President’s Message – February 2024

Tammy Vineberg, APR

It’s very easy for people, including public relations practitioners, to get stuck in their ways. I admit that I’m guilty of it at times. For example, I find a way of processing photos and stick to what I think is the method that works best for me. 

However, it’s important for us as communicators to keep learning and find new approaches to projects or tasks. I was reminded of this recently after reading a book gifted to me at the CPRS National Conference in Whistler and listening to one of my favourite podcasts.

The Proximity Paradox by Alex Varricchio and Kiirsten May of Winnipeg challenges you to think outside the box. The book unpacks 10 common Proximity Paradoxes that affect a company’s people, processes, and industry. For example, one of the challenges to force yourself away from monotony is to swap projects with a partner organization. You find an organization in a different industry than your own and have their team create your annual report while your team creates their report.

Another way is to get children involved in brainstorming for your organization or project. They bring fresh ideas and are not hampered by cynicism. Also, consider a company hackathon. Don’t worry about how you will implement the ideas. Focus on finding the best ideas. 

We often get caught up in what our organization wants to accomplish as objectives. In a Stories and Strategies podcast episode, Anne Gregory, past chair with Global Alliance and Chartered Institute of Public Relations, delves into best practices of evaluation. She encourages us to nix the metrics as evaluation criteria. Instead, we should measure an organization’s performance and impact. We should think about the customer’s journey and how they interact with us. How does our leadership behave and do they walk the talk? How does leadership treat their stakeholders, including employees? Anne wants us to have more of an inclusive and responsive evaluation process instead of relying on the number of impressions to gauge our work as communicators. To learn more about her approach, you can read the paper she wrote with Jim Macnamara.

How have you been pushing your boundaries or comfort zone in your professional life? You might not be aware that Edmonton Public Library has tools to support you in this journey. To give you a taste of this, CPRS Edmonton is partnering with the downtown branch to offer a tour of the makerspace on Saturday, February 10 at 10 a.m. Following the tour, we will be hosting our monthly Communications Coffee Chat where we discuss case studies or a project that you might be struggling with and need help. I look forward to seeing you then!

Something to add?