Counselors Academy: a double major in business and PR


This is a slightly revised version of the message I wrote as chair of the 2012 PRSA Counselors Academy conference, which is, as I've said on a number of occasions, my PR highlight of the year. I've learned more about running a business, understanding people and communication industry trends and challenges from Counselors than anywhere else (including Mad Men :)).

If you're a PR agency owner or leader, I'd encourage you to check out this year's schedule and join us in New Orleans. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want more info. 

I've been attending the Counselors Academy Conference since 2005 and it’s the one PR event I wouldn’t miss! 

Because going to Counselors is like getting an advanced degree in both business and agency PR.  From the intricacies of billable hours to the subtleties of motivating teams, to the wild west of social media, I’ve learned many worthwhile lessons that I’ve been able to put into practice. Ones that directly improved my business and… well, me.

Counselors helps me become a savvier leader, communicator and entrepreneur. And the wonderful, open and smart people who make up the organization have become my trusted advisors, mentors and close friends.

This year, we have another outstanding line-up of presenters who will challenge, educate and inspire. Our theme, ‘Jazz Up Your Agency – Stylings from the Best in the Biz’, plays on the culture of New Orleans and the importance of reimagining our firms.

We’re featuring three pitch-perfect keynotes including our own dynamic duo on opening night: Gini Dietrich and Jay Baer. Other keynotes include content marketing guru Marcus Sheridan and artist, designer and urban planner, Candy Chang.

We’re introducing jazz solos featuring one person’s a capella rendition of agency life. These include Elise Mitchell, Counselors' current chair, talking about establishing your agency's vision, Darryl Salerno on how to run your firm like a well-oiled machine and PR Week's Julia Hood on the new role of the CCO as chief convening officer.

And we also have a series of thought-provoking breakout sessions and roundtable discussions on everything from mobile marketing, identifying and measuring influence, hyper-local communications, knowing when to have a tough talk and building an 'army of entrepreneurs'.

Of course, it’s not all work and we encourage you to take part in our social activities including a first-timers’ reception, musically-inspired opening night dinner, dinearounds and after-hours syncopated chats.

But don't just take it from me. Check out what other PR leaders are saying about Counselors on YouTube or blog posts from Lisa Gerber, Steve Cody and Deborah Weinstein.

I want to thank the dedicated committee chairs and volunteers for putting in the time and energy to bring this to life. And offer a very special thank you to my talented co-chair and partner-in-crime, Dana Hughens.

I hope you get everything you want from our conference and take some of it home with you to make your agency sing.  And I look forward to seeing you there.

About Martin Waxman

Martin Waxman is a digital, social media and communications strategist, content marketer, social media trainer and instructor and co-founder of three PR agencies. He blogs at myPALETTE and hosts the Inside PR podcast.



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  2. […] Since 2005, as many of you know, PRSA Counselors Academy has been my annual must-attend PR event. In fact, I get so much out of the conference I volunteered to be its 2012 conference chair. […]