By PRSA-SV Chapter President Vanessa Yanez
Published on 12/22/20
2020 was and as of this writing, is still the worst. That said, we all know so many people who stopped everything and acted. Did what had to be done. Said what had to be said. Helped others make it through.
This post is about the PRSA Silicon Valley Board and larger community network. A group of people who had no idea what was coming when the year started, but showed up and then some for its community.
Looking back, January looked like this for our PRSA Silicon Valley Board. While we were likely dealing with pandemic impact in our day jobs already, it seemed like it wasn’t “our problem” yet. We expected a year full of in-person, fun PR networking events where really, it would look like any other year.
Then, everything changed.
The world went into lockdown and it was clear there were more questions than answers. We pivoted typical PRSA SV programming and hosted a few “ask me anything” style zooms. Then, we formalized. We called them #FridayForums and Edelman CEO, Richard Edelman joined us for the first. He talked in honest, trust-barometer-like terms about what was happening. (Special thanks to PRSA San Francisco who partnered with us early on.)
After that, the number of issues and topics to cover exploded. Client and job losses, students graduating unsure of what was out there waiting for them, rampant hunger and sickness, inequality, social justice. Nobody would have said anything if as an industry group, we
After that, the number of issues and topics to cover exploded. Client and job losses, students graduating unsure of what was out there waiting for them, rampant hunger and sickness, inequality, social justice. Nobody would have said anything if as an industry group, we stopped everything.
I’m proud to say, we didn’t.
In 2020 our community broke through traditional barriers and became “a state of mind” as so many answered the call to serve. The PRSA Silicon Valley Board expanded, and at the same time sharpening our bias to action.
As a result, this year we tackled more issues than ever before including:
- Establishing new student scholarships designed to recruit diverse talent into communications roles.
- Hosting #FridayForum for 32 weeks. Thank you to our Board moderators who brought in as many recruiters, mental health experts, academics, agency and brand leaders as possible. Guests covered both their experiences happening in the moment and also their career stories. Many graciously shared their experiences of loss and hardship along their own paths.
- We reported progress and what’s holding the industry back during the “State of Communications” review partnering with industry trade PRovoke. Social justice, ageism. No topic was off limits. There is a lot to work on as we all know.
- Also for the first time, our community brought the healthcare crisis into extreme focus both with “you are there” perspectives from private and public healthcare communications leaders and their agency partners.
These are just a few examples of the work this amazing group of professionals at all levels did for each other this year. As volunteers, leading monthly Board meetings, bi-weekly social justice activations, weekly #FridayForums and community newsletters. Doing whatever we could to help our community. Thank you all for the tremendous amount of time and dedication you’ve delivered this year.
As Mr. Rogers said famously “look for the helpers…where you see them, there’s hope.” This mirror of a year demonstrated our PRSA Silicon Valley Board, its committees, and our community in the large for who we truly are.
Thank you to our Board and our growing community. I am proud to be one of you.