President's Message: Goodbye 2010 and Hello 2011

The end of the year always seems to bring with it an "out with the old" and "in with the new" mentality. ‘Tis the season where it's not uncommon to see political cartoons where 2010 goes out the exit door as a battered, old gray and balding dude and the new born 2011 comes crawling in with a bit of naiveté, diapers and a 2011 banner. Many of us are glad to see 2010 end and are ready for the optimism a new year brings with it.

The last two years have been challenging. All of us have faced the "Great Recession" either personally or professionally, and it appears like we have somehow made it through the worst of it.

We've also had some challenges this year at PRSA's Miami Chapter as well.

We had three Chapter Treasurers in 2010; one resigned due to a transient neurological malady, the second was injured after she fell off a cliff during a hiking trip and is still going through physical therapy. It was a true challenge, but we somehow got through it, and, thankfully, so did they. In case you're wondering, our present Treasurer is doing well and plans to stay that way.

Our membership numbers dipped a bit due to some members switching careers or moving from the area, as the ripple effects of a bad economy and a high unemployment rate were finally realized. But now at year's end, things are turning around, as we seem to be having less attrition and more growth.

We also saw fewer members and PR professionals attend our "Food for Thought" luncheons. It appears many organizations are doing more with less. This resulted in less free time, for some, to break away and participate in these mini-seminars.

On the good side, we have in place for 2011 a hard working group of new leaders, many of whom are first time officers, board members and committee chairs. Led by Annabel Beyra, our 2011 President, they are poised for growth and ready for any challenge that may come their way.

Annabel is an amazing individual, who I have grown to admire and respect. She was a constant source of support for me this year and has the skills, personality and intelligence to be a great President.

Our incoming President for 2012 is FIU professor Fernando Figuerdo, whose resume includes almost every high profile PR job in South Florida.

As a Chapter, we are very fortunate to have such capable, high-caliber people leading us in the coming years.

I must admit though, the real satisfaction for me this year was the inclusion and development of the young, bright and excited new leadership of this Chapter. With the constant membership turnover due to the economy, these young professionals not only seamlessly transitioned into leadership roles, but did so with a sense of purpose and enthusiasm that made this Chapter better as the year progressed.

As we begin this New Year, this Chapter does so with a new sense of optimism and an enthusiasm which has spread to all of us.

Happy 2011 everyone, may this year bring success to you on every level and the wisdom to appreciate it!


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Florida Memorial Students Set Record by Winning Six Awards at National PRSSA Conference in Washington, D.C.

Florida Memorial University made history by winning six awards at this year's National Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Conference's "Inaugural Ball", which was hosted at the Wardman Park Marriott in Washington, D.C. this past October. More than 1,000 students, advisers, and professionals were in the audience as four students from Florida Memorial University's PRSSA Chapter accepted the awards for their dedication to public relations studies, community initiatives, and career development.

Florida Memorial Students Set RecordThe awards presented to Florida Memorial were as follows:

Teahan Award for Chapter Development

Florida Memorial University's PRSSA Chapter

Teahan Faculty Adviser Award

Dr. Mary-Angie Salvá-Ramírez

Star Chapter Award

Florida Memorial University's PRSSA Chapter

Gold Key Awards

Talithia Carter-Henri and Terrance Davis

National President's Citation

Chantale Stewart

Though Florida Memorial University's PRSSA Chapter works with limited resources, the members have accumulated several awards and recognitions at the National PRSSA Conference throughout the years. However, this year's conference marked the first time that the organization has won six awards in one year. Chantale Stewart, president of Florida Memorial's chapter of PRSSA, received the National President's Citation Award after submitting a one page essay, list of activities, and a letter of recommendation from a faculty or professional advisor. Stewart said, "We can look forward to the FMU Chapter of PRSSA to continuously win big at the PRSSA National Conference. The goals of the chapter for this academic year are to recruit students from other majors in addition to public relations, retain new members, help the community and University through service initiatives, and advance the profession while advancing the future professional." A month before the national conference, Chantale and PRSSA executive board member Nicole Bailey were both awarded $1,500 scholarships at the annual PRSA Miami Chapter's Ev Clay Luncheon for their academic excellence and dedication to public relations.

The University's PRSSA Chapter also took home the Teahan Faculty Adviser Award. Out of all PRSSA advisers across the country, Dr. Mary-Angie Salvá-Ramírez was recognized for serving as the chapter's committed leader. Dr. Salvá-Ramírez is very familiar with PRSSA and the parent organization, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). She was the PRSSA chapter president when she was a graduate student and joined PRSA in 1997. Salvá-Ramírez stated, "I did not think I would be considered for such an award until I was much older. The fact that the kids nominated me every year was sweet and, well, good enough for me. I was shocked and obviously pleasantly surprised."

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