PRSA Charlotte

The Lead |January 2021

President's Letter

Hello, everyone! And Happy New Year!
If you've had a first of the year experience like me, it's probably not feeling so new anymore. And with COVID cases continuing to rise, I think we can all agree that while we hope 2021 is different than 2020, it's going to be anything but normal.
For PRSA Charlotte, the good news is that we have a strong Board and volunteer base ready to rise to the challenge! Like PRSA nationally, throughout 2021, PRSA Charlotte will be focused on "building a bridge to post-COVID." This means that our approach to planning, programming, engagement and delivering value this year will acknowledge that we'll be in a continued altered and mostly if not all virtual environment. Yet, we will put the groundwork in place to help our chapter return to a more "normal" operating status as the world hopefully emerges from the COVID crisis.
There are many exciting plans underway across each of the areas that PRSA Charlotte touches from New Pros, to the Queen City PR Awards and much more. Rising to the top are a few strategic areas of focus for the year that I want to share with you: 
  • Doubling Down on Member Value: Now, more than ever, it's imperative that PRSA Charlotte drives value for members. We know that many have had employment challenges over the past year and for many than didn't, their organizations may be changing their approach to funding professional development. We know this means more members are paying dues personally and that the need to see ROI is greater than ever. Throughout the year, you will see new approaches to delivering member value come to life, which make this ROI clear. There's immense value in PRSA Charlotte and we want each of our members to experience that.
  • DE&I: A Strategic Imperative: The events of the past year that underscored the critical importance of creating communities of inclusion whether that's at home, at work or in other forums. As we all partner to help our society progress forward, PRSA Charlotte will have a strategic focus on ensuring that diversity, equity and inclusion is woven into the fabric of everything we do. I'm very excited that we have a very active D&I Committee in place, and I look forward to their leadership.  
  • Programming for the Future: As we continue virtually, we'll continue to reimagine programming, including our renowned Symposium [link to Symposium page]. The Symposium is on for the year virtually! And more information is forthcoming. You'll also see some enhancements coming to our "Connect Over Coffees" as we evolve these forums into strategic opportunities for ongoing connectivity to those in most similar roles to you for best practice sharing and networking. I hope you can join us for our first program of the year [link to registration page], coming up soon! 
I share these with you to invite you in, to join us in bringing each of these areas of life, and I ask for your participation and support across the chapter. It's our job as a Board and volunteer base to deliver value for members. As a member, it's your role to ensure you make the most of your PRSA experience. I encourage you to do that. The value that PRSA - and particularly PRSA Charlotte provides is immense. I'll share with you in a future newsletter my personal PRSA Charlotte value story. Until then, I encourage you to think about ways to get involved and reach
out. If you're not sure where to start, you are welcome to contact any member of the Board or Committee Chair, and you are always more than welcome to reach out to me with feedback and ideas.
On behalf of the Board, we are honored to serve you this year and look forward to many exciting things to come!

Erin DeWaters, APR
PRSA Charlotte President

Upcoming Events

January Program

Let's face it. It's been a hard year.

If you're a content creator or a communications professional, you've likely been in crisis mode for months. You may have been generating content at an unbelievable pace without having the time to figure out whether it's working and how to make it even better in 2021.

Stop. Take a breath. We're bringing in expert help to walk us through lessons learned and how we can use that information to re-connect with our audiences.

Steven Norris is director of the media relations and social media program at Georgia Tech. Since Steven took the position, Georgia Tech's social media program has been ranked the top college in America on Twitter by the World100 Reputation Network and the #3 college nationwide on Facebook by RivalIQ. Under Steven's guidance, Georgia Tech's Facebook reaches 3 million users monthly, and the Twitter account generates 2.5 million monthly impressions.

On Wednesday, Jan. 27, Steven will share key information to help shape your content generation in 2021 and beyond. Plus, he'll provide concrete ways to simplify that process and maximize results.

Don't miss this premier program that will provide great insight, as well as real tips you can use immediately to refocus your content. Register here.

Save the Date for our Upcoming Members-Only Happy Hours
Mark your calendars now to join your fellow PRSA Charlotte members for a little bit of fun. More information will be sent through invitations. We hope to see you there!
  • Thursday, Jan. 21
  • Thursday, Feb. 18
  • Thursday, March 18
  • Thursday, April 15
All happy hours are from 5:30-6:30 p.m. 

For more information and to RSVP:

PRSA Charlotte Member Spotlight
Cheron Porter, MA, APR; Vice President for Public Relations,  INLIVIAN

As the senior vice president for public relations at INLIVIAN, Cheron Porter oversees all aspects of communications for the organization formally known as the Charlotte Housing Authority. She recently led a complete rebranding of the 80-year-old agency, and her team was awarded the NAGC Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards Award of Excellence for both Brand Identity and Graphic Design for their efforts. She also recently assumed the role of co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for PRSA Charlotte. Get to know Cheron a little more in the Q&A below.

When did you start working in communications?
I began my career in communication right after freshman year of college. I went to James Madison University to study mass communications and I wasn't eligible to get an internship for credit, so I volunteered at a public access television station. I'm not sure how much I learned, but you couldn't tell me I wasn't on a Hollywood film set. I'm pretty sure someone was just doing a favor for my mom, but if I didn't already have the bug, I was a goner then. The following summer I would intern at an unpaid 40-hour-a-week internship at CNN headquarters. I was broke and happy! Oh, to be 20 again.

What's your current role and what does a "typical" day look like for you?
I don't have a typical day. As much as I want to be in control of my day, that's not always the case.  Anything can happen from editing video, to editing photography, to writing a script for a commercial, to graphic design, to making sure our staff is maintaining brand standards, to project managing an upcoming event, to preparing talking points for our CEO to give a presentation. Most of that happened on Thursday.

What are you most proud of accomplishing professionally recently? And why?
I am proud of leading a renaming and rebranding campaign for the agency. The agency made the decision to change its name after 80 years of being known as the Charlotte Housing Authority, now INLIVIAN. There were a lot of stakeholders that needed to be involved and feel included throughout the process. I was really happy that I got to use the RPIE method. In public relations, we don't always get the financial support or the understanding from leadership as to why all those steps are necessary. At times, it was definitely stressful and felt overwhelming, with all of the people we had to keep happy, but we did it and we won national awards for branding and graphic design.

Why did you decide to pursue your APR? What value did you believe it would add to your career?
I've worked in the housing industry for the past 13 years between two different agencies and metropolitan cities. These experiences have stretched me as a communications professional, more than graduate school, but I needed to know for myself that I was confident in my skills. I wanted to know that no matter what environment, or industry, I was placed in, I could thrive and rise to any occasion put before me. Getting the APR absolutely gave me that confidence.

Why are you a member of PRSA?
I once attended a PRSA meeting in another city, and quite frankly, it was pretty weak. When I got invited to attend PRSA Charlotte's meeting, I was impressed with the quality of speakers at our luncheon, the resources that were provided and the commitment to making sure that our members were the best public relations professionals possible. I've learned a lot of really great tools and perspectives by attending our luncheons. I wanted to be associated with that level of professionalism. It doesn't hurt that some of my very dear friends are members as well and it's a great opportunity for us to have lunch together.

What is a fun fact about you, professionally or personally, that would surprise people?
I have had an accountability partner for the last nine years and having this relationship has enabled me to reach so many of my personal goals, not the least of which was the APR. We got so much interest from people after telling our story that we launched our own business called The Accountability Queens. Today, we help people identify their ideal accountability partner and give them tools to have a successful accountable relationship.  We do a live FB and YouTube show on Saturdays at 6 p.m. Feel free to check us out. FB @TheAccountabilityQueens Insta @accountability_queens. 


Membership - Don't Forget About Your National Benefits

PRSA National connects you to a network of over 21,000 professionals through local and regional communities, high-quality events and industry-specific groups. Members receive access to a suite of tools that foster professional development and enhance career growth.

PRSA Helps You Become Smarter, Better Prepared and More Connected

Better Prepared  More Connected
Partnership with Johnson C. Smith University
PRSA Charlotte is excited about a new opportunity to connect with public relations students at Johnson C. Smith University. We will engage, support and mentor these dynamic young people as they prepare for a career in the public relations profession. We look forward to collaborating with JCSU leaders to develop a robust 2021 program. Activities we discussed include resume and interview preparation as well as exposing students to the various career opportunities that exist in the industry.

This new collaboration aligns with our Education Partnership initiative and this HBCU would be our first.

News You Can Use
Are you looking for a new job?
Please check out the PRSA Charlotte Job Bank. Open to opportunities outside of Charlotte? You can review communication roles throughout the country here.

Have a Shout Out to share with us?
Do you have great news to share? Did you get a promotion or change jobs? Did your team win an award, or did you win recognition for volunteer efforts? Let us know! Click here to share your great news with us, so we can consider featuring it here in the PRSA Charlotte newsletter or on social media. Learn more here.


Thank you to our 2021 Chapter Partners:

Silver Partner

PRSA Charlotte
PO Box 35442
Charlotte, NC 28235
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