Why Should I be in a Professional Organization?

In 2016, I had the honor of serving as the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Southeastern Chapter President. It was a great opportunity to show my leadership skills with my industry peers, and to also help many PR professionals in the Greater Milwaukee region.

Professionally, I have been involved with PRSA since 1990, and can honestly say my career has soared because of my involvement with this group. I first became involved with their student group, the Public Relations Students Society of America (PRSSA) in college at UW-Whitewater. During my senior year, I was elected to PRSSA’s national board where I served as Midwest District Director overseeing student chapters in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. It was an amazing experience for a 21-year-old.

Over the years, I have been asked countless times, “Why are you so committed to PRSA?”  There are a number of reasons I give as a response, and why I think everyone should be involved in a professional organization. They include:

1. Professional Organizations Keep You Up to Date
Every morning I receive an email from PRSA with links to the most relevant news impacting my industry. From trends in the social media world to changes in the traditional print and broadcast world, I learn about it all through PRSA. They also send me a Tactics newsletter and Strategists magazine in the mail regularly to go more in depth on these subjects.  They host ongoing webinars, an annual national conference and our local chapter hosts monthly luncheon meetings. The education they provide me is priceless in today’s fast-paced, technology driven world. It keeps me inspired and motivated.

2.  Networking
PRSA is comprised of over 21,000 PR professionals around the world and over 300 of reside in Southeastern Wisconsin. These members can serve as resources for bouncing ideas off of, new business opportunities, partnerships and more. Plus, I have developed many friendships through the years from my involvement in both PRSSA and PRSA. From Laura in Boston to Aaron in Seattle, I literally have connections from coast to coast thanks to PRSA.

3.  Giving Back
As a member of PRSA, one of the things I do is give back to the UW-Whitewater, UW-Milwaukee and Marquette PRSSA chapters by regularly speaking to students about PR careers. I also am the organizer for PRSA’s annual PRO Day which is a half day event designed to give college students an inside glimpse at PR careers in Southeastern Wisconsin. I find working with PR students inspiring and I love giving back to the PRSSA because it offered me so many opportunities when I was in college.

4. Leadership Volunteer Opportunities and Credibility
From serving in various leadership roles for the past 5 years on the PRSA Southeastern Wisconsin Board of Directors to entering my work in the annual Paragons Chapter Awards Program, PRSA provides me endless opportunities to fine-tune my leadership skills in a volunteer setting and prove my professional credibility. By being a member of the largest PR professional in the world, I am telling my clients and potential clients that I am committed to be the best PR professional I can possibly be and I take my career seriously.