By PRSA-SV Chapter President Vanessa Yanez
Published on October 4, 2020
Last year my daughter got into anime. She had read so much manga and watched so many shows that it became something of a lifestyle. There weren’t many kids interested in it near us, so sometimes she felt lonely, different.
After some research we found that one of the biggest conferences of its kind “Anime Expo” was happening soon. On a whim we attended for a day.
Surrounded by fans in costume, the atmosphere was electric. It was also one of the most inclusive. People, families of all kinds everywhere, just happy to be there and happy for each other to be there all based on their love of the genre and the stories and the characters. The fans were the stars.
My daughter was captivated. We went back the next day. This time she was in character and part of a greater community. If it weren’t for the pandemic, we for sure would have been there a full week this year.
I think of this feeling a lot lately. As we’ve all felt various degrees of being untethered.
As Karen Hall, PhD in Psychology Today describes it, “Belonging means acceptance as a member or part. Such a simple word for a huge concept. A sense of belonging is a human need, just like the need for food and shelter.
Feeling that you belong is most important in seeing value in life and in coping with intensely painful emotions. Some find belonging in a church, some with friends, some with family, and some on Twitter or other social media.
Some see themselves as connected only to one or two people. Others believe and feel a connection to all people the world over, to humanity. Some struggle to find a sense of belonging and their loneliness is physically painful for them…A sense of belonging to a greater community improves your motivation, health, and happiness. When you see your connection to others, you know that all people struggle and have difficult times. You are not alone. There is comfort in that knowledge.”
This is why I am so proud to be a small part of the PRSA Silicon Valley communications community right now. At a time when community as a concept is reinventing itself and communicators at all career chapters are coming together, finding each other.
#FridayForums Transform PRSA Silicon Valley into a “state of mind”
Every week, #FridayForums are a place where, no matter if you work together or not, shared experience and understanding bring us together in a safe place to discuss what matters to us. The network – made up of people at all career levels with different experiences – is here and it is vibrant. A think tank with a bias to action, the most diverse board in years and expanding both in membership and influence because you make it so.
I find that in the place where I am in my life I am okay to be more vulnerable and it is directly related to feeling belonging with our community.
You all give me life. Because of you, I know we can become the industry we aspire to be.
An industry that values acceptance, validates what it feels like to be “other” – promotes togetherness and tries not to “fix”, but inspires each practitioner’s super-powers at any career stage.
We’ve let go of so much of “what we used to do” and we are now a chapter that has no “walls”. An amazing group of people who choose to be there. It’s true. Nobody has time for it. But everyone is making the time, because it feels so good to help others, our networks, our industry move forward.
In September Aarti Shah from PRovoke joined us to discuss the “state of the industry” – all signs are starting to point to a tentative business recovery. That said, many issues keeping the industry from moving forward remain. This conversation was one of the most open, vulnerable and action-oriented of its kind. I am grateful to Aarti and the many Board and attendee speakers who brought their “whole selves” to this discussion.
Join us for these upcoming discussions and we know that each will help you as you make your own judgement calls. Eventbrites and more details can be found on our PRSA Silicon Valley Facebook page.
My wish for all of us as we close out this year is that we revel and act in what it means to be your “whole self”. Like as my daughter’s “mutuals” on TikTok are her network and she is not alone, we are here for you.
Serve. Make a difference. Belong.