Presidents' Report (2015/16)

June 14, 2016

This has been another excellent year for CPRS Hamilton. Professional associations exist to promote and further the interests of the membership and to improve the reputation of the profession in business, government, and public circles. Our wonderful board has built on the strength of previous boards to successfully focus on advancing both mandates. Through the excellent work of our membership committee, we crossed the threshold of 100 members this year – a testament to the hard work and positive environment fostered by our board and by our membership.

This year saw the Health Care Public Relations Association Canada become part of the Canadian Public Relations Society. The CPRS Hamilton area has a particular focus on healthcare provision, teaching and research – the merger of the two associations is a particularly good fit for us. We have welcomed our colleagues from the health care public relations world and look forward to working with them to create compelling health communication professional development, education and networking opportunities.

Our communications committee launched the new CPRS Hamilton website to a very positive reception. That accomplished, they focused on researching and building new social media tools for raising awareness of CPRS Hamilton and its members, as well as creating a virtual extension of our professional development, mentorship and startup events. CPRS Hamilton’s new social media presence has made our society even more relevant in this time of digital revolution and rapid change.

Last year, our board implemented StartUP with CPRS Hamilton, an activity that brings together CPRS Hamilton experts with leaders of small businesses in a speed dating format. This year, the program expanded through partnerships with local innovation centres outside Hamilton in Milton and Niagara. This initiative enables members to find new clients, while startups and small businesses can discover the power of public relations for achieving their business goals.

We expanded our Trust Matters initiative, a blog that highlights the thought leadership of CPRS Hamilton members and forges deeper and even more meaningful links with the community through a partnership with the Hamilton Spectator, where the blog will be published periodically. Our partnership with the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce continues, raising the profile of CPRS Hamilton and its members in the Hamilton business community.

On the professional development front, we had another wonderful year, with excellent guest speakers. Our partnership
with the McMaster-Syracuse Master of Communications Management program led to three very successful luncheon lectures featuring Steve Levy, COO, Ipsos; David Wills, Senior VP, Media Profile; and Terry Flynn, APR, PhD, FCPRS, MCIPR. Renowned business journalist Gordon Pitts is set to speak to us about the importance of trust in business from the perspective he has accumulated over a long and storied career. In May and June, we will launch a new webinar program which will bring professional development and education to our membership. It was also gratifying to hear that the Pint Sized Social Media concept we developed at CPRS Hamilton has been implemented in a majority of other chapters across Canada.

We also held our 25th Annual Pinnacle Awards Gala at the Casablanca Winery Inn in Grimsby on April 28, 2016. It
was a lovely evening, where we honoured the best of evidence-based public relations excellence during the beautiful ceremony and presented the Sharon Little APR Scholar Award and the Bob Deans APR Mentorship Award. Our
keynote speaker, Mike Strange, gave one of the most inspiring and motivating speeches about completing the Boxrun
— running 94 marathons in 94 days – all to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer research. Our mentorship program had another very successful year, hosting many education, networking and professional development events for our mentees and mentors. Our mentorship program is the pride of our Association and has served as a model for many other chapters across Canada as they implement formal mentorship initiatives.

We are so proud to serve on the CPRS Hamilton board, and we are grateful to all of the board members for their commitment and dedication to our chapter and our profession. Ours is a thriving, growing and fiscally well-managed society. The environment in which businesses operate has become more complex and relationships, both private and public, weigh more heavily in the achievement of business success than ever before. Public relations practitioners
are relationship, trust and reputation experts. It is the role of CPRS Hamilton to promote and raise awareness of that
expertise for the benefit of all our members. It’s a good time to be a member of CPRS Hamilton.

Alex Sévigny, PhD, APR, MCIPR and Lisa Stocco, APR
Co-Presidents, CPRS Hamilton