to everyone’s hard work to lay crucial groundwork over the years, we’re well-positioned to continue our tradition to 2021 and beyond.

Thanks for your support over the past year.  We couldn’t have done it without you!

Dana Dean, APR, FCPRS, LM