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Educational value: Making PRSA resources work for you


October 11, 2012

The focus on education in this month’s issue of Tactics reminded me of the value of education in my own life.

I remember my grandfather buying books for me as a child, and handing each of them over to me with reverence. He spent most of his working life as a messenger on the floor of the New  York Stock Exchange, a low-wage job that entailed delivering pieces of paper between brokers.  His job allowed him to buy a house, but not to save it from repossession when the market crashed.

Although I never asked him why he was always giving me books, I think he simply hoped that his children and grandchildren would have the education that he lacked to help us face life’s challenges.

Educational experience

Through the years, I’ve been a student, a tutor and a guest lecturer. Apart from that one unfortunate experience with organic chemistry in high school, my own passion for learning has burned brightly for as long as I can remember.

PRSA is a great place to work for someone who loves to learn. A full 15 percent of our members work at or for educational institutions, and educators consistently lead our volunteer leadership corps.

Our thriving student organization keeps us connected to what’s happening in classrooms across the country.

Our professional members work in a rapidly changing environment where one viral video can destroy an organization’s long-maintained reputation, and they know that education is their best defense.

Against this backdrop, PRSA is always seeking new ways to help you learn.  In fact, most of the member benefits that we deliver have educational value — not just structured teaching sessions. 

A member recently told me that she takes a pair of scissors to every issue of Tactics and posts clippings on her fridge or sends articles to her coworkers to keep the lessons top of mind.

As PRSA evaluates our more formal educational offerings — webinars, seminars and conferences — we ask ourselves these three basic questions:

1. Are we delivering what members want?

Last year, we enhanced our triennial member survey to learn what topics and skill sets most interest you. 

We’re using that data to guide us as we plan our offerings, and consider factors that include career stage, learning topic and delivery method.

2.  Are we delivering it well? 

After PRSA events, we survey participants about their learning experience. If you see an expert in heavy rotation on our schedule, then it is because our members tell us that the presenter delivers!

3. Are we delivering it in the way that members want?

Webinars, our traditional delivery form, have been available on demand for some time, allowing you to learn at your convenience from your home or office.

This fall, we’re excited to launch something new. Through a partnership with several of our presenters, we’ll be offering a few of our in-person seminars as modular online courses on a pilot basis.

Member empowerment

Albert Einstein said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow” — a quote that my grandfather would have appreciated. 

These values guide our mission. PRSA collects the lessons (and case studies, and measurement best practices, and survey data…) from yesterday to empower our members to live better today and better realize their hopes for the future.

Remember, all of this is about you.  What challenge is your organization facing?  Whatever it may be, we have a resource to help you.

Take from what we have to offer, and if you can’t find what you need, then let us know. 

We’re here for you. 

William (Bill) M. Murray, CAE, is the chief executive officer of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
Email: william.murray at prsa.org



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