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Final Transition Steering Committee Report: October

Finishing Strong

At our final Transition Steering Committee meeting for 2017, we took a few minutes to celebrate the momentum we’ve built. We’ve been so busy working on projects, that I think even we were surprised by everything that our newly formed regional chapter had accomplished when we reflected upon the year.

As the final report of year, let’s take some time to review the details of the journey, directly leading to the plans for next year. This will be a long post, but I think you’ll be reassured and reminded that we apply the same passion and process to running the chapter as we do to our profession.

One-Year Plan Turns Into Two

In March, we had gathered in the same conference room at Make-A-Wish to review all of the commitments and programs grandfathered in by the former chapters, along with all of the transition tasks, that needed to be considered in combining the three local chapters that had served Oregon and SW Washington for the last 60 years.  There were nearly 100.  

At the time, we determined we couldn’t pursue them all this year. We resolved to undertake the transition over two phases in two years and prioritized projects for 2017 that best set up the chapter for success and that would ultimately bring the most value to our members.

Phase One: Nearly Complete

Work on phase one projects is nearly complete.  As we wrap up in November, last steps are to:

  • Back up and redirect the former chapters’ websites to the new PRSA Oregon website;
  • Finalize an inventory of the chapter’s accounts and subscriptions;
  • Complete the updated Policies and Procedures document compilation;
  • Send out chapter pins to founding members who didn’t attend events where they were distributed (please email your address to membership@prsaoregon.org if you need your pin sent to you!);
  • Reconcile final expenses from the former chapters to complete for the final annual income statement and balance sheet of the chapter’s finances;
  • Hold an orientation in November of newly elected board members;
  • And, have a virtual annual membership meeting & elections in November so everyone can attend!
Phase Two in 2018

We’ve also clearly defined what needs to get done next year as part of phase two of the transition. We have a well-documented road map built off our 2017 action plan to share with the incoming board during orientation.

This plan will guide the newly formed Executive Committee that is taking over the transition management and comprises officers, assembly delegates, immediate past president, for 2018 the communications director as well.

This team will take over for the ad hoc Transition Steering Committee from 2017 and the Statewide Governance Committee in 2016 and hold a quarterly call to make decisions and measure progress.

The Transition Phase 2 action plan includes:

  • Strategic priorities summary
  • Proposed schedule and milestones
  • New organizational chart
  • New job descriptions
  • New manuals, along with volunteer and board training
  • Detailed activity and task recommendations
Phase Two: Big Projects

The Executive Committee will oversee six phase two projects in order to complete the smooth transition of three chapters into one chapter that’s built on operational and communications best practices.

The six big projects support the current strategic priorities:

Sustainable Systems

  • Integrated annual budget across programs to ensure cost effectiveness
  • Useful and ethical policies & procedures manual to steer volunteer-run operations
  • Revised bylaws approved by national to reflect the organizational and programming structure

Consummate Communications

  • Comprehensive marketing and communications plan that will include external and internal strategies, including considerations of how to deploy technology to unify members
  • Membership engagement survey to set a baseline for the chapter in 2018 and then enable regular feedback and measurement the “pulse of the membership”

Everybody Connects

  • New database tool for tracking membership engagement and relationship management
Changes, FAQ for 2018

The creation of next year’s priorities, projects and programs were all influenced by our Listening Tour where we learned ideas and input, plus heard concerns and barriers, directly from members.

We’ve integrated as much of our findings into the planning process as feasible for 2018, including these additional changes throughout the year.

January

With all 25 committee members committed, the Service team will provide volunteer orientations.

We will also host a virtual annual membership meeting.

Q: Why another annual meeting so soon?

A: Because currently our bylaws required an “annual meeting” hosted prior to Nov. 30 in order to elect a board, but the membership preferred an annual membership meeting as a “state of the union” to kick off the year. Once switched in 2018, then the next one will be January 2019. Elections will likely remain separate, administered remotely and electronically.

February

To reflect our broad geography, we will host quarterly, in-person board meetings around the region instead of monthly in-person board meetings.

Q: So the board will only meet 4 times?

A: Not quite. The Executive committee (comprising half the board) will meet quarterly and likely remotely,  the board will meet quarterly and in-person, and each of the six program committees (events, membership, service, advocacy, sponsorship, and communications) will meet quarterly and in-person ideally though perhaps more frequently via remote meetings, to make decisions and measure progress. That breaks down to about a monthly meeting and potential travel per board role, which seemed reasonable. Some will have more meetings if they also serve on a subcommittee.

April

We will start the nomination committee process earlier and hold the service draft in June to nominate board members, followed by the service draft in August to nominate committee members.

Q: Why start so soon in the year?

A: The nominating, recruitment and commitment process is a long one. So that board members can be elected prior to the PRSA International Conference, as and if amended in our bylaws, we need to start sooner than July like in the past.

 Phase You: Getting Involved

Throughout the year and during the Listening Tour, we’ve consistently heard how excited members are about the changes, process and progress. Our unofficial motto this year has been: “it takes a village.”

So, how can you help out next year?

  • Host a board meeting at your office
  • Suggest or introduce contacts at a destination venue for CommCon or Spotlights
  • Work with the events team to set up a tour at a local media outlet
  • Volunteer — one-time events, self service, currently open roles (check out our writer opening) or suggest something else!

Those are just a few starter ideas, we’d love to hear more. Please reach out to listening@prsaoregon.org.

Above And Beyond

Personally, I’m very proud of the Transition Steering Committee team:

BeverlyDaveDavid, ElisaJillLilyLoralynMaritzaMarkMeganSiobhan, TaylorTracey, and consultation from Colby and Brian – what we accomplished and the connections we made in the process with so many members around the region.

Instead of monthly conference calls, this team opted to meet in-person every month, offered up their offices to host (with AV and snacks!), and stayed well past the scheduled meeting time every month in order to plan effectively and execute comprehensively because, in their words’, “the work was just too important.”

We knew what an honor it was for the membership to entrust the Transition Steering Committee, in consultation with board, with the mission to smoothly integrate three chapters into one.

We feel confident that this founding year set a strong foundation for future leaders to meet the chapter’s and profession’s needs going forward. Vision 2020, here we come!

Yours in Service,
Julie

Julie Williams, APR, MA
2018 PRSA Oregon President-Elect
Transition Steering Committee Chair
Outreach Task Force Co-Chair

Drafting Our Dream Team

Author: Julie Williams, APR, 2018 President-Elect

As I was committing to the presidency last July I had to think about the whole experience: what the merger would be like, how 2018 fit into vision 2020, and especially who I’d work with on the board.

Back then my first thought was pretty typical – recruiting my friends.

As we started validating the Service Draft idea as a new recruitment model for the Nominating Committee and getting traction last fall, I knew we were heading in the right, new direction though the significance didn’t quite hit me yet.

The revelation has slowly revealed itself this year.

New Perspective

We default to our friends, to those who are well known to us, because there’s trust. There’s shared values. There’s accountability. There’s respect. There’s care.

All things that grow through relationship.

I used to think it was necessary to cultivate these relationships personally – one by one.

Now I see that these relationship bonds do not rely on me personally, but can exist with the community. In this case, the PRSA Oregon community of members.

I trust the community. We have shared values. I feel accountable to the community. I respect the community. I care deeply about the community.

And I see now, that it doesn’t matter who I work with or whether I know them in order to do joyful, fulfilling, valuable work together that delivers results.

It’s not about who’s compatible with me, it’s about us all being compatible with what we’re trying to achieve.

If we all have matching levels of commitment, honor our needs, offer the best we can and share grace with each other, our work is achievable, mutually beneficial and fun.

Growing Community From Within

This new way is about building something together, not architecting it. Building teams that work, together.

We may be strangers to start and we might work very differently and we may occasionally get frustrated but we will grow into a team that takes care of us all.

Perhaps this is how everybody on our leadership team and in our committees already looks at their roles. My guess is many still see it the way I did – working with/for their friends and/or for themselves.

Heading into our Service Draft where we’ll draft 35 talented colleagues from our membership pool into roles that will help them grow professionally while helping our community and profession grow, the anticipation is ripe.

I expect that by the end of 2018, I’ll have a lot more friends in our community than I could have made on my own.

Now, I feel more eager than ever before to see who we’ll discover, who will lean in, who’s journey is in sync with ours as we grow PRSA Oregon into a fully engaged chapter for every member next year.