We’re All Ears: PRSA Statewide Listening Tour Visits Portland

Author: Elisa Williams

Portland members participated in an energetic brainstorming session on March 14 to explore how PRSA Oregon should evolve now that it’s a statewide chapter.

The conversation, moderated by Outreach Committee Co-Chairs Julie Williams, APR, and Siobhan Taylor, focused on two big-picture questions: How are we better as a statewide organization?  What can be done to overcome geographic distance between members?

Collecting input on these and other questions is the goal of the PRSA Oregon Transition Steering Committee’s listening tour that will include discussions in Eugene and Salem in April. By opening up a statewide dialogue to share ideas and vet concerns, leadership will be better equipped to ensure the newly formed chapter is off to a strong start.

Three themes emerged from the Portland discussion:

  • More Access, Knowledge: A statewide chapter provides huge potential for members to be enriched by a more diverse professional network that also includes a presence on college campuses. As one participant put it, members throughout the state are likely dealing with different types of clients and issues that provide learning opportunities.   
  • Active Network: To fully reap the benefits of a statewide professional network, PRSA Oregon will need to create a mix of quality touch points for members to share ideas virtually as well as face-to-face. This discussion, in particular, generated a lot of energy. Participants said they want social events as well as problem-solving opportunities through online forums. There was widespread support for exploring how a pilot of PRSA Oregon leadership’s collaboration on Slack might be expanded to enable members to communicate.
  • Representative Leadership: Finally, there was consensus that members from all parts of Oregon and Southwest Washington, as well as all phases of career development, must continue to be represented in the chapter’s leadership. Ensuring diversity in decision-making has been a priority of the PRSA Oregon board, led by 2017 Chapter President Colby Reade. Reade also chaired the 2016 Nominating Committee which selected leaders to oversee the merger planning and execution.

While they won’t be attending future feedback sessions in person, Portland-area members who participated in the discussion were keen on hearing what others from around the state have to say. By learning from each other about new ways to work, we can “set new standards,” and “advance the profession,” one participant said.  To that end, PRSA Oregon can develop solutions that could be useful for chapters throughout the North Pacific District (spanning from southern California to Alaska) as well as throughout the country.

To learn about future listening tour discussions, look for posts on the PRSA Oregon blog. You may also share your feedback by contacting listening@prsaoregon.org.

Becoming PRSA Oregon Listening Tour Visits Members

As we become PRSA Oregon this year, merging membership from around the state with the majority from Portland, Salem and Eugene chapter hubs, we want to understand your pressing needs and concerns and get to know more of our members.

All spring, we’ve been coming to you! Membership Director Siobhan Taylor and President-Elect Julie Williams, APR, MA, hosted the evening and morning visits and engaging all in a lively discussion.

Our goal: Give members at every stage of their career a chance to speak up about how a statewide chapter can best serve us all.

We visited the former chapter hubs in March/April to hear your thoughts and will be returning in June to share what we learned and our suggested plans for moving forward together as the founding members of PRSA Oregon.

In Eugene and Salem, we hosted a second session the next morning to make sure members with evening commitments aren’t left out. Those events are part of series of stops planned for collecting input and sharing feedback that include:

  • Portland: 3/14, 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Rogue Ales & Brewery
  • Eugene: 4/4, 5:30-7 p.m. @ Falling Sky Pizzeria & Public House in University of Oregon student union
  • Eugene: 4/5, 7:30-9 a.m. at Starbucks in University of Oregon student union
  • Salem: 4/18, 5:30-7 p.m. at Willamette University
  • Portland: 6/20, 7:30-9:00 a.m. at Elephant’s Deli on Corbett
  • Salem: 8/12, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Willamette University
  • Eugene: 9/16, 10:00-12:30 p.m. at Valley River Inn

We understand that not all of our members live conveniently close to our stops in Portland, Eugene and Salem. A lot of you live in or near Vancouver, Tualatin, Tigard, Beaverton or Hillsboro, to name a few.

If you’d like us to consider a stop in your community this spring, please contact listening@prsaoregon.org to see if we can arrange one!

This event series is free for members and refreshments will be provided. Stay tuned on Twitter and Instagram (@PRSAOregon), Facebook and LinkedIn to learn more specifics about tour stops and about how to register.

Meeting Agenda 09.08.2016

4 p.m. to 5 p.m. PT Thursday, September 8, 2016
Meeting via Skype

Expected participants

John Mitchell, Colby Reade, Jill Peters, Taraneh Fultz, Harvey Gail, Loralyn Spiro

Anticipated meeting outcomes

  • Monitor member engagement, feedback
  • Review member Bylaws voting polling results (to date), alert nominating committee of any unanticipated trends
  • Progress on road map and implementation plan
  • Next steps

Meeting Agenda 08.23.2016

4 p.m. to 5 p.m. PT Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Meeting via Skype

Expected participants

John Mitchell, Colby Reade, Jill Peters, Taraneh Fultz, Harvey Gail, Loralyn Spiro

Anticipated meeting outcomes

  • Monitor member engagement, feedback
  • Review member Bylaws voting polling results (to date), alert nominating committee of any unanticipated trends
  • Progress on roadmap and implementation plan
  • Plan to activate statewide programming subcommittee, which shall recommend statewide structure of professional development programming, including statewide virtual programming options and opportunities, as well as regional in-person programming committees
  • Next steps

Meeting Agenda 08.11.2016

4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. PT Thursday, August 11, 2016
Meeting via Skype

Expected participants

John Mitchell, Jill Peters, Taraneh Fultz, Harvey Gail, Loralyn Spiro

Anticipated meeting outcomes

  • Prepare for membership vote: Recommended statewide governance structure for all Oregon PRSA members, including but not limited to, Bylaws, pathway to board service, board terms and term limits
  • Provide direction to research subcommittee, which shall discover member perceptions and preferences for statewide programming, regional programming, and engagement (volunteer) opportunities
  • Finalize roadmap and implementation plan
  • Next steps

Meeting Agenda 07.19.2016

4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. PT Tuesday, July 19, 2016 & Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Meeting via Skype

Expected participants

Taraneh Fultz, Barbara Kerr, John Mitchell, Dave Thompson, and Mara Woloshin (chair)

Anticipated meeting outcomes

  • Compare/contrast Bylaws of the three Chapters in Oregon
  • Provide recommendation of a single, statewide set of Bylaws
  • Give guidance to nominating committee on board structure, eligibility and composition

Meeting Agenda 06.21.2016

3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. PT Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Broadway Coffee House, 1300 Broadway St. NE, Room 201, Salem, OR

Expected participants

John Mitchell, Colby Reade (phone), Jill Peters, Taraneh Fultz, Harvey Gail, Loralyn Spiro

Please bring

  • Your Chapter’s Bylaws
  • A list of the programs and services your Chapter offers
  • A list of the Board positions your Chapter has, including job descriptions, if available

Anticipated meeting outcomes

  • Identify common programs/services that can be integrated
  • Identify programs/services that are not shared
  • Committee consensus on whether to formally recommend moving to one statewide chapter for governance, operations, other
  • Recommendation for 2017 board structure framework
  • Next steps

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Meeting Agenda 04.18.2016

3 p.m. to 5 p.m. PT Monday, April 18, 2016
Meeting via Skype

Expected participants

John Mitchell, Colby Reade (phone), Jill Peters, Taraneh Fultz, Harvey Gail, Loralyn Spiro

Anticipated meeting outcomes

  • Committee member introductions
  • Current landscape
  • Draft committee charter
  • Next steps