PR Dreams for 2010

Googling 2010 predictions shows that it’s the 36th-most searched subject on the final day of the decade. I’ve read some predictions, like these, with an enthusiastic nod. Still, I think there’s some of the “daring to dream” aspect that’s missing. That’s what I crave most, the idea that as a PR professional, I can do something in a new and unique way. So, without any prediction whatsoever, here’s my wish list for PR in 2010:

  1. I want to see my elected PRSA leadership affirm accreditation with one voice and promote it. The APR conversation will continue to be circular without a strong, united voice coming from the association’s elected leadership. My wish would result in more knowledgeable PR professionals coming up through the profession and agreement on best PR practices permeating down from the top. I’m tired of hearing the same old arguments about why senior PR pros who don’t possess APR think it’s a bad idea. Get over yourselves already, and together, let’s build up the profession with professional standards and expectations.

  2. I’m wishing for technology that allows PR to deliver green. Instead of just talking about how green an industry is, I’d like to practice green and add in the WOW factor. I can’t wait to deliver a PR communiqué using holographic displays from smart phones and e-mails. Or how about replacing Powerpoint with this type of presentation? Steve Jobs, can you hear me?

  3. Quality content. Repeat that three times please. And then do it. Don’t put something out there that isn’t relevant, fresh and timely. That means PR professionals will need to hone their strategic skills and nurture their journalistic relationships. Spend time doing this instead of putting out a news release every single day. We’ll all reap the benefit of that practice.

  4. Play nice with others. Marketers, advertisers and PR professionals need to be on the same team. Playing to each strength usually gets targeted results. When one of the three legs decides not to do this, the result skews and doesn’t deliver full strength.

I’m sure you have dreams for the PR profession, too. Please share those, so we can all toast them together, and here’s hoping your PR dreams come true in 2010.


A little bit of you

This isn’t a post about communications or public relations. This is a post about the human condition, and what each one of us is capable of accomplishing.

My daughter worked last summer at a local fast food franchise. There, she met Jessica.

After a couple of weeks, my daughter learned Jessica’s story. She was married; her husband, Sam, had lost his out-of-state job several years before. On returning to the Fort Worth, Texas, area, their house, which they had rented, had caught on fire and, though no one was injured, the structure was uninhabitable. So, Jessica, Sam and their four children, moved in with Sam’s dad, occupying the living room for what they thought would be a few months while their home was restored. Unfortunately, the contractor they hired took most of the insurance money without completing the work.

When my daughter met Jessica, the family was getting by on two minimum wage paychecks and federal aid – and had lived in Sam’s father’s living room for several years. My daughter called her dad to plead for help. One thing you must know about my husband is that he is extraordinarily gifted. He can build almost anything, and he can fix almost anything. Since retiring from being a 747 instructor pilot, he’s formed a contracting business, handling commercial remodels.

When he saw the house, he immediately knew two things: he could fix it, and it was going to take a lot of money, which Sam and Jessica did not have. In between his regular work, he began working on their home, praying that building materials would be donated for this family.

Within a couple of weeks, members of our church found out about this young family’s needs. Many people wanted to help and did. Some volunteered their time to work at the house. Some volunteered money to the church to be used for building materials. Some offered expertise in other areas, and many offered words of encouragement.

Finally, after more than three months, and with city approval for occupancy, our family helped Jessica and Sam move into their newly rebuilt home Nov. 30. It was the first time that their youngest daughter had ever slept in a bed.

This family considered themselves lucky, because they had a roof over their heads. A homeless person, according to 42 U.S.C. §11302, is one who dwells in a public or private place not designated for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

I live in Tarrant County, Texas, and these are the facts about homeless persons here:

  • At any given time in Tarrant County, more than 4,000 people are homeless, and more than 6,300 individuals experience homelessness in Tarrant County each year.

  • Of the homeless in Tarrant County, nearly one third are children, 1 in 5 are women and children fleeing domestic violence, over 1 in 6 are veterans, and over half have a disabling health condition that largely contributes to their homelessness.

  • Of the homeless in Tarrant County, 97 percent reported wanting to escape from homelessness.

Since meeting Sam, Jessica and their four children, I have come to understand that it doesn’t take a lot to help. It takes a little bit. A little bit of whatever you have. Please remember those less fortunate this holiday season.