As part of a new blog series here at The Agency, we have been reaching out to notable communications professionals to chat with them about their experiences in the industry. For our new edition of ‘Questions for the PR Industry’ we spoke with Janice Robertson, the President the Canadian Public Relations Society, Calgary.
Janice Robertson, MCS, APR, CPRS
President, Canadian Public Relations Society, Calgary
Why do you work in PR?
I have always been passionate about communication. My first career was in theatre. There I learned the power of storytelling and how important it is to know your audience and make the story matter through the use of language, timing and emphasis so they will hear the key messages, remember them, and possibly act upon them. Once I qualified and started working in public relations, I realized that communication and the power of the story lives at the root of the practice. Public relations, however, has to live in reality and align in every way with the organization’s brand, reputation and mission to be effective. I have loved the challenges of this work!
What do you see as the future direction of the industry?
Public relations/communication management is now nearly universally accepted as a key result area for any organization, large or small in any of the sectors. The future for PR is very bright. We no longer feel we are struggling for acceptance and that elusive “seat at the Board table.” There’s still work to be done but thanks to a well-defined body of knowledge now being taught up to the PhD level and to the proven power of strategic communication planning that runs parallel to every business plan, I am excited about what’s to come.
What PR initiative have you done that you are you most proud of?
Rather than just one initiative, I would answer that I am most proud of the times I was called upon in “bad” situations (risk and/or crisis) to help the organizations I worked for to survive and, when possible, to maintain public trust when there was a risk it could have been lost. I think it is these times, as difficult as they can be, that timely and ethical communication is absolutely critical. This is when the real “bottom line” value of public relations can be demonstrated, especially when the organization trusts the PR manager to get the job done.
Thank you, Janice!
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