In this month’s Insider Interview, we speak with Jane Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA and the 2017 chair of the Public Relations Society of America. Jane is the president of her own company, JKD & Company, Inc. She is a Silver Anvil winner, garnered two Grand Gold Pick awards, is a Swede Johnson Lifetime Achievement recipient, is a two-time Small Business Award winner and was recognized as the first Colorado Chapter Mentor of the Year in 2013.
PRSA-NCC Insider: Congratulations on completing a year as chair of the Public Relations Society of America. As you reflect back on 2017, describe what it was like for you.
JD: It was magical. I am very blessed. I feel it was the right time to bring my energy and vision to the table. I am a believer in fate. All things happen for a reason. I felt as though I was able to bring a renewed passion for the organization and the profession.
I am very proud of being a public relations professional. I am proud of the industry and the work I do. As a woman with a 30-plus year career, I am proud of PRSA and proud of being part of it. I am grateful for the many benefits it has brought me. To be able to lead at the highest level is incredibly humbling.
PRSA-NCC Insider: I’m sure there were many high points for you over the past year. Can you share one?
JD: I’ve had the opportunity to work with one of most amazing boards and groups of people I’ve ever had the chance to work with. This year, the board was faced with a number of challenges. The board was very diligent and kept our members at the forefront of critical discussions. This is a board that had solid discussions all year and there were certainly varied opinions. We all heard, listened and considered decisions with good conscience. To be able to lead that group of people was very special.
PRSA-NCC Insider: The PR landscape is always changing. In your view, what is the biggest challenge facing the industry?
JD: We’re all struggling with the seemingly disappearance of traditional media. It’s redefining how we work. On the flip side, it’s forced us to look at new ways of reaching audiences and telling our stories. You think it would be different in Boise, Idaho compared to Washington, D.C. But guess what? No matter what media market we’re in, we’re all facing the same challenges. We’re all struggling with the reduction in traditional media.
The challenge continues to try to learn new tools and new roles. However, that should be encouraging. It forces us to up our game and help define what this profession is going to look like in the next generation.
PRSA-NCC Insider: How would you advise others in the communications field, particularly those in their early years in the business?
JD: We all need to be leaders. We all need to invest in ourselves. Everyone needs to continue to learn in order to be the best you can be. Wherever you’re seated at a table, be a leader. No matter where you are in the continuum in your career, be a leader. If you’re an entry-level employee at your company, understand that what you do contributes to the bottom line of that business. If you do, you will become priceless to that company.
To young professionals, be patient. You don’t develop careers, networks and mentors in short order. It takes time. You don’t learn about an industry in a year. You can’t have it all now. The world doesn’t happen like that. Some things just take time. Don’t be afraid to fail. To err is human.
Also, have fun. What we do can be incredibly overwhelming, draining and challenging. When we have fun we get creative. When we get creative, we get innovative. When we get innovative, we become problem solvers. What company wouldn’t want that?
PRSA-NCC Insider: What is a major concern about the future?
JD: Unfortunately, I feel we may be seeing a greater level of information that is inadequate and inaccurate. That will impact our business. The landscape is going to continue to be that way. There will be more challenges and reputation management situations than ever before.
PRSA-NCC Insider: You probably have very little spare time. When that time comes, what do you like to do?
JD: My husband and I like to travel. We play golf. I love to read. I love to cook. My family is incredibly important. I have three amazing children and one of the most amazing husbands ever who is very supportive of me. I’m very blessed in that regard. I’m grateful for a family that is very proud of the work I do.