I’m still trying to figure out where 2011 went to, but New Year’s Eve will soon be here, and with it, the start of a very special year for PRSA Suburban Chicago: Our 20th Anniversary. It’s difficult to believe that it’s been 20 years since a group of professionals formed what began as the Greater O’Hare chapter.
Twenty years ago I was a young professional, fresh out of college, new to Chicago and trying to establish myself in this profession. I was gingerly feeling my way, trying to translate the lessons of my PR instructors at Illinois State University into the realities of the working world. I joined the Chicago chapter, then discovered how nearly impossible it was to get to the lunchtime programs from the suburbs. After a couple of years, I somehow stumbled across the Greater O’Hare chapter, and have never looked back. The smaller, more accessible size of our chapter has allowed me to develop leadership skills I couldn’t have in a larger organization, and introduced me to many incredible people along the way who have been friends and mentors for many years.
Thanks to the opportunity to serve as our chapter’s Assembly delegate, I’ve been privileged to see and have a voice on the direction of our profession. I’ve had the opportunity to see the future as part of Champions for PRSSA and a judge for the Bateman case study competition each April in New York. I’ve met and become friends with many luminaries of our profession, including the legendary Betsy Ann Plank, APR, Fellow PRSA; Sam Waltz, APR, Fellow PRSA, Kathy Larey Lewton, APR, Fellow PRSA, and so many more. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to others in our profession, and have listened – and learned – from the best. It’s trite to say, but what you get out of any organization is only equal to what you put into it, and I’ve gotten so much more than what I’ve contributed.
We’re going to celebrate this milestone all next year with special observances, culminating with a one-of-a-kind celebration next November 13th, in place of our usual November dinner meeting that you won’t want to miss. We have an extra special guest speaker that normally wouldn’t be speaking to our group, and having heard him speak several times over the past 25 years, I promise you a great experience. We’re going to bring back as many past presidents and as many current former members as we can find for this event, along with colleagues from the other professional communicators’ organizations in the Chicago area. So save the date, watch the newsletter and the website for additional details, and join us throughout the year at our monthly programs and socials.
Debra Bethard-Caplic, APR, MBA