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Reflections on 2014

December 21, 2014

Dear NCC Members, Sponsors & Partners,

"Don't bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals."

As I reflect on 2014, I thought it was appropriate to start with this quote from the legendary David Ogilvy. The National Capital Chapter absolutely hit the ball out of the park in 2014! I am grateful and honored to have worked side-by-side with passionate and committed professionals who believe in advancing public relations.  

Together, we've accomplished many things this year:

  • Our Chapter is the largest PRSA chapter in the United States. I am pleased to announce our Chapter membership grew by 9.5% to 1300+ and National membership by 4.9% to 1620+. This is a record number of members and one we should celebrate! Additionally, our chapter continued with its robust financial position and is finishing up the year with a 10% increase in cash assets.
  • We met the professional development needs of our growing member base and offered 49 professional development and networking events over the year. We averaged almost one event per week! These events would not have been successful without the leadership and guidance of our professional development committee. Due to forward planning, we already have events scheduled for January and February.  If you want to learn more about a particular aspect of public relations or network with others in our industry then please take a look at our calendar and continue to check back through the year for new events.
  • Our Chapter sponsors helped to make 2014 a very successful year for us. We exceeded our goals and expanded our programming because of the generosity and commitment of those sponsors. My sincerest thanks to our 2014 Chapter sponsors! If you are recruiting new employees, seeking new business, or interested in building your brand, becoming a PRSA-NCC chapter sponsor is the perfect way to increase your visibility.
  • In 1964 visionary PRSA leaders established the APR credential as a way to recognize practitioners who have mastered the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to develop and deliver strategic communications. This year we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) at the National and local levels. Our Chapter boasts the largest number of accredited public relations practitioners in the country. If you have been considering your APR or APR+M, let NCC support you through the process. We have a "mini jump start" planned as a half-day session on Friday, January 30th at the American Physical Therapy Association in Alexandria. Register here: APR
  • Launched in the fall of 2013 by PRSA National, the Moving Veterans Forward initiative is to help transitioning military public affairs professionals find communication jobs in the civilian workplace. This year our Chapter took a major step to support and evolve this program at the local level. With the support of the corporate volunteers of the Exelis Action Corps, we hosted a half-day career workshop specifically empowering military communications professional in their transition into civilian public relations careers. Against a backdrop of assorted flags representing various states, territories, and all the branches of the military, six panelists - all military veterans themselves - provided an overview of their professional backgrounds and experiences, sharing insights on successfully making the switch.  For those of you hanging up your uniform for the last time in 2015, I highly encourage you to enroll in the Moving Veterans Forward program as you will receive one year free PRSA and PRSA-NCC membership. Additionally, our network of PRSA-NCC mentors is available to provide advice on resume writing, networking, and job interviewing.
  • On September 9th, we hosted our 46th annual Thoth Awards Gala to celebrate and honor Washington's best public relations and communications professionals.  Our Chapter presented 41 Thoth Awards and Certificates of Excellence. After reviewing numerous entries from a wide-range of public relations, non-profit, and corporate organizations located in the Washington, D.C. area an experienced panel of Thoth Awards judges selected the finalists. Personally, it was an honor to have been a part of this awards ceremony and afforded the opportunity to recognize the many achievements our area has to offer in the field of public relations.  
  • Also at this year's Thoth Awards, our Chapter inducted two new Hall of Fame members. Jody Powell and Sheila Tate, co-founders of Powell Tate (now a part of Weber Shandwick), were inducted for their longstanding contribution to the profession and the Washington, D.C. public relations scene. As individuals, each had public affairs careers with significant political influence. Both also served as White House Press Secretaries (Powell for President Jimmy Carter and Tate for First Lady Nancy Reagan). They united their considerable talents in 1991 to form the nation's leading public affairs firm, Powell Tate. Our Chapter is honored to have Jody Powell and Sheila Tate join our growing list of Hall of Fame members.
  • In addition to the 49 professional development and networking events our Chapter hosted, PRSA National honored the NCC by selecting Washington D.C. to host the PRSA International Conference. For three days and nights, our Chapter hosted 3,000+ PR practitioners at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. Over 75 of our members volunteered to support the needs of the Conference and host PR practitioners from around the world. Thank you to our fantastic conference committee and volunteers who worked tirelessly for many months to make it a conference to remember. Here are a few pictures to recap the week: Workshops, Opening General Session, and Gala.
  • Last but certainly not least, our Chapter celebrated its 65th Anniversary on December 4th. What a way to end a year! For 65 years, NCC has executed on professional development programs for public relations professionals and has continued to strengthen and grow the profession. Over the last 65 years our Chapter has seen the public relations field grow from its infancy through the digital revolution. To mark the anniversary, several past presidents shared their fondest memories on our Chapter blog and we celebrated with food, drinks and cupcakes at our annual holiday party#PRSANCC65

The accomplishments we made in 2014 are in direct correlation to the skilled professionals on our committees. Our membership survey data has shown us time and time again those members who join a committee gain more value from their membership than those who don't. These members tend to reap the many rewards of having a larger professional network. Serving on a committee also often fosters a path to Chapter leadership and through the process, can nourish your professional path to leadership.

This year we had more than 100 dedicated volunteers on our Board, committees and special projects. I express my deepest thanks to each and every one of you

Every year we honor a few of our stand-out volunteers who have, in many ways, shown their commitment to NCC. Their contributions to the Chapter have significantly impacted our association and we are grateful for their time and commitment.

This year we honored the following members with an NCC volunteer award:

  • Platinum Award: Danny Selnick,  Senior Vice President, Strategic Markets,  Business Wire
  • Diamond Award: Lauren Lawson-Zilai, Director of Public Relations and National Spokesperson, Goodwill Industries International
  • Senior Practitioner's MVP Award: Laura Bynum, Media Relations Manager, American Public Works Association
  • Dark Horse Award: Jasmine Smith, Founder, JFD Media
  • President's Award: Jennifer Schleman, APR, Senior Associate Director, Media Relations, American Hospital Association
  • Young Professional's Award: Rasheeda Mitchell, Program Coordinator, Strategic Partnerships and Technology Support, National League of Cities

At this joyous time of year, we are grateful for our members, sponsors and partners. On behalf of the 2014 PRSA-NCC Board of Directors, I wish you a lovely holiday season filled with joy and a successful year ahead. I am confident we will continue to hit the ball out of the park in 2015!

Rebecca B. Andersen, APR, M.S. IMC, 2014 PRSA-NCC President
Public Relations Director, Coriant