Things happen for a reason — even in PR

I’m not a religious person, but I am spiritual. I have a sense that someone or something is watching over me. I just don’t know what it is.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been so lucky in this life. I married the perfect woman, I have my dream job, and I win lots of stuff in raffles.

I also believe things happen for a reason. And one of those things just happened.

Not 3 hours after I told prconf2009colleagues I would NOT renew my membership in PRSA for 2010, I got an email from Diane Gomez, PR manager for the Society. She asked if I’d be interested in “covering” this year’s national conference — you know, like a legitimate reporter.

Say what? Media credentials for a blogger? Sure, it happens all the time in high-tech and consumer/mommy products. But not to me. Not to a guy who averages barely 5,000 visits a month.

But I got to thinking. Maybe this is happening for a reason.

For more than 2 decades, PRSA was my professional lifeline. The Society connected me to some of the brightest folks in the business, and those folks changed the way I practice PR. I’ve twice served as a chapter president and once as a national committee chair. Here at Kent State, PRSA is the mother ship for the all-important Public Relations Student Society of America.

Somewhere in the late 90s, PRSA lost its attraction for me. I attended national conferences and learned little. That happens to senior practitioners who keep up with their reading. At some point professional development sessions don’t hold much allure. And at some point, we stop showing up for those monthly luncheons at the chapter level.

If you stop here regularly, you know that I’ve criticized PRSA now and again (here, here, here, here, here and here). So I understand if you see PRSA’s invitation as an olive branch. But isn’t that just good public relations?

Let’s also be realistic. I ain’t exactly the most influential voice in PR 2.0. I doubt anything I write about the conference or the Society will have much impact in the end.

As I enter the last decade of my career, I remain skeptical about PRSA’s ability to lead this profession in a digital world. But as I head to San Diego,  I can’t ignore my history with this organization,the many friends who came my way because of it, and all that I learned as a result.

To steal a line from Sloan Wilson’s The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit: “Here goes nothing. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.”


Disclosure: PRSA is providing a media pass that gives me access to the conference. I will cover all costs associated with the trip using my university travel budget and my own dwindling bankroll.


8 Responses to Things happen for a reason — even in PR

  1. Bill Huey says:

    Covering the PRSA conference? What a way to use your fall raise. Good luck getting any real news from that outfit. At least you’re going to a nice spot.

  2. Bill, I am a colleague of one of your former students in Jacksonville, FL. I am a two-year vet of your column, and an avid PRSA supporter. I want to make sure that I have an opportunity to shake your hand and thank you for the work you do while we are in San Diego. (and the work you have done, Greg is great.)

    • Bill Sledzik says:

      I’m hoping to find a tweet-up of Steeler fans attending the conference so we can all meet Monday at 5:30 PST. Steelers-Broncos. If that doesn’t work, I’ll be floating around the conference all day!

  3. […] Things happen for a reason — even in PR « ToughSledding – view page – cached I’m not a religious person, but I am spiritual. I have a sense that someone or something is watching over me. I just don’t know what it is. — From the page […]

  4. Only you, Bill. Only you.

  5. Scott Baughman says:

    “I ain’t exactly the most influencial voice in PR 2.0” Says who? It takes many voices to make up the choir. And, if we don’t add our voices – nothing moves forward. You’re trying help improve our corner of the PR world, and Kent State is doing a better job than most. Take your voice to San Diego and speak up for a higher standard. Besides, it will be a nice change from Minnesota in winter.

  6. Bill Sledzik says:

    Thanks, Scott. I’ve had a post on “raising standards in PR education” in the queue of this blog for nearly a year now. I really have to get back to it.

    Looking forward to my trip to Minnesota in January, but you may have confused some readers with the reference. Kent State is not in Minnesota, folks, though I often wish it were. I miss “real” snow, the stuff that Lars and Gretchen like to ski in.

  7. Hurray for the home team!

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