Friday, August 23, 2013

VOLUNTEERISM …A GREAT WAY OF LIVING -with Honorary Member Kathleen Johnson

LIVING -with Honorary Member Kathleen Johnson

As a now retired Public Relations Practitioner I can hardly recall a time when I was not a volunteer.  As a child in high school I showed women of the Jamaica Federation of Women how to do embroidery, how to knit and do crochet. Simultaneously there was this helper of my acquaintance whom I assisted by taking her through the JAMAL reading process. 

I was a Girl Guide, a Cub Scout leader, Founding Secretary, long serving Treasurer (more than 20 years) of the PRSJ; a Founding Member/Life Member of WOMAN INC.; a Founding Board Member of United Way of Jamaica and the Jamaica Foundation for Children.  I also served as Chairman of the Kingston Branch of the YWCA and as President of the St Hugh’s Past Students Association.
I grew up seeing my mother making scarves for the Scouts and Cubs attached to the Lyndhurst Methodist Church and also rising early on a Sunday morning to prepare refreshments for the Officers of the Church who had to stay back after service to take care of various chores.  We were not rich but there was hardly a time when someone else’s children were not in our home while they attended regular school or extra classes in Kingston.

Happily in my experience there have not been many major changes in volunteerism through the years.  People are still willing to “give back” to the community as they have had the opportunity to grow and find success in their own lives.   I think also that mentoring and volunteerism has become more structured.

Volunteerism has played a very important and integral part in my personal career and development.   As Secretary to the Gleaner Editor Theodore Sealy I had the opportunity to learn some journalism as he had me accredited to cover the Jamaican contingent to a Caribbean Boys Scout Jamboree in Trinidad & Tobago.  Shortly after Independence Day, I gave up my vacation leave and got the opportunity to cover a tour of over 200 Jamaican teachers on a visit to the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico.  It was a wonderful and very enlightening experience which led to my recruitment into the Public Relations profession.

I would encourage anyone who has the time and the needed expertise to be a volunteer.  It can be fun, a meaningful activity which keeps you motivated and yet relaxed. I have served on the Board of the Best Care Foundation, which operates the Best Care Home for Mentally & Physically Challenged Children for over 30 years and although I do not have to work physically with the children, it has been a joy to make contacts and to use my professional expertise to help raise the cash to keep the home open and well run.  Its amazing how good it feels when a fund raising effort makes its

National Honour for Founding Member Elaine Commissiong OD

National Honour for Founding Member
Elaine Commissiong OD

The Public Relations Society of Jamaica congratulates founding member and Past President Elaine Commissiong on her induction into the Society of the Order of Distinction (Officer Class), for her distinguished contribution to the field of Public Relations.

Mrs Commissiong is a visiting Fellow at the Mona School of Business and Management. Her most recent service to the PRSJ was the modernizing of the constitution to reflect the impact of the Internet on the field of communication.

Marcus Garvey, the PR Entrepreneur —2013 trends in client billing

Garvey, the PR
Entrepreneur—2013 trends in

Quite provocatively, we are highlighting Marcus Garvey as perhaps one of the most successful public relations practitioners of all time.

Marcus Garvey started out as a disadvantaged immigrant minority to lead a major international movement. From the photos history has left us, we see that Marcus Garvey was not only
fashionably aware, he managed his personal image to best effect and was a powerful publicist and journalist for his organization's goals.

This edition of PR brief recognizes the the 126th anniversary of his birth, on
August 17, and his achievements in the fields of corporate affairs and business communication. Among Garvey’s notable communications achievements was the development of several media platforms: multilingual newspapers, and the staging of popular events.

At age 27, Marcus Garvey was acutely aware that collective entrepreneurship would be the way forward for persons like him—black and under represented in leadership positions and in the ownership of capital. Under his leadership, the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) achieved the incorporation of a shipping company with its own commercial steamship.   

Garvey understood, “ There is no force like success, and that is why the individual makes all effort to surround himself throughout life with the evidence of it”. 

The PR practitioner as entrepreneur has to continually evaluate the price point of his or her services . The PRSJ sought insights into current billing rates and asked experienced practitioners with ten to 30 years experience. We found that they preferred an arrangement where a suite of services are to be delivered for a project over a stated period of time.

This would include creating content for broadcast and digital media, placement of content across media outlets; administration of social marketing; brand marketing activities; event management and also the management of online platforms . Marcus Garvey not only delivered long letters and articles, but he has left us with many pithy quotes which would suggest that he would have been comfortable as a micro blogger.

Experienced practitioners are negotiating upwards of $250,000-$300,000 with large organisations for a 30-day campaign. For shorter projects, the hourly billing starts at $8,000-$10,000 per hour, with a 10% differential for clients who are billed in foreign currencies.

Marcus Garvey’s speeches are still quoted to this day, demonstrating how the power of his writing helped to change conversations on race and power.

Our conversations with five experienced practitioners revealed that fees for experienced writers start at $20,000-$25,000 for a five-minute speech. Speeches that need more research start at $30,00-$45,000. Ministers of government are not allowed to make speeches in Parliament, but can speak from “notes”. Negotiations to prepare these notes for a budget debate in the house start at $50,000.00.

In his pitch perfect words, we can remember Marcus Garvey saying, "I trust that you will so live today as to realize that you are masters of your own destiny, masters of your fate; if there is anything you want in this world, it is for you to strike out with confidence and faith in self and reach for it."

The PR consultant can look to this for inspiration, as these words have at their core the fiery passion of an entrepreneur.