Stephanie Cegielski, who joined PR Society of America as associate director of PR in August 2012, rising to VP-PR after the sudden death of Arthur Yann in 2013, has left the Society, sources say.

Cegielski is a 2006 law grad of the University of Denver.

Emails and phone calls have been sent to CEO Joseph Truncale, chair Kathy Barbour, chair-elect Mark McClennan, and PR manager Rosanne Mottola without result thus far.

Cegielski & Jack O'DwyerPRSA VP-PR Stephanie Cegielski with Jack O'Dwyer at 2013 Society conference in Philadelphia. (photo: Sharlene Spingler)

Society Blocks O’Dwyer Exhibit

The current Society battle with the O’Dwyer Co., which has been conducted by Cegielski since no other Society staffers, officers or board members take part in it, involves blocking an O’Dwyer exhibit at the Society’s annual conference for the fifth year in a row.

Executives of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, scene of the conference Nov. 8-10, said the Society will allow the O’Dwyer Co. to exhibit its six products in a room on the tenth floor if the O’Dwyer Co. accepts status as an “affiliate.” The hotel’s Atrium, Marquis and Imperial ballrooms/exhibit halls are either below lobby level or one floor above it.

The Society, said Marriott, “has graciously approved your affiliation if the Atlanta Marriott Marquis sets up a meeting for the O’Dwyer Co. on the 10th floor in the Skyline meeting space. The hotel will agree to offer this space to the O’Dwyer Co. complimentary.”

Bowing to the Society’s anti-press, anti-information, competition-blocking, and anti-member policies for the fifth straight year, Marriott says the Society “owns” the space it rents and it doesn’t want the O’Dwyer Co. there. We hope Marriott/PRS will reverse this decision. The tenth floor would be “Siberia.”

O’Dwyer Co. Covers as Well as Promotes

The O’Dwyer Co. wants to promote its six products to the 3,000 attendees but we are also covering the conference as press. Our reporters need to talk to the 45 or so exhibitors to gather news and information for our January PR Buyer’s Guide that lists nearly 1,000 products in 55 categories.

Marriott is again going along with abuses that harm the Society as much as the O’Dwyer Co. They also reflect badly on Marriott and its PR head Kathleen Matthews, wife of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.

Ex-news anchor Kathleen, 61, is running for the House of Representatives from Maryland, saying she is “a strong fighter for human dignity, opportunity and equality.” Let us hope so.

PRS Revenues Below 2006 Level

An indication of the malaise of the PR Society is that 2014 revenues of $11,159,091 were below those of $11,426,867 in 2006—eight years ago. The dip is despite a $30 dues hike in 2012 to $255.

Membership of 22,000 is no great growth from 19,600 in 2000. It includes retireds, associates, professors and others who pay a reduced rate. We can’t check out the numbers in such categories because the Society won’t let us join although many reporters and writers are members.

The U.S. Dept. of Labor reported 208,030 “PR specialist” jobs in May 2014. It predicts a 12% growth rate to 2022.

PR firms, as tracked by the O’Dwyer Co., are enjoying year-after-year growth. PR Society of America, continuing its fight against technology, as Westhampton Beach is also doing, again wants to block an O’Dwyer exhibit at its annual conference.