CPRS Manitoba had its annual general meeting yesterday at which a new board was elected with John Hamilton as president. That means my two year term is up and I move into the pasture of past presidency. I really enjoyed my time as president of CPRS Manitoba and I know the organization will do very well in the future. Here’s my report to members:
Adam Dooley, president
This year is the 50th anniversary of CPRS Manitoba and I’m pleased to report that the chapter is stronger than ever before with a growing membership, a healthy bank account and very bright prospects for the future.
Last year at this time we were coming off the success of our On the Verge conference, ready to take on new challenges to keep our momentum going as one of the fastest growing and most innovative chapters in the country. Since then, we’ve continued to increase our membership, our financial position grew even stronger and we launched the first ever Manitoba Communicator of the Year award to celebrate excellence in communications.
The Communicator of the Year award was the centerpiece of our 50th anniversary celebrations. Awarded during a luncheon in February this year, the award attracted an outstanding field of nominees and deserved attention to both our chapter and to our profession. Our inaugural winners were Gail Asper and Kim Jasper who together lead the communications efforts for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The museum promises to be our province’s crown jewel, cementing Canada’s place in the global community as a centre for peace, tolerance and multiculturalism. I can’t imagine a better choice for our inaugural award.
Our chapter is very well positioned for more growth as it embarks on its next 50 years. The role of communications continues to rise in importance in public, private and non-profit sectors, and CPRS Manitoba is helping to advance the profession and the professionals who work in it.
Our goals for the year remained consistent with years past. First and foremost, we wanted to continue to demonstrate that CPRS Manitoba is the leading organization for public relations and communications professionals in the province. The principal way we have aimed to achieve this goal is by delivering value to our members by providing quality professional development events, by employing good member communications, and by being promoting the added value of being members of the national CPRS.
In addition to the Communicator of the Year Award, our chapter ran a highly successful and well-attended series of luncheons, staged a professional development seminar, and built on already solid relationships with our province’s two main public relations education programs at Red River College and the University of Winnipeg.
We reach out to Red River and the U of W by providing scholarships to each program’s top PR student. We also invite PR students to sit on our board of directors and act as liaison between their schools and CPRS. This is the third year in a row that our student directors organized a special event to bring senior CPRS members into the classroom so students have a chance to learn from their professional experiences.
We also made a few furtive steps to reach out to communications professionals outside of Winnipeg. It is my hope that the contacts we’ve made will in the years to come blossom into more activities and a growing membership from outside the perimeter highway.
Our board of directors continues to make improvements to our member communications with a high quality newsletter, regular email bulletins and our website. We have also been actively participating on committees at the national level, helping pave the way for new professional development opportunities, better national programs and a new national job bank.
We could not have staged last year’s conference or the Communicator of the Year luncheon without the generous support of our sponsors. Both Marketwire and CNW Group have been enthusiastic supporters of our chapter and I thank them for their support and for the leadership they are each showing in Canadian public relations circles.
I’m also pleased to note that Marketwire has agreed to return in 2009 as title sponsor of the Communicator of the Year award. At the same time, our chapter continues to enjoy warm relations with CNW Group and we look forward to working with it on future events as well.
I was very pleased to accept two major awards on behalf of CPRS Manitoba at the national CPRS conference in Edmonton last June. We received an award for membership growth for chapters under 75 members. We also received the Lectern Award which is given to the Member Society demonstrating the greatest advancement in its purpose and goals through membership growth, meeting attendance, development of Member Society sponsored educational programs, initiation of PR for PR activities, and growth in accreditation. Together both awards brought us $1,500. Your board decided to use that money to help celebrate our 50th anniversary, first with the staging of the Communicator of the Year Award and also by offering free luncheon passes to members.
The last two years as President have been very satisfying professionally and personally. I was privileged to be at the head of the table during a time of great growth and success for our chapter. Our finances are stronger than ever; we have more members than ever; and we are fulfilling our role as the premier professional association for Manitoba communicators better than ever.
The main reason for this success has been our board. This chapter has been graced with successive boards of great skill, dedication and energy. None of our success would be possible without their tireless efforts. They deserve our chapter’s thanks and will always have my highest esteem. Thanks go to each member of this year’s board for their great support and industry:
Brenda Jasper, Vice-President
Adele Stevens, Past President
John Hamilton, Treasurer
Siobhan Kari, Secretary
Shawna Forester, Membership
Everett Martin, Communications
Breanne Talbot, Communications
Lee Crawford, Programming
Pam Gramiak, Programming
Jennifer Verch, Professional Development
Terry Aseltine, Accreditation
Linda Warkentin, Student Director, University of Winnipeg
Finally, I thank our members for their support during my tenure as President. I have enjoyed my term immensely in large part thanks to all of you. I like our chats at our luncheons and have always appreciated the encouraging emails and phone calls that came my way. I look forward to maintaining the relationships begun here at CPRS in the years to come.
I also look forward to what the future holds for our chapter. The incoming board, led by John Hamilton, is filled with a good mix of veterans and new faces, all of whom will bring their considerable skills and experiences to work for our mutual benefit. I wish them the best of luck and know our chapter is in excellent hands.