Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Minutes - General Meeting, June 25 2013

General Meeting
Wednesday, June 25, 2013
Valencia D - Spanish Court Hotel

  • Christopher Benjamin, President, consultant
  • Durrant Pate, IOJ
  • Gwyneth Davidson, Cabinet Office
  • Leo McEwan, Ministry of Transport, Works, Housing
  • Maxine Francis, Assistant Gen Sec, King’s House
  • Maxine McDonnough, Touchstone Productions
  • Phillip Hamilton, IUC
  • Rohan Powell, First VP, RJR Group,
  • Karelle McCormack, 4H Clubs
  • Durrant Pate, Institute of Jamaica
  • Gwyneth Davidson, General Secretary, Cabinet Office

Apologies for absence
  • Analisa Downes Allen, SLB
  • Alison Christie Binger, Illuminarte
  • Dayner Azzellino, Trustee, Marc Astuta
  • Janneth Mornan Green, consultant
  • Kathleen Johnson, consultant
  • Meris Haughton, VP Membership
  • Clea Mayne, (UK)
  • Claudette Myers, PIOJ
  • Opal Davis, NSWMA

  • David Brown, Ministry of Transport, Works, Housing
  • Patrice Tomlinson, Citizen’s Security and Justice Programme (CSJP)
  • Leroy Porteus, CSJP
  • Peta Gay Hodges, consultant

Call to order
The meeting was called to order at 6:0PM by President Benjamin.
Prayers were said by Maxine Francis.

President Benjamin welcomed the attendees and received apologies for absence.


UWI Singers Benefit - June 9
Vice President Leo McEwan expressed disappointment on the lack of support from members and appealed for better support in the future. The reconciliation is not yet complete, and all persons with returns are asked to do so. D Pate noted that not enough time was given to sell tickets.

C Benjamin noted that the benefit was arranged so that members could socialise and that the primary goal was not to be a major fundraiser for the society.

2013 PR Conference
C Benjamin gave an update on the plans for the conference. He noted that there were attempts to have a conference over the past four years, and with the guidance of Dr Carroll Edwards of UWI, plans were now well underway.

September 19 - 20, 2013

Proposed Speakers
The overall theme is crisis communication, and local experts in the fields of social media, sports and entertainment will be invited as featured presenters.

The proposed featured speaker is leading USA crisis communicator, Judy Smith. Consultant for the political thriller ABC TV series, Scandal.

Ms Smith’s speaking fee is being negotiated down from US$12,000 to US$10,000 per engagement. The plan is that she would speak twice. The plan is that she would speak at the main conference and also at UWI to PR students invited from CARIMAC, UTech, IUC, ICC, and NCU.

Fundraising and Sponsorship
The proposal is in its final stages of preparation. Advances have already been made to the Minister of Information and national media.

The meeting suggested that the conference also facilitate booths.

The audience expressed a preference to have the conference at on the North Coast.

Registration Fee
The meeting suggested that the cost not exceed the equivalent of US$150, with a consideration for members. It was suggested that a hotel package also be pursued.

What the PRSJ can do for Me - Discussion
The gathering suggested that the PRSJ should facilitate vibrant networking so that members can collaborate profesionally; also that the society should facilitate and promote ongoing professional development. D Beckford noted that practitioners should consider membership as being essential for their career credentials. She noted that practitioners should be motivated to be part of a community and not “out there on their own”.

D Pate said that persons like himself coming in from other professions see the society as a place to grow professionally. The relevance of the newsletter was discussed, and D Beckford noted that it was useful and actually motivated her to attend the meeting.

It was suggested that the meetings could be structured so that it has a learning component so that members have an opportunity to improve skills.  M McDonnough suggested that public speaking could be one such skill, where meetings would allow coaching in this area.

K McCormack suggested that the society undertake a social cause. The gathering was reminded that the society had supported educational causes (MoE pre school book drive, Ostend special school toy drive, and Allman Town Primary labour day project).

M McDonnough noted that the society could donate PR time and expertise to assist a charity organisation that needed PR support.

L McEwan called for the creation of a register of professionals who would be expected to meet standards of skills and conduct.

It was agreed that each general meeting does not need a guest speaker, and that speakers would be reduced to once per quarter.

To improve enjoyment at meetings, the giving of small tokens as prizes for attendance, good conduct and carrying a guest will be done.

Members were reminded:
Twitter: @PRSJm
Facebook: Jamaica PRSJ and also Public Relations Society of Jamaica

Permanent Office
This matter was not advanced at the meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:16PM by C Benjamin on a motion seconded by Leo McEwan.