Friday, June 17, 2011

PPRA Annual Meeting: Meet the Mayor

Every year, PPRA members look forward to the organization's final event of the year, the Annual Meeting. This highly-attended event draws some of Philadelphia's finest public relations professionals to network, listen to speakers, honor award winners and vote on PPRA's new board of directors.

Mayor Nutter speaking at PPRA's Annual Meeting
This year's Annual Meeting theme was Meet the Mayor. Attendees had the opportunity to listen to Mayor Nutter, his Chief Spokesperson Mark McDonald and his Director of Communications Desiree Peterkin Bell.

McDonald spoke about how he spends much of his time writing speeches and speaking with the media on behalf of Mayor Nutter. Since McDonald came from a journalism background, he feels that he is able to better understand the media's wants and needs when it comes to building a story.

A few minutes later, Peterkin Bell took to the podium. Impressive fun fact about Peterkin Bell: she has worked for four mayors in her career, including working for Mayor Bloomberg in the years after 9/11. Peterkin Bell then took the opportunity to explain her role in the administration as compared to McDonald. She explained that McDonald is truly the voice of the mayor, while her role as Director of Communications involves overseeing strategy for the entire administration.

Peterkin Bell received applause when she said that PR/communication professionals need to be at the table when decisions are being made in their companies. She also added that PR professionals should be involved in the implementation of those decisions from the very beginning. As PR and communication pros, this is certainly something we can all cheer for!

After hearing from McDonald and Peterkin Bell, President Beth Archer presented the PPRA archives to a
Cathy Engle, Dr. Jean Brodey and Brodey Award Winner Rachel Santella
representative from the Temple University Library. Next, Archer turned the microphone over to Jill Flanagan who thanked the Philly PRoactive teams who offered pro bono PR services to two Philadelphia non-profits: Rock to the Future and Girls, Inc.

Shortly following, Archer presented two PPRA awards. The Dr. Jean Brodey Student Achievement Award went to Drexel University student Rachel Santella. The PPRA Fast Track Award went to Darren Behuniak. Stay tuned to the blog later this month for interviews with both award winners!

PPRA's 2011-2012 Board of Directors
Finally, the PPRA membership voted for PPRA's 2011-2012 Board of Directors. Congratulations to the new Board!

Between multiple useful events, launching a blog, developing a mentorship program and providing several opportunities for members to continue advancing their careers, PPRA certainly had an incredible year.

Since this was the last PPRA event of the year, please share your favorite PPRA member in the comments. 

*Photo credits: Bonnie Squires

This blog post was written by Jessica Lawlor. Jessica currently works on the public affairs team at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia. She serves as PPRA's social media chair and blog editor.

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