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From the Frontlines @2019ICON

Janelle Guthrie, APR, Fellow PRSA
Suzanne Hartman, APR, Fellow PRSA
Cindy Sharpe, APR

SAN DIEGO – The 2019 PRSA International Conference has been anything but dull! Prior to the “official” start of the Conference, there is lots that goes on in the background. PRSSA members meet and have their own professional development sessions; new Chapter Leaders receive a day-long Leadership Development Rally; and PRSA’s elected Delegates attend a day-long Leadership Assembly session, which basically is the Business Meeting part of the International Conference.


Left to Right: Cindy Sharpe, APR; Janelle Guthrie, APR, Fellow PRSA; Suzanne Hartman, APR, Fellow PRSA

The Puget Sound Chapter has three elected Delegates who serve a term of three years and may serve two terms. Chapter Delegates are Accredited Public Relations (APR) members as provided in the Chapter’s Bylaws. The number of Delegates allocated to a Chapter depends on the number of members in each Chapter. Some years we have had four Delegates – but typically, it is three Delegate positions. The President of the Chapter usually serves as the fourth Delegate, if we need another representative.

Here is how PRSA has defined who is a Delegate:

1 per Section (Chair)
1 per District (Chair)
1 for the College of Fellows (Chair)
1 for PRSSA (PRSSA president)
1 for Canadian members (as appointed by CPRS)
1 per 100 members or fraction thereof for each Chapter
1 per 100 members or fraction thereof who are out side the US and Canada (Delegate(s)-at-large) ** 1 per 100 members or fraction thereof who are US members not in a Chapter’s area
** International Delegate(s)-at-large

** Delegates are nominated by the Nominating Committee

At the start of the meeting on Saturday morning, Oct. 19, the Parliamentarian certified that there were 279 possible Delegates. The actual number present (and with electronic voting devices) was 235 (187 in person and 48 proxies).

We heard reports on:

  • State of PRSA – the report will be posted the week of Oct. 21

  • A discussion on the three-year Strategic Plan – available online (includes objectives for recruiting and retaining members from a younger demographic; enhancing the digital capabilities of the organization; and a greater emphasis on

  • representing the public relations and communication industry on factual and ethical communications); and expanding efforts on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI).

  • Financial position (Treasurer Report) – overall revenues are down slightly and expenses are down substantially, leaving a positive year-end balance)

  • Officer and Board candidates were presented to the Delegates and the slate was adopted

  • Three resolutions were discussed and voted on:

    • Res. 1901 amending the Charter for PRSA National to conform to current New York State law and make the language more contemporary. Very little discussion. The motion passed 172/3

    • Res. 1902 amending the Bylaws for PRSA National to conform to current New York State law and make the language more contemporary. Very little discussion. The motion passed 196/2

    • Res. 1903 would have returned the power of selecting Officer candidates to the Nominating Committee, rather than selections made by the sitting Board of Directors. Our Chapter voted “Yes” on this Resolution after discussion with the Chapter Board of Directors and a recommendation by Chapter Delegates. There was lively discussion pro and con – with about six or so speakers on both sides of the issue. The motion failed (it required a 2/3’s majority in order to pass)

              99 Yes/122 No.

Fortunately, we did not have the technology glitches with the voting devices that we had last year.

We then adjourned into a Town Hall discussion where a wide variety of issues important to PR Professionals were discussed. A good discussion of how vital PRSA support is to Military Communicators; and a robust discussion of how PRSA is addressing issues around DEI.

It was a full day. The three of us are grateful for the opportunity to represent the Puget Sound Chapter and hope that if you have any questions you will reach out to us. Thank you.

Janelle Guthrie (360) 561-4184 | [email protected]
Cindy Sharpe (813) 244-2883 | [email protected]
Suzanne Hartman (206) 619-5899 | [email protected]

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