As members of CPRS Calgary for over three decades, Sheridan McVean and Diane Rennie have seen plenty of changes, on both a local and a global level. Amidst the ups and downs of the Calgary economy and the technological shifts in the field of public relations, however, there have been some constants, one of them being the people who make CPRS Calgary what it is.
“They are really knowledgeable, very helpful and approachable, and very kind in sharing their advice, expertise, and time,” says McVean. “There is a spirit of kindness, helpfulness, and friendship that pervades CPRS.”
McVean started attending CPRS Calgary events at the suggestion of a friend and became steadily more involved with the organization over the years, serving on the CPRS Calgary Board of Directors and on the CPRS National Accreditation Council; working on various local and national committee; and presenting at and organizing local and national conferences.
A highlight from these experiences was a presentation McVean gave at the CPRS National Conference in Kelowna on the Barcelona Principles of Measurement, a standard of PR conduct that he believes is critical to valuing and measuring the work of professionals in the field. Rennie also has fond memories of participating in conferences, having volunteered at many of them.
“Conferences take a lot of work and they are such a great way to really get to know your fellow colleagues, and those serving the profession,” she says. “It’s a special and worthwhile volunteer endeavour.”
But the value of organizations such as CPRS Calgary, Rennie and McVean agree, goes beyond hosting conferences – they’re also critical to ensuring professionalism within the industry.
“Since people without credentials, credibility, training, or ethics can claim to do public relations, standards of ethical behaviour are critical for those who are professionals,” McVean says. “We need to distance ourselves from those who do not follow or care about ethical behaviour.”
Rennie agrees with this assessment.
“CPRS and professional organizations in general play a crucial role in nurturing and maintaining professional standards, ethics and pride in our profession,” she says. “If we don’t take pride in one another and support the continual growth and quality of our practice, then why would employers? We need CPRS to provide the structure to enable our continual growth as a profession.”
The need for ethical behaviour in public relations, McVean and Rennie believe, will endure, despite what other changes might occur in the industry. But with a commitment to the former, the latter will be a lot easier to manage.
“The 60th anniversary of CPRS Calgary is a great time to reflect on the past, but also to set our sights on the future,” says McVean. “What we should do is to continually and better prepare ourselves to serve our clients and employers in this new and changing world.”