Looking for the Best Place to Work For as a PR Professional?

Priscilla RiosBy Priscilla Rios, CPRS Member and World Traveller
Graduate of Public Relations, Marketing and Strategic Communications
University of Winnipeg

Some say the best place in the world for public relations professionals to work is at a non-profit organization. Why? Because, they contend, there is a noble cause driving the organization’s goals that, if it aligns with your own ideals, makes you feel good about working there. Others say the best place for a PR guy or gal is at a big corporation because as long as you love what you do, where you work is less of a concern. For these people, their job is both their craft and their cause. After all, strong corporations have the ability to assist many charitable endeavours, right?

What about working in government? From my perspective, there are some dualities.

Government can be great because of the stability. It is a place to build a strong and steady career for yourself, but it can also be a challenging place for PR professionals who desire a high level of autonomy in their work. Dealing with bureaucracy, chains of approval, and politics is not for everyone. But if you can navigate this, there is always the need for someone with great media relations skills, who is quick-thinking, and able to manage emotions when a crisis appears that affects a large population. Communicating essential information to the people of your city, province or country is itself a noble cause.

My personal opinion is that it does not matter which type of organization you work for as long as you find your cause: the challenge that makes your heart beat faster. One place surely can be more demanding than another, but as long as you are being challenged in your work you have the opportunity to grow and go further in your career.

Some things to think about when choosing where to apply after school, is the need for a cause or something you feel passionately about. Another equally important factor is the benefits you receive (you know… paid vacation, performance bonuses, the prospect of a promotion, and open communication). A third factor that is really REALLY important to me is atmosphere and environment you’re working in. You need to be able to build connections and relationships with your coworkers and managers. When you have great relationships with the people you work with, the challenges of the job often becomes easier to work through. When you utterly care about the people surrounding you, you’ll run the extra mile (or a kilometer) for them.

What it comes down to for me when searching for the best place to work is not the challenges of the job or company itself: it is the people I am going to be working with.

For those of you who were expecting the names of a few great companies to work for, take a look in this PRWeek article.

PR’s role in corporate sustainability

By Lorne Kletke, APR and long-time CPRS member and former CPRS MB board member

October 6, 2015

Lorne Kletke, APR
Lorne Kletke, APR

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and issues of sustainability have been firmly entrenched in mainstream conversation for some time. How has your organization responded, and how has PR played a role?

A growing portion of consumers are basing their decisions on more than price, service and reliability these days. They want to know how a company relates to its suppliers, employees, the environment and community-at-large. They, along with even more engaged interest groups, are concerned about corporate sustainability.

An easy way to picture corporate sustainability is with the concept of a triple bottom line – people, planet and profit. Organizations pursuing the triple bottom line are looking for not only financial returns but also social justice and environmental protection. It follows that if your focus shifts from one bottom line to three, your PR strategy likely needs change as well.

Nonresponsive organizations risk missing out on opportunities and losing customers in the short term. More proactive competitors will be positioning themselves as the preferred choice for customers and stakeholders sensitive to sustainability issues. These competitors will benefit not only from increased sales, fundraising results or whatever you are competing against them for. They will also benefit from the process of engagement, building trust with their stakeholders, and a deep knowledge of the issues and opportunities at play. All the while, the nonresponsive organization will be falling behind.

As bad as that sounds, there are even worse long-term risks in ignoring CSR. Such an organization is not engaging its stakeholders in a meaningful way. This leaves the organization vulnerable to risks in its operating environment and oblivious to new opportunities.

Hopefully your PR sense tingled at that last statement. As we know, public relations is about bridging concerns and interests between an organization and its stakeholders. A weak (or no) CSR strategy is a tell-tale sign of a weak public relations strategy or role in the organization. Where does your organization fall within this picture?

We are (or should be) in a position to identify and bring CSR issues to the attention of senior management, providing context and communicating relative urgency and importance. Certainly, gaining buy-in and perspective from other key departments is also important.

PR can truly offer unique value to an organization looking to firm up its CSR approach. Consider that CSR extends into all functional areas of an organization, and involves internal and external stakeholders. The people best positioned to coordinate such an effort naturally reside in the PR area.

Once management is on side, PR can be instrumental in engaging internal and external stakeholders in order to come up with a well-conceived sustainability strategy. This is more than a green-washing effort or making the status quo look good. And it is so much more than increasing sales. It is about ensuring that an organization is responsive to the environments in which it operates. Such a strategy takes time, commitment and genuine effort – and all the skill that PR professionals have to offer.

The CPRS National Conference Experience

By Julie Kentner, CPRS Manitoba Secretary

February 5, 2014

Julie Kentner
If you don’t like what people are saying, just change the conversation. But as we all know, that simple statement belies the true complexity of public relations. With so many conversations going on at once, public relations practitioners must keep honing their skills to stay on top of things.

In June 2013, I had the opportunity to join six of my CPRS Manitoba colleagues and take part in my first national conference, hosted by CPRS Ottawa-Gatineau.

It was an amazing introduction to some of the work being done across the country, and I was blown away by the great speakers, valuable sessions and the opportunities for thought-provoking discussions with other public relations professionals.

There were case studies in crisis communications, thinking strategically and media relations, alongside presentations on the changing media landscape, social media and the future of public relations itself.

But aside from the sessions one of the real opportunities was being able to connect with others in my sector. The chance to share stories with others who have similar experiences was a great way to learn new tactics, and even share a few tips of my own.

The 2014 national conference will be held May 25 to 27 in Banff, Alberta. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll come back rejuvenated and excited about working to change the conversation every day.

The APR Experience

By Lorne Kletke, APR, CPRS Manitoba Treasurer 2013-2015

November 6, 2013

Lorne Kletke, APR

As a member of CPRS, you have likely received encouragement from the national office and our own chapter to seek your Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). I would like to share my own perspectives, as a recently accredited member, on why now is the time for you to take the challenge. I’ve structured this blog around what I think may be perceived barriers for some members.

What’s in it for me?

I’ll get to the personal value of APR in a moment, but first consider what getting your APR does for the professional body. A strong, active accreditation system is vital to a profession, including public relations. We are not “spin doctors” – we have a code of ethics, history, theory, and practical approaches that make us uniquely suited to solve contemporary business and social issues. As members of this profession, we should want to contribute towards a positive public perception of PR.

As to what’s in it for you, here are just a few, as mentioned by other APRs:

  •  It uniquely qualifies you to work in PR. Some career postings list the APR as an asset.
  •  You (re)gain confidence in core skills.
  •  It demonstrates your ongoing professional commitment.

Is the “APR” designation that well-known outside of PR circles?

This may or may not be the case locally. Like any profession, it is up to members to make it work. APR is recognized nationally and internationally, with career listings including accreditation as a requirement or preference. You will be able to carry this designation anywhere you may go throughout your career – regardless of the industry or locale. Furthermore, having the designation may open a conversation among (potential) clients and employers as they ask what it stands for. What a great opportunity to sell your services!

Will the process be time-consuming?

CPRS has worked hard to make the accreditation process a positive experience that is both challenging yet respectful of your busy life. The work sample requires some thoughtful input, but is not burdensome and is in fact a great “debriefing” of a personal project that you will find professionally rewarding. The written and oral exams are conveniently held in Winnipeg, which eliminates the need for travel for most of us.

I already have education/life experience in PR – why do I need accreditation?

Simply put, you don’t know what you don’t know about PR until you go through the accreditation process. You may be surprised at what you have forgotten since taking your post-secondary education in PR. Studying for the exams is an excellent learning process, and CPRS has many resources available to help.

Isn’t accreditation for senior practitioners?

You must have practiced PR for at least 5 years. This does not make the APR a senior-level-only proposition. Think of it this way: the sooner you become accredited, the sooner you will receive its benefits and the longer you will enjoy those benefits throughout your career.

What will my peers think if I fail?

Everyone in the accreditation process, from local to national testers and judges, take confidentially seriously. Your application is confidential, and if you happen to fail a part of the process, this is also kept confidential. Further, you have an opportunity to continue your application the next year. Instead of thinking about the possibility of failing, consider what it means to take the challenge: you are placing yourself among the best in the industry – surely a noble aim!

If you would like to know more, please contact me via LinkedIn or contact CPRS Manitoba by e-mailing us at info@cprs.mb.ca

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