It’s hard to believe we are already one month into our year together. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting five chapters already since being sworn in as your State President and I can tell you there is a great buzz out there about FPRA.
Over the past year, I’ve been in regular contact with your new Chapter Presidents and I’m very pleased with the work they are doing with their boards to build a great year of professional development and networking opportunities for you, our members. In addition, our state Executive Committee recently wrapped up its strategic planning retreat in late September. The group has strong goals set and are also focusing on the long-term strategic plans of our Association.
Ultimately, our Association is only as strong as our members. The more you invest into the Association and our profession, the stronger we all become. By now, you should have received your membership renewal letter in the mail. We could have easily used my electronic signature and had it done in a few hours, but like I said in last month’s column, we are family and it’s personal. It was a privilege to be able to personally sign each letter. Taking that time to sign over 1,000 letters is a special part of being able to serve as your President. I valued the opportunity to sit in my kitchen and read over each letter to see whose letter I was signing, what chapter they were with and where they worked. It built a connection for me with each of you and I look forward to visiting each chapter over the next year and putting names with faces.
As I said at Annual Conference, joining FPRA 12 years ago has made me a better professional. It’s given me a balance that I never thought I could find. Yes, I work a lot of hours and still push my limits at times, but I’ve learned from our professional development opportunities, like our monthly luncheons, free webinars for members and Annual Conference, how to stay up to date on our profession and deal with the changes in our industry, which has made me more productive. I’ve also found mentors in our Association that are always there for me when I have a question or need advice. Again, you get out of FPRA what you put in to it. I encourage you to jump in and talk with members of your local board to see how you can help. Whether it is volunteering for a committee, helping with a fundraiser or even just talking with new members and helping bring new guests to meetings. Every little thing serves a purpose and builds to a bigger plan.
I’m looking forward to a great year together. I encourage you to renew your membership in FPRA this month before your membership expires on October 31. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or ideas you may have for the Association. I want to hear from you.
Ryan Gerds, APR, CPRC
Florida Public Relations Association