The following commentary on the 2012 PR Society Assembly was submitted by "veteran" PR Society members:
Many of delegates left after free box lunch -- rest of afternoon was essentially small group brainstorms, and who cared?
Obviously the Society leaders had no business to discuss or transact beyond lots of speeches in the morning and electing officers, multiple reports done by Gary McCormick (seemingly an annoyance to Gerry Corbett, who commented on McCormick's presence each time -- he doesn't like to share the spotlight). They were done with all of that by noon. So they had to fill up the day so it looked substantive -- emphasis on "looked."
So they take small group brainstorming, jazz it up with a new name -- "the Unconference" -- and spent a few hours filling in until end of afternoon. Board member, Diane Gage-Lofgren, who organized this "unconference" wrote to delegates:
"I know what you're probably thinking. This sounds chaotic and kind of scary. I'm used to order and having a solid agenda. We need to know what we are going to talk about! Rest assured that this is a normal reaction to this type of conference, and although it may seem chaotic, there is a method to this madness."
We heard several comments about how condescending that was, to write to senior PR executives, don't be scared because there's no agenda?? Did she think she was doing a session for newly-elected Brownie troop leaders? PRSA has done this "fill in the time" small group stuff for several years; this was just more of the same, with a lot of Lofgren's staff running around "facilitating." It was Buzz Word City.
And of course PRSA never uses any of the "feedback" or ideas from delegates anyway. But to spend all that New Dues money to have a big assembly for only two hours would look foolish, and the current president must have his day in the spotlight . . . . .
There may have been a town hall; by then, many people were off having drinks with friends.
This was the most utterly useless Assembly in history of PRSA, just a reason to get Gerard Corbett's name up on the screen every 5 minutes. They even had teleprompters like the president uses. If the president of PRSA can't give a presentation with some PPT slides without a teleprompter . . . . . .
One note of interest: Corbett didn't even call up the newly-elected officers and board members to the front of the room so they could be seen, either when they were announced as candidates or after they were elected, to be congratulated. Several of the candidates came to SF and the meeting specially to be there for the election, trying to be responsible, and they were totally ignored. T
They might as well have phoned it in. Before the vote was taken, for some reason, they called Joe Cohen, the nominee for chair-elect, to the podium to give a speech. After he was done, Corbett slammed him, saying "I sure hope the election goes the way you want it since you just gave your acceptance speech." All of that money on A-V equipment and they can't even organize the agenda. Corbett didn't even call for a vote, just announced that the chair declared they were elected since there was only one candidate for each position. Some older woman from New York delegation stood up and said there at least ought to be the courtesy of a voice vote, so Corbett then took a vote.
GOOD THING NO MAJOR VOTES WERE NEEDED. They ran out of voting devices (can't staff count how many delegates are registered?). So delegates without devices had to stand to vote -- thus doing away with any secrecy or privacy.
The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight strikes again.