In this month’s Insider Interview, we speak with Joshua Gordon, communications manager of the National Juvenile Justice Network, a membership-led organization that exists to support and enhance the work of state-based juvenile justice advocates, and to join and raise their voices in demanding change both locally and nationally. Gordon also serves as co-chair of the Membership Committee for PRSA’s National Capital Chapter.
PRSA-NCC Insider: You were heavily involved with the Public Relations Students Society of America (PRSSA). Tell us about your role with that organization. How did being involved help you while in college?
JG: I joined PRSSA during my freshman year at Liberty University. I was excited to meet other students interested in the PR field and learn more about the profession. I quickly fell in love with the organization and decided to pursue leadership positions. I served on my alma mater’s board in a number of positions, overseeing membership and recruitment, promotions, and finally, becoming vice president. I am pleased to say, that in two years, the chapter grew by 25 percent. In addition to the raw numbers, it was thrilling to see students making lasting connections with their peers and seasoned professionals. I was determined to help other chapters experience the growth my chapter did, so I took my leadership to the national level.
In 2015-2016, I was elected national vice president of member services for PRSSA. In that role, I promoted PRSSA’s member benefits to potential members and the 11,000-plus members nationwide and abroad. My mission was to connect members from around the globe and help Chapter leaders effectively communicate to students about how PRSSA could benefit them.
PRSA-NCC Insider: What does it mean to you to not only be a member of PRSA-NCC but also hold a leadership position with the chapter?
JG: It means I’m part of something bigger than myself. I’m glad to be part of a dedicated group of professionals going the extra mile to advance the PR profession. Holding a leadership position is my way of giving back to an organization that has done so much for me.
PRSA-NCC Insider: Describe your role as a co-chair of the PRSA-NCC Membership Committee.
JG: Together with my colleague Ashley Morris, we work to ensure our members are maximizing their participation in their areas of public relations interest. We host networking events, chapter happy hours and other events in order for members to connect with one another and to get new members acclimated to the chapter.
PRSA-NCC: What do you say to PR professionals, particularly those who recently graduated college, who are interested in joining the chapter?
JG: I speak plainly about what PR professionals and recent graduates can attain by joining the organization and how it can enhance their careers. You get out of PRSA what you put into it. It’s very important to go to professional development events, be focused on building your network and thinking about your future. PRSA is a great way to find friendly mentors, connect with people on your wavelength and grow your skill set.
PRSA-NCC Insider: What aspects of PR interest you the most?
JG: I’m very interested in social change PR. A key aspect of my position is positioning our messaging in a way that resonates with those on our side and those on the fence. I’m interested in PR that communicates to a broad and diverse audience – because that’s the world we live in. PR that pushes people to change their behavior is what wakes me up in the morning.
PRSA-NCC Insider: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
JG: I see myself continuing to communicate for those unable to communicate for themselves. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) might be on the horizon for me as I have a strong interest in helping corporate entities act ethically and consciously in the communities they inhabit.
PRSA-NCC Insider: When you’re not working, what do you like to do in your spare time?
JG: I love going to random coffee shops around D.C. I love playing ultimate Frisbee with my friends or pickup basketball. Also, I like being a perpetual tourist in D.C. and visiting museums, art galleries and monuments.