The 31 leaders of the National Capital Chapter of PR Society of America in 2014 will include 25 who are Accredited, although only about 20% of the 1,190 members of the chapter are APR.

Fourteen of the 15 Assembly delegates are APR, although no more than three should be if the chapter is to claim that the delegation represents the membership.

NCC has 15 delegates because the chapter represents all national members in its area (D.C. and parts of Virginia and Maryland). That total is 1,545.

APR-heavy chapter delegations such as NCC’s result in an Assembly that is about 70% APR. The Assembly itself is unrepresentative of the membership, which is only 18% APR.

Since the Assembly is top-heavy with APRs, it’s no wonder that it has beaten back attempts to open PRSA office-holding to non-APRs since 1999. Only APRs have been allowed to hold national office or serve on the Ethics Board since the mid-1970s.

The undemocratic nature of the Society’s governance is unethical but the chances of the Ethics Board taking this up are nil since all members are APR.

The latest move towards democratizing the Society was put before the Assembly in 2010 when it was meeting at the Washington Hilton. Leaders of the “Committee for a Democratic PRSA” were Richard Edelman, Dave Rickey and Art Stevens.

The proposal was defeated by a large margin after about 15 minutes of discussion. Chapters, including NCC, had formed a solid wall against the proposal.

The Society remains deeply committed to the concept of APR although consultant Laura Freebairn-Smith, who interviewed 750 members this year in connection with the 50th anniversary of APR next year, advised the Society that APR was not a legitimate credential because it is self-administered. The Universal Accreditation Board, which grants APRs, is controlled by the Society, she noted.

She also found that employers are not using APR “as a hiring guide.”

The only purpose that APR serves is keeping a small clique of members in control of the Society.

Loyal NCC Gets Rewards

NCC, which has a record of showing loyalty to national and the APR program, has now received another award—picked as the site of the national conference although the conference was just in D.C. in 2010. Philadelphia, another “loyal” chapter, was the site of the conference in 2007 and 2013. New York has been virtually eliminated as a national conference site. The next five cities have been picked and New York is excluded.

The conference will be Oct. 11-14 at the Marriott Washington Wardman Park Hotel, 2660 Woodley Rd. N.W., D.C. 20008.

Wardman Park Hotel
Wardman Park Hotel
Registration for members is $1,095 before March 1, 2014 and $1,495 after that, a $100 increase from last year.

NCC is the only chapter that COO Bill Murray has addressed in his seven years as administrative head of the Society.

He drew 60 members and guests to a lunch May 4, 2007. No questions were allowed.

Murray visited the Minneapolis chapter of the Society June 22, 2011, drawing 19 members to a breakfast meeting that started at 7:30 a.m.  He circulated among the attendees who juggled coffees, fruit and pastries while talking to him. We don’t count that as “addressing a chapter.” He should have addressed a lunch and taken questions from the members in open session.

Rebecca Andersen Heads NCC in 2014

Rebecca Andersen
Rebecca B. Andersen, partner in Pacific Bridge Marketing, Washington, D.C., is 2014 chapter president.

She was previously manager of corporate communications at Opnext, Eatontown, N.J., high-speed optical modules and subsystems, which merged last year with Oclaro of San Jose and Fremont, Calif.

Andersen is an adjunct professor at the West Virginia University Integrated Marketing Communications Graduate Program.

Other 2014 officers include president-elect Mitch Marovitz, who retired from the military and who is now an adjunct professor, George Washington University, and VPs Lauren Lawson-Zilai, director of PR, Goodwill Industries Int’l, and Amy Goodwin, director, institutional communications, Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Jay Morris of Jay Morris Communications is treasurer and Robert Udowitz of RFP Assocs. is secretary.

Andersen, Marovitz and Goodwin are APRs as are 25 of the 31 officers, directors, Assembly delegates and committee heads listed on the chapter website. Others elected leaders are below. The only non-APR Assembly delegate is Lawson-Zilai.

2014 NCC Chapter Leaders

Lisa Kiefer, Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

Samantha Villegas, APR, immediate past president, President, SaVi PR, LLC

Two-Year Directors:

Sultana Ali, APR, Senior Public Relations Manager, Liquidity Services, Inc.

Pam Mooring, APR, Communications Manager, DC Water

Myra Oppel, APR, Regional Communications Vice President, Pepco Holdings

Amy Robinson, APR, VP Marketing and Public Relations, Direct Selling Association

Jennifer Schleman, APR, Senior Associate Director of Media Relations, American Hospital Association

Sheri Singer, President, Singer Communications

One-Year Directors:

Marmie Tuerff Edwards, APR, CAE, Communications Consultant

Vicki Robb, APR, President, Vicki Robb Communications

John Trybus, APR, Senior Account Executive, Social Innovation Practice, Waggener Edstrom

2014 National Assembly Delegates:

Jackie Allder, APR, Director, Public Relations and Communications, The Long and Foster Companies

Rebecca Andersen, APR, Partner, Pacific Bridge Marketing

Jennifer Bemisderfer, APR, Principal, jB Communications

Aaron Ellis, APR, Public Affairs Director, American Association of Port Authorities

Rochelle Ford, APR, Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs, School of Communications, Howard University

Suzanne Holroyd, APR+M, Sexual Assault Prevention Outreach, Department of Defense

Tia Mason Howard, APR, Communications Specialist, SAIC

Brigitte Johnson, APR, Communications Manager, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

Sabrina Kidwai, APR, Senior Public Relations Manager, ASAE

Jill Kurtz, APR, Director or Public Relations, American Public University System

Lauren Lawson-Zilai, Director of Public Relations, Goodwill Industries International

Mitchell Marovitz, APR, Adjunct Professor, George Washington University

Michelle Leff Mermelstein, APR, Public Relations Manager – Wireless Devices, Sprint

Pam Mooring, APR, Communications Manager, DC Water

Phil Simon, APR, Managing Director, American Institute of Architects