Trying to Make PRSA a Democratic Organization

by Sandra Fathi on May 10, 2010

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Many of you know that I am an ardent supporter of PRSA. I have been a member and an active volunteer in PRSA for many years. I am the immediate Past-President of PRSA’s Technology Section and I’m currently President-Elect for PRSA’s New York Chapter. The organization has contributed tremendously to my professional growth, for industry networking and for providing advocacy and support for the PR profession. What many members may not know is that in order to serve as a national officer and board member for PRSA, you must be Accredited in Public Relations (APR) by PRSA. Less than 20% of PRSA members are accredited meaning that 80% of the 21,000 members cannot become PRSA leaders unless they choose to become APR.

I’ve joined a committee of PR leaders that do not believe that democracy is being served in PRSA so long as only a small minority of its members can hold elective office. We believe that many worthy members of PRSA who meet national leadership criteria in many other ways are being deprived of the opportunity to serve the organization. We’ve started a petition to remove this requirement and allow all members to serve and shape the organization. If you’d like to sign our petition, or learn more, please visit:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/prsa

The Ad Hoc Committee to Promote Democracy in PRSA;

  • Richard Edelman, President & CEO, Edelman
  • Bill Doescher, former Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer, Dun & Bradstreet, Past President of PRSA Foundation, President & CEO of the Doescher Group
  • Art Stevens, APR, Fellow PRSA, Managing Partner, StevensGouldPincus
  • Deborah Radman, APR, Fellow PRSA, Past President, PRSA New York
  • Sandra Fathi, President-Elect, PRSA New York, President, Affect Strategies
  • Dave Rickey, APR, Sr. Vice President Communications, Birmingham Business Alliance

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly Rossman-McKinney, APR, PRSA Fellow 05.10.10 at 12:45 pm

How about joining those of us who ARE accredited instead of complaining that you can’t serve as a leader because you aren’t? What’s your beef with accreditation? Proving you know the fundamentals of our profession can’t be all that hard if you’ve really got chops. Quit complaining and get accredited, for crying out loud!

Sandra Fathi 05.10.10 at 1:09 pm

Hi Kelly,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I believe that accreditation has tremendous value. Members of our committee are APR and have served to help promote and educate fellow members about APR. We are advocates of APR – the only issue the committee has is that we believe APR should not be a requirement for leadership in PRSA on the national level. Since more than 16,000 PRSA members are not APR, they are not allowed to serve. That’s an injustice that we’d like to correct.
Thanks,
Sandra

Kelly Rossman-McKinney, APR, PRSA Fellow 05.11.10 at 2:07 pm

Sandra: Interesting approach. Maybe we need to beef up the value of accreditation rather than lower the bar for leadership. I understand the perspective but don’t happen to agree with it.
Kelly

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