By Dan Keeney, APR
PRSA Assembly Delegate for Greater Fort Worth Chapter of PRSA
One of the most important organizational initiatives that PRSA is undertaking in 2009 is updating the national organization's bylaws. The initiative is intended to keep up with modern governance theories and current best practices in association management.Amazingly, PRSA’s bylaws have not been thoroughly revised since they were first ratified more than 60 years ago. Broad and meaningful bylaws changes will help the Society continue to grow, prosper, and serve as a leading voice in the public relations industry.
PRSA established a Bylaws Task Force in 2007 to determine the changes needed. The task force felt that governance changes in three main areas of the bylaws — membership, governance, and leadership — could further strengthen the Society for the future.
MEMBERSHIP: The task force recommended that the bylaws be updated to extend membership opportunities to professionals with a broader range of knowledge, experiences and job responsibilities. This reflects the changes in what many communications professionals do. The change will increase the diversity of thought across the organization.
GOVERNANCE: The task force recommended that we open the election of the national board to all members. The National Assembly would become the “Leadership Assembly,” a body of leaders advising the PRSA Board of Directors on issues pertaining to the profession. The task force envisions a group that communicates regularly, votes electronically and helps shape PRSA’s advocacy agenda. Under the task force’s recommendations, the composition of the Leadership Assembly would remain the same as the present Assembly, with the addition of Delegates representing National committees and task forces.
LEADERSHIP: The PRSA Bylaws Task Force has recommended expanding the requirements for, and eliminating certain barriers to, board service to open board service to a broader range of individuals with diverse backgrounds. Under the new requirements, any PRSA member in good standing who is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) and/or a Chapter, District, Section or Committee leader, and/or has more than 20 years of public relations experience with increasing levels of responsibility, would be eligible to run for the board. Additionally, all board members would be elected at-large meaning that directors would no longer be elected from the specific area of the country in which they live and work. Directors would be allowed to serve up to two, two-year elected terms, which may be served consecutively or non-consecutively. Directors would still be entitled to seek additional terms as an officer.
Subject to input from PRSA members, the plans is to incorporate changes in these areas into a new bylaws document to be voted on by the Assembly at PRSA’s International Conference in San Diego in November 2009.
Member questions may be sent at any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.