PRSA Silicon Valley #FridayForums a Finalist for Ragan PR Daily Thought Leadership Comms Award

November 24, 2021
PRSA Silicon Valley #FridayForums a Finalist for Ragan PR Daily Thought Leadership Comms Award

Chapter Reaches Nationwide Audience with 60 Thought Leadership Events Promoted through Weekly Newsletters, Social Media, Podcasts and Feature Articles

SILICON VALLEY, November 23, 2021  – PRSA Silicon Valley (PRSA-SV), part of the nation’s largest professional organization serving the communications community, announced that it is a finalist in the Thought Leadership Communications category in Ragan’s PR Daily Awards competition. Entrants represent the organizations, communications teams and agencies who created engaging and beneficial campaigns, projects, initiatives and content that led to success for their organizations or clients. The 12 finalists include major corporations such as Capital One, Deloitte Global, DHL, Philip Morris International, Prudential Financial and VMware, plus several major PR agencies. PRSA-SV is the only volunteer-driven organization to be selected. Winners will be announced in December.

#FridayForums Counter COVID Isolation

Last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced communicators to shelter in place, some PRSA chapters across the nation went dark. The Silicon Valley Chapter stepped up to offer tailored peer group experiences and provide camaraderie, connection, and support not just to its members in the San Francisco Bay Area but to communicators nationwide.

“We knew many PR and communications professionals felt isolated and dispirited. PRSA-SV Chapter leaders responded to the need to support not only our members, but communications professionals nationwide. Our goal was to connect our fellow communicators and keep them informed by giving them access to thought leaders who were making a difference and could inspire during this unprecedented time,” said PRSA-SV Chapter President Vanessa Yanez.

60 #FridayForums Reach 5,000 Comms Professionals Nationwide

To provide a forum for communications professionals to exchange ideas and experiences, in March 2020 PRSA-SV launched #FridayForum, a one-hour virtual series featuring compelling thought leaders offering advice on navigating the important and timely topics The events are free to attend and are broadcast on Zoom and on the group’s Facebook page.  

The #FridayForum team is composed entirely of volunteers who manage the execution, marketing and communications of the events. In addition 36 PRSA-SV executive board members, directors-at-large, executive advisors and agency partners help to recruitspeakers, serve as moderators, and promote #FridayForums to their communities and associates.. A weekly PRSA-SV email newsletter informs subscribers of upcoming events and provides recaps and insights on speakers.

“Every week, we have used our #FridayForums to educate and discuss topics that are of value to communicators at every level.  We offer practical career advice and information that inspires them to take action. Our guests have come from a wide range of industries, and audience questions are always welcome. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished.” said PRSA-SV #FridayForum Executive Producer Karen Smyth.

The Chapter estimates that the 60+  #FridayForums it has produced over the last two years have reached more than 5,000 communications professionals who registered to attend the events on Zoom, and thousands more of its 1.2K Facebook Group Page members who watch the events on Facebook Live. #FridayForums have featured:

– Media thought leaders providing tips on how to work with the press, including national-Emmy-winning TV news reporter Joe Vasquez, Bloomberg Sr. Exec Brad Stone, Bloomberg Tech Reporter Sarah Frier, Beverly Hills PR Pro Howard Bragman, TED Tech Curator Simone Ross, CNET’s Connie Gugliemo, Dow Jones Reporter Jon Swartz, Eric Newcomer, HARO Founder Peter Shankman and PRvoke Media Aarti Shaw.

– Data and survey thought leaders from Morning Consult, Early Warning, Digital Strategist Cindy Waters and Demonstrate CCO Sean Kidd who revealed the importance of collecting, analzying and reporting statistics, and prominent PR agency thought leaders from Edelman Worldwide, Brodeur, Bospar, Porter Novelli and Roku who gave insights on PR agency life.

– Volunteer organization thought leaders such as UNICEF USA CMO Shelley Diamond, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative COO Abby Lunardini and the LAGRANT Foundation CEO Kim Hunter who shared how the pandemic was affecting American priorities and perceptions.

– “How I Got Here” #FridayForums featuring communications leaders helping PR and communications professionals broaden their networks and build relationships in a virtual world. To uplift those looking for work or exploring a career change, leaders from recruitment agencies, freelance agencies and corporate HR teams from Amazon, HP and other major corporations discussed employment resources. And professionals from USF, USC, SJSU, and other universities provided advice to college students whose internships were canceled due to shelter-in-place restrictions.

– Inspirational guests discussed mental health issues such as “How to Hold True to Core Values in Times of Crisis,” “Living Untethered as the Result of Covid-19.”  Additionally, the #FridayForum addressed important cultural issues, including the 2020 presidential election, DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), ageism and ending Anti-Asian hate.

Thought Leadership Inspires Communicators to Give Back

PRSA-SV promotes #FridayForums in its weekly newsletter emailed to 2,000 subscribers a week. In addition being available to watch on-demand on Facebook, this summer the Chapter created podcasts of the events on Apple, Buzzsprout and Spotify. To further leverage the content, in 2021, PRSA-SV board members contributed ten thought leadership articles that have been published in PR Daily.

“Thought Leadership doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Our content marketing goal is to reach as wide an audience as possible. The benefits are incredible. In addition to inspiring communicators nationwide, we’ve seen a significant uptick in community involvement as professionals seek new ways to give back,” said PRSA-SV Newsletter Editor Mar Junge.

For example, in April 2021, PRSA-SV raised nearly $70,000 for a new diversity and multicultural scholarship endowment – more than tripling its original $20,000 fundraising goal in less than 48 hours. The annual scholarship endowment will continue to recognize Bay Area students for outstanding academic achievement and commitment to the practice of PR for decades to come. The Chapter is also training a new generation of thought leaders; so far this year, it has matched 40 mentors and mentees.

“Our PRSA Silicon Valley family is stronger than ever with new and reinforced relationships across the nation. We are increasing value for professionals at all career stages while building the most diverse PR community in the chapter’s history,” said Yanez. “In 2022, we will continue to inspire our board members, agencies and partners to share their thought leadership as we address the most pressing issues facing our industry and its communicators.”

Media Contact:

Laura Desmarais

(m) 207.590.7193

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