2023 President’s Message
New Year, New Team, New Vision!
“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life because you become what you believe.” – Oprah Winfrey
I love this quote by Oprah so much. I remember telling myself and putting on my vision board that I wanted to be the president of the PRSA Hoosier Chapter just months after joining the organization. Yes, dreams do come true and I am so excited to be the first Black president of the PRSA Hoosier Chapter in 2023. It is truly my honor to lead an exceptional group of public relations professionals across the Hoosier state.
My journey to getting to this point has not been an easy one. Over 20 years ago, I graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Broadcast Journalism degree and minor in Black Studies. I thought I wanted to work in the television industry. While working in TV, I learned a lot, and held leadership positions in front of and behind the camera. But, I knew deep down inside that I was not completely fulfilled.
I started looking for more opportunities and during my TV days, I was introduced to digital marketing. A fun fact about me, I was a part of the team that started Facebook and Twitter at WISH-TV in Indianapolis. I worked there for three and a half years of my 12 years in the industry. In 2010, I reached a turning point and I knew I needed a change. I choose faith over fear and accepted my first job in the communications field at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. I can tell you that within the first week, I knew I made the right choice and I have never looked back. I share my story for anyone that is contemplating switching careers. My advice to you is that it is never too late.
While working at the Eiteljorg, I learned about the PRSA Hoosier Chapter from Deeksha Kapoor, the former president of the chapter. I am so grateful to her for telling me how amazing the Hoosier Chapter was and how it impacted her career. In 2015, I joined the Hoosier Chapter and I immediately saw the value it offers PR professionals who want to grow in the profession, learn from their peers and give back to the next generation.
Now in my 9th year, I have served the chapter in multiple volunteer roles ranging from committee member, to committee co-chair to board director, and most recently president-elect. I have no doubt that each role has prepared me to be the president today, as well as made me a better PR professional.
This year marks the last year of our 2021-2023 Strategic Plan. I am so proud of what this chapter has accomplished in the last two years. We have weathered the COVID-19 Pandemic and remain one of the largest chapters in the country with nearly 270 members. I attended the PRSA ICON Conference back in November of 2022 and was pleasantly surprised to have my peers in leadership ask me what we were doing to keep our members engaged. It was confirmation to me that we are doing a lot of things right in this chapter. I shared with them that we have a strong board that is passionate about the PR industry and supported by AMAZING PR professionals who work tirelessly to offer programming that is engaging, informative, educational, and inclusive. The strides we have made regarding DEAI are commendable and I am committed to working with our teams to continue to make this a priority. I want to finish our final year of the strategic plan strong, as well as assist with the creation of the new strategic plan spearheaded by our president-elect, Mark Back.
With the New Year well underway, we have 45 volunteers who are excited to serve and busy planning professional development opportunities for all to enjoy. One of my goals is for every member of this chapter to feel included and informed about what is happening in our chapter. That is why I am starting a Hoosier Chapter Podcast with Andres Mun͂iz. We will be talking about all the AWESOME things the chapter is doing. Plus, shining the light on the Pinnacle Awards winners, and so much more.
From my personal experience, I have learned that an informed member is an engaged member. So, I want to encourage you to stay connected with the PRSA Hoosier Chapter. Whether you are taking advantage of our professional development luncheons, reading our bi-weekly e-newsletter, following us on your social media platform of choice, we are active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or attending a Meet the Media event just to name a few, please take full advantage of your membership. If you are new to the Hoosier Chapter or have been a member for a while and you’re interested in volunteering. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at email@example.com.
– Hyacinth Rucker