July 2, 2018

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A Message from John Vernon - 2018 PRSA San Francisco Board President

They say time flies when you’re having fun – at PRSA-SF, we must be having a lot of fun! While 2018 sure seems to be flying quickly, I’m excited to take a few moments to reflect upon a successful first half of the year, and to look forward to everything we have in store for the second half of the year.

At our board’s kick-off retreat in January, one of the goals I expressed as Chapter President focused on trying new things this year. This is something I’ve encouraged the whole team to keep top of mind when brainstorming events, programs, and initiatives – and the team has delivered! Back in February, for example, we turned our traditional monthly networking event into a fundraiser for Larkin Street Youth Services – raising more than $1,000 from ticket sales, a fun raffle, and tips on drinks served by our board as guest bartenders. In May, as another example, we teamed up with the Oakland A’s for an amazing sports PR and journalism panel and night at the ballgame. There was also our unique Personality Types program on leveraging your uniqueness for workplace success and effective PR – and the list goes on! Six months in, trying new things will continue to be a priority for the second half of the year.

Another priority and highlight has been our Chapter’s continued commitment to Diversity & Inclusion. Quick refresher – in 2016, PRSA-SF released its first-ever D&I statement, and in 2017, we were proud to receive PRSA’s Chapter Diversity Award. D&I is a common thread among all of our events, programs, and initiatives. For example, earlier this year, in celebration of Women’s History Month, we launched PRSA-SF’s inaugural PR Woman of the Year award, recognizing a local woman whose D&I efforts have made a positive impact in the community. Check out our Q&A with this year’s honoree, Kim Bardakian, to learn more about her career and her advice for PR pros looking to focus more on D&I and grow their careers. As another example, in celebration of LGBT Pride Month, we hosted a “Meet the Media” event at the SF LGBT Center for a panel discussion on LGBT issues and how they’re being covered by journalists.

Additional highlights from the first half of 2018 include the launch of our beautiful new Chapter website, the relationships we’re building with local universities and PRSSA Chapters, some excellent progress on the APR front, the roll-out of a Chapter Satisfaction Survey, and more. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to our survey – we’re currently going through all of your feedback, which is incredibly helpful and will help us better serve our Chapter in the future.

All of these efforts wouldn’t be possible without our board’s incredible team of talented volunteers. THANK YOU, Directors and committee members, for your dedication and creativity, and for being an all-around exceptional group of people. Many thanks also to all of YOU – our members, potential members, partners, sponsors, and the larger PR community here in the Bay Area – for helping make this Chapter as active and as special as it is.

Looking ahead, we’ve got several more networking and PD opportunities, a joint “Inside the Newsroom” event with PRSA’s Silicon Valley Chapter in September, PRSA’s annual International Conference in October, and so much more. To stay up-to-date on all things PRSA-SF, make sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter, if you aren’t already subscribed.

It’s truly a privilege to serve as your Chapter President. Here’s to an exciting second half of 2018!



John Philip Vernon

2018 PRSA-SF President