‘Business as usual’ as PRIA issues call for replacements for national board positions

PRIA logoThe newly installed national president of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) Mike Watson has issued a call to its membership to become more involved in the industry body, following the resignation of most of its national board earlier this week.

In a note sent to PRIA members today, Watson acknowledges the departure of former deputy national president Cara Burke, treasurer Phil Bursfurd and former national president Nicolas Turner along with five other representatives. He then states replacements will be named in the next week and urges PRIA members to step up for some of the vacancies on both a state and national level.

“The National Board and councils in each state and territory are made up of very hard working and dedicated volunteers…  Some state and territory representatives have decided to step down from the National Board at this time,” wrote Watson.

“There is a clear process in our constitution for your local division to appoint replacement representatives, and there are meetings in states and territories across the country this week and next, to identify and confirm your new National Board of representatives.” 

The new PRIA national head then goes on to urge members to step up:

If you are interested in playing a representative role in the Institute, I encourage you to make inquiries through your division.

Some members have already stepped forward and you’re most welcome to do the same. (Bold in original email)

The move comes as Interim CEO Catriona Barry also issued a media statement saying it was “business as usual” at the public relations body.

In a statement issued by PRIA this afternoon the organisation said was ‘business as usual':

Interim CEO, Catriona Barry said its ‘business as usual’ at the PRIA national office, as the industry body continues to provide the range of quality services members have become accustomed to in the last year…

“My role at PRIA has always been an interim role and my departure has been planned for some time” said Barry.

“I am currently working on finding a permanent CEO.  I wish Mike Watson and the Institute every success and am confident that there is ample depth within our 2,000 strong membership base to fill the gap caused by recent departures.”

The en masse departure of the PR national board came about after the election of Watson as president last week.

He replaced former national president Terri-Helen Gaynor who chose not to re-contest the election for national president when it became clear that members of the PRIA Registered Consultancy Group and College of Fellows were voting for Watson.

Watson’s full email can be read below:

I’m writing to thank the vast number of members from across Australia for sending their support and vocally endorsing me to become PRIA’s new National President last Friday. Many of you have sent me notes offering your support and I am invigorated by your positive energy. Thank you kindly.

A democratically run organisation such as PRIA, relies upon and is strengthened by the contributions and support of its diverse membership – we all come from a wonderful variety of professional experiences in the public relations and communication industry.

As your new National President, here’s what I strongly support:

  • Working on returning PRIA to financial sustainability;
  • Delivering an engaging and valuable training and event program at a local and national level;
  • Nurturing professional education and training opportunities; and
  • Ensuring that the fast-paced world we work in is supportive of our professional requirements.

Over the next 12 months let’s build upon this and ensure that we are all properly consulted about proposed changes and encouraged to make the most of membership in our Institute.

The National Board and councils in each state and territory are made up of very hard working and dedicated volunteers. Each year as part of the AGM process, these representatives review their commitments to balance their professional workload with their volunteer commitments. Some state and territory representatives have decided to step down from the National Board at this time.

There is a clear process in our constitution for your local division to appoint replacement representatives, and there are meetings in states and territories across the country this week and next, to identify and confirm your new National Board of representatives. If you are interested in playing a representative role in the Institute, I encourage you to make inquiries through your division. Some members have already stepped forward and you’re most welcome to do the same.

The incoming National Board will encompass a variety of skills including; diversity, industry experience and knowledge. It is also helpful when representatives have rigorous technical expertise in finance and experience on previous boards. The renewed National Board will be meeting next week and I will send you the details as soon as that process is completed.

We will be reviewing the accreditation, copyright and policy programs, the current financial and membership scenario, as well as processes to connect all our expert committees. Furthermore, we are preparing to launch the PoweR Day event series starting in March and the Golden Target Awards for 2014 later in July.  It’s a full and busy agenda, but we welcome your input as members. Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with me via (info@pria.com.au) or through your local division.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Watson FPRIA

PRIA’s full media statement can be read below:

Interim CEO, Catriona Barry said its “business as usual” at the PRIA national office, as the industry body continues to provide the range of quality services members have become accustomed to in the last year.

Following the Institute’s Extraordinary General Meeting last week, the newly elected President, Michael Watson, is supporting a number of State Divisions to appoint new state representatives to our National Board.

Ms Barry said there are a lot of successes on which to build. The National Conference in Adelaide was a huge success last year; it was quickly followed by a very popular Sydney Summer School in January which is now in its second year. The focus of a very dedicated staff has now turned to the PRIA PoweR days which will feature outstanding industry specialists providing professional development to various levels of membership.

“My role at PRIA has always been an interim role and my departure has been planned for some time” said Barry. “I am currently working on finding a permanent CEO.  I wish Mike Watson and the Institute every success and am confident that there is ample depth within our 2,000 strong membership base to fill the gap caused by recent departures.”

Ms Barry thanked outgoing directors for their hard work and in particular outgoing President Terri-Helen Gaynor for her dedication and contributions to the PRIA.

With a range of webinars for the year ahead, the introduction of the PRIA online newsroom and the Golden Target Awards heading into its 38th year, it looks like a very busy year ahead for the PRIA.

Nic Christensen 

Comments


  1. Jack B. Nimble
    12 Feb 14
    3:28 pm

  2. Shouldn’t your heading be ‘Business as usual’, not ‘‘Business and usual’?

  3. Nicole Webb
    12 Feb 14
    3:35 pm

  4. Not everybody agreed with the tough love of 2013 but some hard decisions had to be made. In an industry where everybody has an opinion, it’s hard not to ruffle a few feathers! I congratulate TH and Catriona for their perseverance and steering our industry body towards a positive future. Focus now needs to return to the members. This is a great industry and I look forward to supporting the PRIA in 2014.

  5. hmmm
    17 Feb 14
    3:51 pm

  6. as a casual observer, (not in the PR industry) this just looks like a shambles..