The response to my appointment as the president of PRISA was remarkable, as I take over the reins at a time when the industry requires pointed direction, greater organisation, enhancement of standards and a greater understanding of the essence of the public relations and communication profession.

At the heart of progress has been our ability to collaborate on common causes, and standing on the shoulders of those who came before us, while planting seeds for the next generation. Working together requires a profound mutual understanding, which extends to a well-informed comprehension of our cultural diversity. Communication is the glue that binds the relationships we form; therefore, it can be argued that it is at the heart of the progress of organisations and humanity.

This augments the gravity of our responsibility to organise the industry, united behind standards, that will establish fertile ground for the public relations and communication profession to add value, manifest a mutual understanding with the public at large and command a profound sense of mutual respect with stakeholders.

A few challenges that have inhibited the advancement of the industry include the low barriers to entry in the industry. This is amplified by the lack of the widespread uptake of PR and communications agencies and practitioners joining a professional body as a screening mechanism to authenticate the bona fides of agencies and practitioners.

Furthermore, in their interactions with PRISA, some agencies have expressed concerns regarding some of the tight timelines to bid for contracts and requests for strategies as a part of proposals without remuneration, compromising their bottom line as well as their creative capacity to execute the proposals.

A general understanding of the value of the industries is often inadequate. Consequently, PRISA would be required to develop a broader understanding of the profession’s influence in society and the measuring tools available to evaluate milestones.

Therefore, as president of PRISA, my plan is to:

  • organise the industry and increase individual membership by amplifying the institute's presence throughout the lengths and breadths of Southern Africa. This will be done through our head office and regional structures, ensuring that PRISA offers real value to its members.
  • enhance the efforts to increase membership of PR consultancies and maintain close relationships with them by establishing a structure of consultancies that will advise the board.
  • encourage greater cooperation with institutions of higher learning to improve the relevance of the PR and communications curricula.
  • reach agreements with the public and private sector to broaden member benefits, conduct skill audits and make PRISA membership a favourable asset when accessing employment and business opportunities in the PR and communications profession.
  • endorse the Barcelona Principles as the industry-standard measurement tool.
  • nurture relationships between the PR and communications industry and all communication-related sectors through periodic engagements.

We extend our gratitude to the previous leaders in the profession who have reached significant milestones. Our role will be to carry the baton and deliver results that will benefit future generations.

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