Thoughts on CPRS Regina 2010

I just pulled into my driveway after spending four whirlwind days at the Canadian Public Relations Society Annual Meeting 2010 in Regina. As I drove home from Pearson, I gathered my thoughts and began processing what the last few days meant for me.

I was very impressed with the quality and diversity of the keynote presentations. Peter Mansbridge did a great job storytelling and entertaining the crowd on the first day. The other highlight for me was John Iwata from IBM who told us about how IBM’s new PR strategy revolves around building constituency. Sheila Bird then told us about the challenges of being Director of Public Affairs for the RCMP.

The workshops were also excellent – I felt that I left with a snapshot of what is happening in the practice of PR across Canada. Tudor Williams spoke of media measurement in a social media world, Kelly Garrett spoke of how to take control of and build up your personal brand. McMaster’s own Heather Pullen and Sean Kelly from Newfoundland explained how the breast cancer testing crisis in Newfoundland was a perfect example of how the profession needs to develop itself to survive crises and learn from them.

The awards gala was a good evening. I was seated at a great table, with high-level representatives from Argyle Communications, Environics and National Public Relations. We had a very stimulating, pleasant discussion. Environics, Argyle and Avocados from Mexico did amazingly well. You can see the ad celebrating all the winners in today’s (Wed. June 16, 2010), Report on Business in the Globe and Mail.

After the gala, I went to the President’s Hospitality Suite and we stayed up chatting and singing songs (someone brought a guitar) until about 3am!

CPRS left me with a very positive impression of the practice of public relations in Canada. I met many people who care very deeply about the work they do, how its done and where it is going in the future. I learned a lot and made several new friends.

We also launched the Call for Papers for the new Journal of Professional Communication (JPC). It was well received. In fact, we already have several pending submissions. Terry Flynn and I really hope to have JPC become a repository of knowledge, case studies and critical scholarship about public relations practice in Canada.

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