Chalk it up to Minnesota humility. Despite the immense public relations wisdom and experience present during a recent Minnesota Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) “Breakfast with the Fellows” event, there was an air in the room of helping one another and advancing the public relations profession.
“I’m old, retired and insignificant,” joked Lowell F. Ludford, APR, Fellow PRSA, during the introduction.
The event featured six Minnesota PRSA members who are members of the PRSA College of Fellows, considered the pinnacle of a professional’s career.
Besides Ludford, other members of the panel included:
- Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA
- James Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA
- Rose McKinney, APR, Fellow PRSA
- Douglas K. Spong, APR, Fellow PRSA
- David Therkelsen, APR, Fellow PRSA
Panelists took both a look back at their experiences and offered glimpses into the public relations field’s future.
When asked what advice they would give to a younger version of themselves, Hennen said to stay true to yourself and your values. Ludford emphasized the importance of educating your client’s colleagues about the value of public relations.
“The ability to reinvent yourself every so often is important,” Spong said when discussing trends in the public relations field. “Be relevant as the world around you changes.”
Therkelsen, one of a small number of public relations practitioners who have gone on to CEO positions, said, “Some of the fundamentals will stay the same. You still need to think about stakeholders.”
The panelists also provided recommendations to attendees on how to develop leadership skills, including:
- Study and read about leadership; Spong recommended any books by Stephen E. Ambrose.
- Ask for help within your organization.
- Get involved in PRSA.
- Strive to be a PRSA Fellow.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), attendees who have earned their accreditation were recognized.
In addition, the event served as an opportunity for 2014 Minnesota PRSA Chapter President Anna Lewicki Long, APR, to hand over the reins to 2015 Chapter President Joel Swanson, APR.