Copyright 2018

Dear members,

Thabisile Phumo

Welcome to our first edition of Communik e-News for 2017. I trust that you have settled well into the year and are savouring the opportunities in your career.

The Annual 2017 report ranks public relations as one of the 10th most stressful jobs in a list that comprises pilots, military personnel and senior corporate executives. Interestingly, event co-odinators are also on this list. The recent media meltdown by some government spokespeople lay to bear this fact. Obviously, the speed with which information travels has taken away the luxury of well-considered positions, legally vetted and over-edited press releases that one could fax the day after an incident.

So why is it important to highlight the high pace and super stress of the job? It is important because the stress can be made bearable through strategic connections and consistent information on best practice and benchmarks. This is where we believe as PRISA we can add value.

I am on record as a former cynic about the value of membership of professional bodies, and PRISA in particular. At the time, Kate Bapela was the President and her counsel was simple; ‘a fragmented industry results in fragmented outcomes and unless you play an active role, you will possibly remain a ‘howler’ on the outside of an industry that impacts on the fundamental aspects of your life – bread and butter.’

I felt bruised after this conversation because until then, I had never understood what John F Kennedy meant in his inauguration address in January 1961 when he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. So what can you do with and not for PRISA? We can partner to ensure that you get value for your membership. We have listened to our members and will continue to listen. As a 60 year old organisation, we have had to reinvent ourselves throughout the years with the sole objective of meeting the needs of our membership in this dynamic and volatile environment. It is important that I highlight upfront that keeping up has not been easy and this is where our members need to hold us accountable. We have to rise to the occasion and demonstrate value. I am pleased to advise that two things will be done right in the first quarter of 2017: networking and providing an information hub with the latest research and case studies. This will go some way in helping our members have access to the latest research upon which to base some of their programmes, without having to invest in research in their individual spaces. We believe that as we collaboration with members and like-minded institutions, we will be able to build our own unique Southern African Body of Knowledge.

We are confident that our CPD programmes presented by experts who partner with us are providing value. We are however moving towards tailored programmes which can add value to members at the correct levels with continuous improvement as the end goal.

As I go around meeting our colleagues, I emphasise the need to join PRISA so we can ensure that we can professionalise our industry and weed out fly-by-nights. Working as a collective will secure our credibility as professionals and as an industry.

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Kind regards

Thabisile Phumo, APR

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