You May Leave Your Heart, But You’ll Take Home the Latest Knowledge and Skills, Plus a Host of New Professional Connections
By Gerard F. Corbett, PRSA’s 2012 Chair and CEO
This year, the Conference takes place in San Francisco, at the San Francisco Marriot Marquis, a beautiful hotel within easy walking distance of everything the city has to offer. Public relations professionals can come out, attend the Conference and then spend a few extra days enjoying the great restaurants, cultural attractions and recreational opportunities that make San Francisco a world-class tourist destination.
While I can’t guarantee that you won’t leave your heart in San Francisco, I can guarantee you’ll take home a lot in return. We focused this year’s Conference program on giving attendees practical knowledge that they can put to use immediately, such as proven public relations tools and approaches and up-to-the-minute thinking on the latest communication trends, strategies and best practices. You’ll also share in the insights and experiences of some of our profession’s brightest minds and make a number of valuable new connections to add to your professional network.
The theme of this year’s Conference is “The Future Starts Now.” It’s reflective of the fact that technology keeps evolving. Social media may have started with Facebook and Twitter, but they haven’t ended there. It seems like, every day, there’s something new that has the potential to revolutionize the way organizations communicate and interact with their constituents. The theme also is a gentle reminder of the need for public relations professionals to keep their knowledge and skills current, so that they can lead their clients and companies in the use of these ever-evolving channels of consumer engagement.
The Conference theme will be brought to life through our keynote presenters. This year, we’re thrilled to have two individuals, both of whom have been included at different times on TIME Magazine’s list of the “Most Influential People in the World”: Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter, and Tim Westergren, the founder of Pandora.
In an election year, with the future and promise of a new presidential term on the horizon, we’re also pleased to welcome Michael Steele, a political analyst for MSNBC. And finally, consumer behavioral expert June Cotte, Ph.D., will examine the future of corporate social responsibility through the results of her recent study, “When Will Consumers Pay to Be Good?”
Attendees also will see the theme reflected in the breakout learning sessions. These sessions are organized into five learning “tracks” — Tools and Techniques, Measurement and ROI, Strategies, Specialization and Leadership and Management — that allow attendees to tailor their learning experiences to their specific areas of interest and expertise, and that touch all the key knowledge, skills and abilities public relations professionals today need to be successful.
In all, the Conference will offer more than 80 professional development sessions lead by some of the real thought leaders in our profession.
In addition to the learning opportunities, there’s no better place to network — not only in terms of making key industry connections, but in terms of building lifelong friendships — than the PRSA International Conference. Think about this: In one place, you will have more than 3,000 public relations professionals from different industries, practice areas, levels of experience and geographies, all of whom share the common bonds of the work that they do for a living, and a desire to learn, share, meet new people and, ultimately, get the most of their careers. More than 25 countries were represented at last year’s event, from Bermuda and Brazil, to Germany and Guam, to India and Israel, to Saudi Arabia and Singapore to the United Arab Emirates and Uganda.
And, there are ample opportunities for attendees to meet, network with one another and, really, just to have fun. For example, the PRSA Diversity Committee is sponsoring a diversity mixer, bringing together professionals from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. The Opening Night Reception will offer attendees a chance to network while sampling a variety of dishes representative of San Francisco’s great culinary scene. There also will be a Tweet-up, so you can meet in person all those people you’ve only interacted with virtually and previously only seen in a 1-inch by 1-inch photo. And throughout the Conference, the Products and Exhibit Hall Reception will be a place for attendees to connect with representatives from companies offering the latest in essential products and services for public relations professionals.
In sum, the PRSA International Conference is really the only event of its kind, and one of — if not the — premier learning and networking event in our profession. The Conference is designed by communicators for communicators who want to enhance their knowledge, skills and abilities and, ultimately, advance in their careers.
If you haven’t registered already, there’s still time … but do it today! We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco!