CPRS Edmonton held its first virtual annual general meeting on May 29, 2020 and it was proof that strong relationships are invariably built on trust, truth, transparency and thank you.
Your volunteer board was entrusted to serve CPRS Edmonton members a bit differently this year with the health pandemic and digital technologies changing most aspects of life and society. With these macro factors, along with volunteer capacity in mind, we intend to make 2020-21 a year to experiment and innovate. In this spirit, we are thrilled to welcome veteran chapter leaders, Sharmin Hislop, APR and Mike Lupien, who have stepped in to fill a casual vacancy as co-past presidents.
As I considered the openness of CPRS Edmonton members to explore new approaches in volunteer governance, programming and communication, my thoughts drifted to what we could or should be saying and doing on broader societal issues. The health pandemic brought to light the immense power of communication to both calm and confuse an anxious public. Experts in our field have provided trusted advice and counsel for months to the chief medical officers across the country.
Our communities are now preparing for economic re-entry, and the question is, how will public relations factor into this effort to “build back better”, keeping the process fair and transparent, and decisions evidence-based? How will social justice be addressed? What about climate change? What role could our profession play in bringing emerging issues forward and in coalescing communities around solutions?
If members wish to actively participate in important, sensitive issues, does our chapter have the resources to follow through? Alternatively, if broader issues are not within the scope and purpose of our local society, what topics and areas of focus will attract new members and grow member involvement? How will this affect broader perceptions of public relations and its value?
These big existential questions are at the heart of our society, but they are by no means our exclusive domain. Everywhere and every day, long established norms are giving way to new ways of being. I’m confident that CPRS Edmonton will bravely tackle the big questions. And I’m equally confident that we will stay pragmatic to design programs and curate content with immediate practical value that will continue to build our sense of community and connection.
Our chapter board is meeting this month to plan the 2020-21 program calendar so stay tuned… some great ideas are taking shape! We are dedicating this year to doing things differently and will be seeking your input, feedback and involvement in conversation circles throughout the year. Ultimately, CPRS Edmonton will be what members wish to make it.
As always, my virtual door is open if you have questions, concerns or just want to talk!
Stay healthy and safe,
President, CPRS Edmonton