Prisa plans to focus on youth
Public relations is no longer only used and useful for informing and talking to the media. The field and profession has redressed itself over time, it has evolved to a point where PR has become a reputation management function rather than only a communication tool according to Maria Dax Chairperson, PRISA Namibia. Said Dax, “for this reason we have experienced more support from PROs towards sustaining a professional institute for public relations in Namibia, our support base has grown from sixty to three hundred and five practitioners in less than one year”.
Dax is of the opinion that, “the responsibilities of PR practitioners have increased. Public relations practitioners should be part of executive management as they are an important component of an organization’s strategic management processes. The PROs contribute more and more to organizational effectiveness and they provide the greatest value to an organization when it is used strategically, and especially when an organisation faces a public reputation crisis.” “Public relations professionals do more than merely writing up press releases and build relationships with the media. They must also be familiar with the attitudes and concerns of customers, the staff, the public, and the community in order to maintain cooperative working relationships. It’s like running a democracy; it’s all about the PPPs – the People, People, People”, said Dax. Concerning PRISA’s plans for 2015, Dax said her committee has directed focus towards the youth, a focus towards creating a support base for a new culture of effective communications in Namibia. After years of trying, it has become most evident “that either senior PROs have become too comfortable and have separated themselves from the professional institute as mentors, or participants. PRISA’s strategy entails to “continue to draw senior level PROs into all parts of the institution best we can”, but to also “give more leverage to students and young PROs in the market to help shape the future of the public relations industry in Namibia”. PRISA plans to establish PRISA student chapters at institutions of higher learning in Namibia. “A longer term vision includes a mentorship programme, whereby the young interns in public relations become mentored by PR experts of industry, as to leave their legacy entrenched in the young PRO leaders of Namibia”. Dax is inviting all practising public relations (including spokespersons) in Namibia who did not join PRISA to do so. Being a member gives you a chance to advance your career through continuing professional development programmes including helping you to attain accreditation in public relations. PRISA makes sure that its members get information on current best practices and knowledge in the public relations field. One way of sharing best practices with members is by hosting PRISA networking events during the year. The first PRISA event is taking place at the Village Opera House, on, 30 January 2015. Brian Anderson of Dale Carnegie Training Southern Africa will discuss the topic: “Employee Engagement in 2015”. The main sponsor of the event is Bright! Communication, a local public relations and corporate communication consultancy.