Jim Joseph shares his focuses as new PR Council chair

NEW YORK: New PR Council chair Jim Joseph has two major focuses: Member engagement and attracting talent to PR.

Joseph, global president of BCW and a long time council member, was voted PR Council chair in elections held last December and serves a two-year term that started last month. 

The council’s focus is on PR shops — as opposed to individual practitioners — and Joseph said his overall goal as chair is to increase the engagement of member-agencies in the organization.

“I’ve spoken a lot about this already with the board, some of the member firms and [council president Kim Sample and council VP Andi Hughes],” Joseph said. “I want us to focus more on the value we can bring to member firms. I’m not sure everyone really understands or takes full advantage of the value we can bring with our programs. And I really want to increase engagement and participation, even at the board level.”

More specifically, Joseph said he’ll be working on attracting talent to the PR business, an issue he said the industry has trouble with. 

“That’s a common denominator for all of us,” he said. “We struggle to find talent with new skill sets and we’re always looking for more diversity. It’s a shared challenge no matter the firm’s size.”

The traditional paths into PR aren’t sufficient for a business that has grown in its capabilities and offerings, he explained.

“Years ago, if you went into PR, you already somehow had a connection to it,” Joseph said. “You were a journalist or a writer. So PR became a natural place to look for a career. But if you weren’t involved in one of those things it wouldn’t hit your radar.”

It’s the PR Council’s job, he added, to show people that PR is “so multidimensional in terms of what you can bring and what you can do in the job now.”

Joseph said the council is working to develop a boot-camp style program meant to show university students what a career in PR is like. It will also be a certification program that will also prep students for a PR career and connect them with agencies.

Along with Joseph, the board elected a new treasurer, Mike Santoro, president of Walker Sands, and three new directors: J.J. Carter, global COO and president of FleishmanHillard’s Americas region, Teneshia Jackson Warner, CEO, chief creative officer of Egami, and Michael Kempner, CEO of MWWPR.

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