Our gratitude to Hoosier Chapter Immediate Past-President Megan Bulla for contributing this outstanding summary for the ECD Chapter Spotlight Blog! It’s a large chapter both in membership and geographic area, with a long history that is only 10 years removed from the founding of PRSA! They have much to share, from their proud accomplishments to ambitions for keeping this chapter Hoosier Strong!
History of Chapter
The Public Relations Society of America Hoosier Chapter represents public relations professionals from throughout Indiana, including employees of associations, agencies, corporations, universities, nonprofits, government and independent practitioners.
We currently have 375 members. We serve the entire state of Indiana. However, the large majority of our active members are from the Central Indiana region, as well as Fort Wayne, which is 2 hours northeast of Indy.
Our Chapter’s mission is to make communications professionals smarter, better prepared, and more connected through all stages of their career.
The Hoosier Chapter was founded in 1957, ten years after the American Public Relations Association merged with the National Association of Public Relations Counselors to form PRSA. Much like our home state, the chapter has grown and changed dramatically in its 60+ years.
2019 Board Members:
President, Emily Kibling, APR, Account Director, Hirons President-Elect, Kendall Horvatich, APR, Community Engagement Director at The Arthritis Foundation Immediate Past-President, Megan Bulla, APR, Owner of Bulla Communications and Indy Brew Bus Director or Operations and Research, Jacki Faulkenstein, Freelance Practitioner Director of Finance, Tim Coxey, APR, Senior Marketing Communications Associate at Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (INHP) Director of Communications, Kristen Hay, Marketing Manager at Bloomerang Director of Member Services, Hyacinth Rucker, Digital Communications Manager at The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art Director of Membership, Deeksha Kapoor, Director of Communications, Indiana Health Care Association Director of Professional Development, Allyson Johnson, APR, Account Manager, BLASTmedia Director of Advocacy and Ethics, Linda Jackson, APR, Owner, Principal at JXN PR Ethics Chair, Melissa Geitgey, APR, Director of Marketing and Communications, Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (INHP) Assembly Delegates: Bob Schultz, APR, PRSA Fellow, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Events, Downtown Indy, Inc. Andrea Farmer, APR, Senior Vice President, Strategic Communications and Account Services Andy Klotz, APR, Director of Marketing and Promotions, WFYI Public Media
Information taken from membership survey in 2017.
Gender: 70% men, 30% women
Age: 41% Ages 45 – 59, 30% Ages 30 – 44, 20% Ages 18 – 29, 9% Ages 60+ Race: 95% White, 3% African American, 2% Prefer Not to Answer
Education: 61% Bachelor’s Degree, 34% Master’s Degree, 5% Doctorate Degree
Work: 36% Non-Profit, 19% Corporate, 13% PR Agency, 9% Government Agency/Military, 8% Self-Employed, 6% Academic, 6% Other, 1.5% Ad Agency, 1.5% Retired
Top 5 Job Responsibilities:
1) Media Relations
4) Strategic Planning
5) Social Media
The Hoosier Chapter’s most successful event each year is our Pinnacle Awards. The Pinnacle Awards are our Chapter’s annual awards program to recognize the best work in Indiana’s public relations industry. The program is open to members and non-members of all experience levels.
In addition, we offer awards for individuals and students. We typically have more than 125 attendees. On average the we net $5000 – $6000 from the event between entry fees and ticket sales. Each year we recruit a keynote speaker that serves as the award emcee, from the local media landscape.
In October 2016, Indianapolis was host to the PRSA International Conference. Pioneering U.S. astronaut Capt. Scott J. Kelly headlined an impressive list of keynote speakers and public relations industry leaders. Over full three days, more than 1,000 PR professionals and 1,000 students attended professional development sessions with 150 industry experts from all career levels, sectors, work environments and industries, and had the opportunity to connect with hundreds of colleagues from some of the world’s most influential organizations. Our proudest moment? More than 25% of our members volunteered their time and energy toward planning and implementing a successful conference. Did you set a specific goal you hope to achieve in 2019? How is it progressing?
Our top two goals in 2019:
Goal 1: Expand our chapter membership. Membership is the lifeblood of the organization, and as such, our ability to attract, retain and grow our members is in direct correlation with our real and perceived value as well as received benefits.
• Provide communications professionals at all stages of their career with the tools, resources, networking connections and leadership training to cultivate a continual environment of success
• Leverage the PRSSA pipeline by converting rising professionals to local membership
• Focus on innovative recruitment and retention tools to attract and retain members
• Leverage resources from National as a recruitment tool for membership and pair with local opportunities for continued learning and networking
• Foster a climate of purposeful inclusion where all members feel value How we are doing: The chapter hosts quarterly President’s Coffee Chats to welcome new/reinstated members to PRSA to help them become acquainted with our Chapter and become familiar with ways in which they can maximize membership benefits.
These events have proved quite successful in not only recruiting new members and making new members feel welcome but converting them to chapter volunteers. We are currently up 5 members since the end of 2018.
Goal #2: To provide enriching professional growth opportunities Engage and connect members with cutting – edge resources to enable greater career discovery and exploration. Strategies:
• Expand current professional development programming by creating more relevant, timely content
• Provide programming that adapts to the evolving roles OF public relations practitioners
• Establish partnerships with multi-disciplinary organizations to provide cross training opportunities
• Encourage and support members to earn credentials that enhance professional credibility
How we are doing:
Using 2017-member survey data, the chapter developed a list of future topics which we continue to use to shape our chapter programming. After reviewing feedback from our chapter members that stated networking is a top membership value, we decided to put a heavier emphasis on networking opportunities. We are in our third year of our changed model that moved our monthly professional development luncheons to every other month, still delivering the same quality material and providing opportunities for networking, but moving from 12 to six per year.
During the opposite months of our luncheons, we host networking event with varying locations and times; however, the events still continue to occur on the second Wednesday of the month. Member feedback has shown that we have reached a broader member-base by moving to this model since the networking events are typically moved outside of the luncheon hour.
Therefore, chapter members that cannot commit to a two-hour luncheon in the middle of the day, could attend a morning networking session over coffee, or an after-hours networking event. We have also planned these networking events in different areas of town. In the past, almost all events took place downtown. We hosted some in the suburbs to cater to those professionals that work outside of the downtown area.
Relationship building has also increased as the networking sessions typically offer an activity which allows getting to know someone outside of a luncheon setting (ie yoga class, brewery tour, service project, etc.)
Bio/Preferred Contact Info: Megan Bulla, APR. 2018 Hoosier Chapter President. I have been a PRSA member since 2006. I have served on the Hoosier Chapter Board since 2015. Prior to that I was the founding President of the IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis) in 2005.
I am a solo practitioner, in addition to owning a local tourism-based business based in the craft beer industry. firstname.lastname@example.org