With spring 2016 among us, our chapter has experienced continual growth – both in membership, programming, and on our board -and via new value added opportunities. It’s an affable time for communicators –all the way from the south suburbs of Chicago to the St. Louis Metro East area (in Illinois) to join our PRSA- Central Illinois (PRSA-CI) chapter to learn, network, and volunteer.
In February 2016, PRSA-CI had the opportunity to expand our knowledge of social media analytics and crisis communications through speakers Joe Yun, leader of social media analytics for Technology Services at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and Nate Hartmann, chief creative strategist for Yellow Box. Yun leads the team that collects and analyzes social media content that involves UIUC and social media content produced by university employees. Hartmann worked as a consultant for the university, and has extensive expertise in combining earned, social and paid media in campaigns. Our chapter continues to recruit speakers in the digital arena, and we look forward to maximizing professional development opportunities for our event attendees.
Last month our chapter also introduced a new mentorship program among PRSA-CI members to help students, graduates or new Central Illinois residents better understand their chosen industries, to serve as a sounding board to navigate our career path and unanticipated challenges. We’re excited that several experienced and seasoned PRSA-CI members, including many of our board members, volunteered to support chapter members and become mentors. Furthermore, our chapter introduced publishing opportunities, in our newsletter, for members to summarize our events and describe what they learned and how they plan to apply it in their career. Our chapter also unveiled our new LinkedIn Group page for members to share best practices, learn about new career and development opportunities, and ask questions or share contacts.
Our chapter board has also grown in size and geographic reach. The PRSA-CI board has added three new members this year, including Stefanie Santos McLeese, CEO of Santos McLeese, L.L.C. as our chapter’s new membership chair, Elizabeth Kerns, assistant professor of communications and public relations at Olivet Nazarene University as our new communication chair, and John Wirtz, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign as a new board member.
As a chapter, our membership numbers and regional influence continue to rise. In fact, I’m very pleased to report that we have reached more than 100 followers on our PRSA-CI Facebook page! If you haven’t done so yet, please “like” our Facebook page, and learn more about industry news and upcoming events. I’m also very proud to announce our next chapter event on April 28 in Peoria will feature Jack Modzelewski, global president, business development and partnerships, and senior partner of Fleishman Hillard. You won’t want to miss this rare opportunity.
Thanks again for your continual support and involvement in our chapter, and we look forward to bringing you the best programming, speakers, venues, networking environment, and professional development opportunities throughout 2016.
Josh Kauffman, MBA, APR
System Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Hospital Sisters Health System