November 30, 2012
Superstorm Sandy roared into New York this past October, shutting down Lower Manhattan and causing widespread devastation. At PRSA, we were working on our Conference postmortem, our end-of year leadership transition and wrapping up some year-end projects when Mother Nature changed our plans.
Even though our offices lost water, electricity, heat and telecommunications services, we were fortunate, as other businesses in our neighborhood were literally under-water. In the aftermath of the storm, many individuals, including some of our staff, had to contend with basic issues of staying warm and finding a place to live or something to eat.
For some small- and medium-sized organizations in Lower Manhattan, Superstorm Sandy will be their last chapter. For PRSA, a combination of preparedness, hard work — and a dollop of luck —enabled us to fully resume our normal operations within a few hours of having our crucial utilities restored. And some of our most popular benefits, such as Jobcenter resources, remained available to our members throughout the storm.
During the storm and its aftermath, we were able to quickly access key contact information, post messages to members on our website, put our email system into a slowdown mode, and communicate with our staff and board about our respective situations and prospects for recovery.
As 2012 closes, I’m happy to report that while Sandy did impact our operations, and will have some effect on our business, the storm didn’t knock us off course for the year.
First and foremost, membership continues its modest post-recession climb. One of the largest external factors affecting membership is the state of the economy, and given the continuing uncertainty, we’re pleased that we are continuing to meet all of our strategic objectives for the year.
Against this backdrop, we’ve done a number of things this year to make PRSA membership even more valuable to you:
Every year brings unexpected opportunities and challenges. Sandy was a challenge, but in the aftermath, we conducted a self-assessment of what worked well, and what we could have done differently. We’re compiling a list of lessons learned, and taking steps to ensure that we’re even better prepared for what may come in the future.